Friday, December 26, 2014

Cox plays some DE and other minicamp notes

The 2012 Eagles rookie minicamp officially got under way Saturday with the first audible Jim Washburn cuss word. Here's the rundown on some of the highlights and news to come out of the first of today's two practices:

Cox plays some DE and other minicamp notes

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox works against Maurice Fountain during the first day of rookie minicamp. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox works against Maurice Fountain during the first day of rookie minicamp. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The 2012 Eagles rookie minicamp officially got under way Saturday with the first audible Jim Washburn cuss word. Here's the rundown on some of the highlights and news to come out of the first of today's two practices:

-- Top pick Fletcher Cox impressed with this quickness off the snap. The defensive tackle doesn't look like your typical NFL defensive tackle. He's 6-foot-4, 298-pounds of all muscle and could easily be mistaken for a defensive end. He, in fact, played a little end during 11 on 11s when Washburn slid the Mississippi State product outside. Cox played both positions in college.

“I played a lot at D-end," Cox said of his days at Mississippi State. "We had different packages where coach wanted to move me out and keep me in a lot of space and let me run around.”

-- Second round pick Mychal Kendricks got a lot of one-on-one time with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. For a long stretch Castillo, a linebacker in his playing days, worked almost exclusively with Kendricks, who is expected to compete for a starting job on the strong side. Kendricks had one of the day’s big plays, intercepting a deep Nick Foles pass while running 20 to 30 yards downfield with tight end Brett Brackett. He came across as confident, competitive and a little feisty.

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“It was pretty easy,” he said of the interception. “That’s just doing my job. That’s not anything out of the norm for me or anything special, that’s what I’m supposed to and that’s what I’m going to do, that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

Asked about his height (5-11) as he tries to cover bigger tight ends he said simply, “doesn’t matter.” End of quote.

Kendricks further explained himself later on.

“It doesn’t matter because at at the end of the day I'm going to have to go out there and do it, and if I do it I do it, if I don’t then I’ll probably get cut," he said. "Everything’s going to handle itself, that’s why I say it doesn’t matter because I’m going to try my hardest. I’m going to do what I can do and hopefully everything will take care of itself. So I don’t really stress about it and I don’t think you guys should either.”

-- No one got more coaching than Foles, who got a steady stream of lessons from Reid, Marty Mornhinweg and QB coach Doug Pederson. Foles, as you might expect on his first day, had some ups and downs, zipping passes one moment and then throwing wobbly balls the next. For now, he’s just learning on getting the playbook down and mastering the footwork he’ll need while working under center instead of in the shotgun, as he did in college.

“It’s the little details that make the great players different from just the good players, so I’m just trying to get every little detail down, learn from some of the best coaches to ever coach this game,” Foles said.

-- Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd will miss rookie minicamp. Mudd resides in Arizona and coach Andy Reid decided it would be best to give the 70-year-old a few breaks during off-season workouts. Mudd has been in Philadelphia several times during the off-season and will be back for OTAs when the veterans can participate. Eugene Chung, who's official job title is assistant to strength and conditioning coach, will coach the rookie offensive linemen in Mudd's absence.

-- When the Eagles drafted Bryce Brown in the seventh round and signed the undrafted Chris Polk a day later many wondered why the team didn't draft Polk instead of Brown, who wasn't expected to be selected. Polk had a very productive four seasons for Washington whille Brown hardly played in college as he went from Tennessee to Kansas State to M.I.A. There has been only one practice -- without pads -- but a compact, 220-pound Brown looked decidedly quicker than Polk. Just an early observation.

-- Former Eagles center Jamaal Jackson will retire, according to reports out of New York. Jackson was up there trying out for the Giants on Friday, but apparently told the team that he was retiring and that "his heart wasn't in it," according to Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger.

-- With Owen Schmitt gone, Stanley Havili looks to have the fullback job to lose. That is, if the Eagles keep a fullback on the roster. Schmitt saw his snaps decrease in half last season and the trend around the league for years has been a devaluing of the traditional lead blocking fullback. "I feel like there's a spot for a fullback on this team," Havili said. Havili, drafted in the seventh round a year ago, spent all of last season on the practice squad. That made him eligible to participate in rookie camp.

-- The Eagles invited defensive tackle Alex Magee to tryout during minicamp. The 6-foot-3, 298-pound Magee was chosen by the Chiefs in the third round of the 2009 draft. In 27 games over two seasons for Kansas City he recorded two sacks. He was traded to Tampa Bay and notced two sacks in eight games for the Bucs in 2010. Tampa Bay cut him before the 2011 season.

-- Punter Ryan Tydlacka, who might have a shot to compete with Chas Henry, also had a mixed day. One early punt went off the side of his foot and fluttered only 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. But as the special teams session went on he got ahold of a few kicks and blasted them deep.

-- Former Temple cornerback Kee-ayre Griffin intercepted a short Foles pass over the middle.

-- Former Eagles wide receiver Greg Lewis was in camp as a coaching intern.

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

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