Yesterday, the Inquirer's Jeff McLane noted that the Eagles have a running back who can play a little bit:
If someone were to ask which three players have looked the best at camp I would probably say, “LeSean McCoy, LeSean McCoy, LeSean McCoy.” Last year, it was DeSean Jackson that sizzled. McCoy looks like he may be in the best shape of his career. One of the things I miss most about Lehigh was how close the reporters were permitted to get to the action. I love to hear the chatter. Reporters could get fairly close at the Linc and during one McCoy run you could hear him saying to defenders as he went past them, “Bye, so long, woooooooo …”
Jeff is dead on. Jordan Matthews has been very impressive, which is exciting because he's new to the team. But LeSean McCoy is pretty clearly the best player on the field. As writers, we don't often note in training camp that LeSean McCoy is really, really good, because it would about as revealing as reporting that water is wet.
A number of receivers -- Riley Cooper, Jeff Maehl, and Jeremy Maclin -- have suffered minor injuries and have missed practice time. As a result, there are receivers like Ifeanyi Momah, BJ Cunningham, and Will Murphy running with the first team offense. No worries. With those guys being smothered by the first team defense, Nick Foles does the obvious thing. He just dumps it down to Shady and Darren Sproles.
Anyway, this is just a reminder that LeSean McCoy finds holes in the run game every day like he always has, and is catching a boatload of passes.
• Brandon Boykin and Jeremy Maclin both got dinged up in practice today. Boykin rolled his ankle, limped off the field, and returned later to fly around and make plays, including an impressive diving pass breakup. Maclin limped off, and watched the rest of practice from the sidelines. Maclin said he'd be back out there tomorrow.
• Sheil Kapadia of Birds 24/7 fame and I both agreed today that Josh Huff has had countless occasions in which he has had a chance to make a spectacular grab, but just fell short. The Eagles did run a screen play to Huff today, which a role that suits him well. Huff has not made anywhere near the number of plays in training camp as Jordan Matthews, however, practices without tackling don't showcase what Huff does well. At Oregon, Huff was more of a physical runner once he got the ball in his hands. A quick sampling of his tackle-breaking ability from college:
Huff has not made big plays in camp so far. Hopefully that will change in the preseason games.
• Zach Ertz had a great one-handed catch today. Unfortunately, he was a few yards out of bounds, but we'll give him some style points for the effort. It looked a lot like his TD catch against the Vikings last year.
• Rookie fifth round pick Taylor Hart is beginning to generate a lot of buzz. On the occasions I've watched him, I can see why. At a minimum, he holds his ground in the run game. I'd be shocked if Hart doesn't see legitimate action as early as Week 1.
• Travis Long is another defender who is playing well. According to some of the other media guys near me, Long bull rushed OT Kevin Graf during team drills, knocking him on his back. I only caught the tail end of that play, but was locked in from there. On the next play, Long got around Graf again for a pressure on the QB. From there on out, Long was doubled by Graf and Michael Bamiro. Great series for Long.
• Backup OT Andrew Gardner stoned Brandon Graham and Damion Square on consecutive reps in 1-on-1's, however, it appeared that Trent Cole got the best of him later on. Gardner has been getting second team reps at LT, and appears to be pushing hard for a roster spot.
• Les Bowen of the Daily News had a good piece on Beau Allen and Jason Kelce that was published before today's practice. Here's what Kelce had to say about Allen:
"Beau's an intriguing guy," Kelce said. "For how big he is, he has very, very good feet. He's quick, he's very strong. He has a lot of raw ability that you like to see in a nose tackle. Right now he's just working on his technique. Getting to know the plays, getting to know our offense. Some of the other 'noses' are ahead of him in terms of the knowledge, but you see a lot of the things you want to see in terms of the skill level in him . . . The nose guards that I see that are the most consistent . . . are big guys that have really quick feet, or really long arms."
In 1-on-1's today, there was one occasion when Allen put Kelce on roller skates, driving him well into the backfield. In the limited occasions I've gotten a good look at Allen, he has shown excellent raw strength.
• Murderleg took some kickoff reps today (as in... as the kick returner), just as a body for the coverage units to attack. As noted here repeatedly, Alex Henery is going to win the kicker camp battle, but I'll say this for Murderleg -- He has some impressive athletic ability.
Who won the day?
July 26: Mark Sanchez
July 27: Eagles running backs
July 28: Jordan Matthews
July 30: Malcolm Jenkins
July 31: Cary Williams
August 1: Nolan Carroll
August 3: Jordan Matthews
August 4: LeSean McCoy
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