Today was the second day of training camp practice in pads here at the NovaCare Complex, although the team has not yet begun tackling. Let's get right to the notes.
• Yesterday at the Linc, Brandon Boykin went up to make a play on a ball in the air with one hand, and almost came down with a magnificent circus catch, but couldn't haul it in. 50 push-ups. Today, he stayed in DeSean Jackson's hip pocket for a good 5+ seconds before almost making a diving INT. "I had a diving (play), trying to intercept (a pass) today against D Jack," said Boykin. "My helmet came down, and I missed it, and I gotta do 50 push-ups because I got my hands on the ball. That's something we do as defensive backs. Coach (Todd) Lyght and coach (John) Lovett always preach if you can get your hands on it, they expect you to intercept it."
Brandon Boykin has done a boatload of push-ups so far through the first 4 days of full-team practices, and that should be read in the most complimentary way possible. Boykin is having an absolutely tremendous camp so far. He has covered the full gamut of receivers, from speed demons like DeSean Jackson (in addition to the aforementioned near diving pick, he also defensed a deep ball to Jackson today perfectly), to bigger guys like Ifeanyi Momah. Boykin has stood out to me more than any one player on the entire team, and there is no reason, in my opinion, that he should be relegated solely to slot corner duty. He is earning the right to stay on the field in any and all defensive packages.
Boykin has gotten work both on the inside in the slot, and on the outside. He has looked great at both spots. He estimated that his reps have been split at roughly 50-50, inside vs outside, and talked about the difference between Year 1 and Year 2. "Just from a standpoint of me being comfortable on the field," Boykin said, "Me being comfortable with the speed, me being comfortable outside and inside, I feel like I can play both at a high level."
• Michael Vick threw a horrible TD pass today. Wait, what? Yes, a horrible TD pass. While on the run to his left, from the left hash, Vick threw way across his body back to the right, where the pass was caught by Riley Cooper for a TD, with other players lingering in the area. This is an example of a play where you don't get hung up on the result. It was the kind of pass that you teach Pop Warner kids not to make, the kind that is picked off more than it is completed, and will look bad on film when the coaching staff evaluates the QBs. Here's roughly what the coaching staff will see on film, especially if they're using high definition camera equipment:
• I specifically watched Kenny Philllips today. The Eagles have said that he is 100%. Disagree.
• Linebacker/special teams guy Jason Phillips was hurt today. It appeared to be his right leg. He left on the cart.
• Brent Celek had another bad play today. He was going across the middle, and sort of alligator-armed a ball in traffic. That's somewhat forgivable in camp, but he would have heard boos in a game setting.
• Mychal Kendricks is having a solid camp so far. He looked good in coverage against Brent Celek today, and is getting opportunities to blitz the QB. In his junior season at Cal, he had 8.5 sacks. He has the ability to get to the QB, and should get more chances to blitz in the Eagles' 3-4 (or whatever they run) this year.
• Alex Henery kicked off from the 30 twice today. They went to the 7 and the 3.
• Damaris Johnson and Russell Shepard got reps as kick returners today.
• Arrelious Benn, B.J. Cunningham, Antonio Dixon, Tod Herremans, and Cary Williams did not practice.
• Jason Avant had the play of the day. He was sandwiched in between Colt Anderson and Patrick Chung on a deep ball down the middle. With the ball in the air, a couple reporters around me said, "No way," because of how closely Avant was blanketed by two defenders. Sure enough, Avant went up and made a great catch.