Monday, February 8, 2016

Bye-bye, Lehigh; Dunking Vick

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- "Bye-bye, Lehigh."

Bye-bye, Lehigh; Dunking Vick

Kevin Kolb and the Eagles endured one of Andy Reid´s longest camps but deemed it a success. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)
Kevin Kolb and the Eagles endured one of Andy Reid's longest camps but deemed it a success. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- "Bye-bye, Lehigh."

Those were the parting words from Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson as he and several other teammates darted off the field following the final training camp practice at Lehigh.

After a long camp -- one of the longest of coach Andy Reid's tenure -- many of the players raced into the locker room, showered and sped back to Philadelphia. The team reconvenes Thursday for a walk-through and then travels to Cincinnati for its second preseason game. But when the Eagles return, practices will be held at the friendly confines of the NovaCare Complex.

Camp was a success in many regards, according to Reid and the players, but the most important result may be the lack of major injuries. Last year, linebacker Stewart Bradley, tight end Cornelius Ingram and tackle Shawn Andrews suffered injuries that ended their seasons. This year, the Eagles had an assortment of injuries -- some to significant players -- but nothing that at this point would cut into the regular season.

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"It's always good when guys are healthy coming out of camp," said Bradley, who is returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Reid said that there were an extra 200 plays this camp as a result of the extra week of practices. With 13 drafted rookies, more than a dozen undrafted rookies and plenty of other new faces, the extra time allowed all the newbies to get acquainted with the Eagles' ways. And that meant enduring Reid's brutal two-a-days.

“I think that built a foundation," Reid said. "In particular, a young group, and I think they need to be introduced to what the National Football League is all about. It’s faster, there’s more pressure put on you mentally and physically than what you had at the college level, and there’s no better place to figure all that out than right here."

According to Reid, camp also showed that quarterback Kevin Kolb could handle all the responsibilities that come with the job and examplified further that the Eagles weren't misguided when they traded away Donovan McNabb.

"I think he showed that he’s very capable of doing this thing," Reid said. "It’s way more stress than he’s ever had on his arm or asked to do from a throwing standpoint. I thought he did a very good job with that. His command and the intangible part of it he maintained what we thought he would do and what he did last year."

-- While many of the players jetted out of Lehigh, a few lingered in the parking lot and played some basketball. In maybe the worst wager ever made, running back LeSean McCoy bet quarterback Michael Vick that he could not dunk. The 6-foot-1 Vick then stood under the hoop, elevated several feet and threw the ball through the hoop with two hands.

"I'm a schooled veteran," Vick said.

Wide receivers Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Norwood and Kelley Washington watched with amusement.

"Hey, I got nothing to do with money," Avant said. There didn't appear to be any exchange between Vick and McCoy.

The four receivers played a game of H-O-R-S-E that Avant won.

-- In a note unrelated to football, and for those that would gain considerable enjoyment in seeing me suffer in any way, I was pulled over by a Lehigh University cop Wednesday night. The young policeman said that I had rolled through two stop signs without coming to a complete stop.

As I was apologizing, he noticed my credentials in the passenger seat and asked if I was here with the Eagles for training camp. I said I was not and that I was a sportswriter. He then left for an extended period of time.

When he came back, he said, "I put up with a lot from the Eagles players," and handed me a $109 ticket.

Bye-bye, Lehigh.


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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Staff Writer
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