Lost amid all the Riley Cooper talk... The Eagles had a practice today! Let's get to the practice notes.
• Jason Peters got hurt today. Mild hamstring injury. He should be fine.
• The Eagles have practiced in pads already, but they did some legitimate hitting for the first time today. Here's some video of that. During those drills, Connor Barwin absolutely destroyed Brent Celek. Bearcat on Bearcat crime. Celek needed help getting up, and was holding his shoulder. He had to leave the field for a bit, but returned to practice. Celek is a tough dude.
• Brandon Boykin had a few more pass breakups today, bringing his total during camp to 173 (estimated). Chip Kelly talked about Boykin having a good camp for the second practice in a row today, although in fairness, he was asked a direct question about him.
• Michael Vick threw an ill-advised, low risk/reward short pass to DeSean Jackson in traffic, that bounced up and should have been picked. However, later on that drive, he hit DeSean Jackson deep for a TD, roasting rookie Jordan Poyer. DeSean Jackson ran a 4.35 40 at the Combine. Poyer ran a 4.54. That's a mismatch.
• On the whole, between Vick and Foles, I thought Vick had the better day. Nick Foles had an ugly INT to Colt Anderson. There weren't any Eagles receivers in the area. Sheil Kapadia of Philly Mag wrote about the Eagles using "option routes" this season. The simplified idea of an option route is that if a defender is playing way off, the receiver has the option to cut off his route instead of going deep, which might have been the original call. Or they can run an in route instead of an out route, etc. It allows the offense to adjust to the defense on the fly, and take advantage of what the defense is giving them.
However, if the QB and WR are not on the same page, a QB may be throwing to a spot where there are no receivers in the area, which can lead to embarrassing looking INTs. You see Eli Manning and Tony Romo throw them all the time, but they're typically miscommuniactions, as opposed to bad throws. I wonder if that's what happened on Foles' ugly pick.
• We've talked a lot about things that Chip Kelly does in practice that Andy Reid didn't do much of when he was coaching the Eagles. One thing Andy did run quite a bit was RB pass protection drills. I can't recall seeing RB pass pro drills until today. It was TEs vs OLBs on one side of the field, RBs vs ILBs on the other. I chose to watch the RBs vs the ILBs, and based solely on what I saw today, I'd rank the RBs in pass pro like this: Chris Polk, Bryce Brown, Felix Jones, LeSean McCoy, Matthew Tucker. That is not the order I would have ever guessed heading into the day. Last year at the Senior Bowl, I specifically pointed out Polk's deficiencies in pass protection:
RB Chris Polk struggled mightily in pass protection. He’s a big, tough kid at 5’10, 224, but looked overmatched.
I really like what I've seen out of Polk so far. It seems like he has been working hard during the offseason to refine his game.
As for the ILBs, I thought Mychal Kendricks and Emmanuel Acho did the best job of rushing the passer.
• The punters were were working on short distance punts today, in which they try to pin the ball inside the 10. Last year, the Eagles were atrocious at punting from close range, which we covered about a week ago.
The Eagles were brutal when they punted near FG range. On their 12 closest punts within FG range, which were all at least at the Eagles' 48 yard line or closer, the opponent's average starting field position was the 17.8 yard line. Four of those punts went for touchbacks, three of them were actually outside the 20, and only one measly punt pinned their opponent inside the 10 (it was at the 9). That's absolutely awful.
Today, both Brad Wing and Donnie Jones did a tremendous job landing punts with good hangtime inside the 10, and often inside the 5, while rarely putting the ball in the endzone. They also both did a good job of putting backspin on the ball so it boundes backward instead of into the end zone.
• Michael Vick was wearing a new shirt for his post-practice presser. He forgot to rip off the XL sticker.