Day 2 of training camp is in the books. Let’s roll the tape:
-- Just as I was remarking to another scribe about how boring the first few days of camp had been, a fight broke out on the first play of 7-on-7 drills. It took a moment to figure out who were the main combatants because there was a pile up, but when the dust settled it was LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole that had to be separated. I didn’t see what initially set off the altercation, but Brandon Graham, who was nearby, said that Cole had given McCoy a “nudge.” McCoy, who had to be restrained by Chip Kelly and others a second time, didn’t seem to think it was a nudge. “I don’t know what’s up with him,” he said to me after practice. Cole wouldn’t say much expect that “We’re competitive. We’re cool.”
Fights are a part of almost every training camp, but the Eagles had just a few minor scuffles in Kelly’s first year. He made it clear last year that he doesn’t endorse fighting amongst teammates. It wastes time and most important, he doesn’t want that kind of friction between players on the same team. “Play with emotion, don’t let emotion play with you,” he once said. Some coaches like for their practices to be chippy, so to speak. McCoy joked to reporters afterward that he has noticed the defensive players recently using too much contact. “I’m trying to let them know, it’s OK if you can’t cover me,” he said.
I must admit, I miss the tackling to the ground and the full pad one-on-ones that were part of almost every Andy Reid practice. The Eagles are expected to wear their full pads for tomorrow’s open practice at the Linc, so we should finally hear the sound of pads popping.
-- Bennie Logan didn’t practice much today. He said he was dealing with a hamstring injury. I would imagine it’s not serious. He was working on a side field with the training staff. Part of his rehab was strapping on boxing gloves and sparing with a trainer who was wearing mitts.
-- All three quarterbacks have looked sharp in the first two practices, but Matt Barkley has made the greatest leap compared to his spring workouts (at least of the workouts the media was permitted to attend). I don’t know what changed between now and then, but the ball has been coming out of his hand with more authority. He had two impressive throws – a 20-yard pass to Damaris Johnson just outside the left numbers that floated over two sets of outstretched hands, lastly those of rookie cornerback Jaylen Watkins; and a 40-yard-plus bomb to undrafted rookie Kadron Boone down the sideline that hit him right in stride. G.J. Kinne continues to take third team reps along with Barkley. I’m all for Kinne’s attempt to make the team, but you got to think the Eagles want to see more of Barkley, their 2013 fourth-round draft pick.
-- I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles starting sneaking Barkley in with the second team as camp progressed. They did toward the end of the spring. Mark Sanchez still has a clear, early hold on the backup spot to Nick Foles, in my estimation, though. Sanchez connected with rookie receiver Jordan Matthews – his OTA bromance partner – for 30 yards down the middle, rolled out to his right – his forte – and hit Will Murphy for a long gainer and threaded a throw to tight end Zach Ertz in a tight window. The ball doesn’t explode out of Sanchez’ hand but he has more than enough arm strength.
-- Speaking of Ertz, I continue to like what I see in terms of his development. While many point to Jeremy Maclin, Darren Sproles or Matthews as the likely beneficiaries of DeSean Jackson’s departure, I keep thinking Ertz could be the X factor. DeMeco Ryans isn’t exactly the cover linebacker you want to be covering an Ertz-like tight end, but he had zero chance keeping up with the second-year player when he ran a zig route up the numbers on one play. Ertz had a number of catches today. He did drop a short pass during individual drills.
-- If any of the quarterbacks had a day less than expected, I’d say it was Foles, who short-armed a number of passes. He was still solid and it would be ridiculous to make much of one practice, but I’m sure he’d say it wasn’t his best day. One of his underthrown passes allowed for Ryans to break up a pass intended for Brad Smith 30 yards downfield. He underthrew Smith again during 7 on 7s and when Roc Carmichael broke the attempt up, the receiver went to ground and camp up limping. Smith returned.
-- Bill Davis mixed up the defensive personnel more than he had in the first practice. The first team secondary ran with the second team defense and vice versa for most of the team drills. The Eagles did this a lot last year. Davis’ explanation: The team wants to see all the players vs. various levels of competition. Makes perfect sense. So rookie outside linebacker Marcus Smith, for instance, ran with the twos today even though he’s essentially been a third teamer since the spring.
-- A few quickies … The Eagles may have more receiver blocking drills than any other team in the NFL. The high number of screens they run demands it, but some national reporters that have come through town over the last two years confirmed that Kelly spends significant practice time on receiver blocking. … Johnson had his second muffed return in as many days. … Quron Pratt had the catch of the day. The undrafted rookie jumped out of his shoes to snare a high Kinne pass. The catch drew “Ahhhs” from the crowd. … Brent Celek was handling long snapper duties during punt drills. He must still be the emergency backup to Jon Dorenbos. … Today was the one-year anniversary of Maclin’s torn ACL injury at camp. … So I’m watching punt drills and one of the ball boys is casually tossing 40-50-yard spirals back to the ball boy manning the punt machine. I mentioned this to a handful of the other reporters and someone suggested it was Kyle Shurmur, son of offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur (Pat confirmed it for me after practice). The younger Shurmur plays locally at LaSalle High and recently committed to Vanderbilt.