Here's Part II as I drain my notebook before training camp:
1. According to a couple coaches I’ve spoken to, Mike Kafka has increased his velocity only marginally. They think it’s enough for the third-year quarterback to make all the necessary throws, though, should he have to step in for Michael Vick. How did Kafka do it? Andy Reid offered a theory: “He’s kind of tailored the ball down just a little bit – it’s just a matter of inches. He used to carry it real high.” Many college quarterbacks are taught to hold the ball higher than most pro quarterbacks, probably to help avoid unnecessary fumbles, but it lessens their velocity ever so slightly. Since almost every quarterback takes the football down to his love handle before he cocks and throws, the extra time to get there takes just a little off the throw. Kafka is never going to have a cannon for an arm, but with some tinkering his arm strength could suffice.
2. The Eagles haven’t had to tinker with how Nick Foles’ holds the football during his drop and reads. The Eagles’ third-round draft pick still has much to digest – like working on the drop – but he’s essentially OK in the mechanics-of-throwing department. Foles is likely slotted into the third quarterback spot on the depth chart, but I think he can push Kafka. (Trent Edwards remains a long shot to make the team). I asked Reid if Foles had a shot. “Absolutely,” he said. “They’re all in it.” Reid typically won’t rule out any player in a position battle, but my hunch says there’s some truth in Foles’ chances to unseat Kafka.
3. I’ve been asked the following many times this offseason: “Is DeSean Jackson poised for a career year now that he has his long-term deal?” The thinking behind the question, I’m sure, is that Jackson will perform at a high level now that the distraction of not having a new contract is behind him. But what if the opposite happens? What if Jackson loses some of his motivation now that he has been compensated? I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think Jackson has pride, has Jeremy Maclin to push him, and will at least top last season’s pedestrian (for him) season. But shouldn’t he have been extra motivated last season? That was at the crux of the whether-to-extend-Jackson-in-the-last-year-of-his-contract issue. Joe Banner believed that if Jackson could not perform with so much on the line in 2011 then what incentive would he have to lay it all out on the line after he got paid? That being said, I still believe Banner would have made the same deal with Jackson had he been negotiating with Drew Rosenhaus this offseason as opposed to Howie Roseman. It was almost a no-brainer with Jackson’s $15 million guarantee over the next two seasons only $4 million more than he would have made this season under the franchise tag. But I’m not of the school of thought that Jackson will produce a career year now that his pockets are lined. His 2009 season will be hard to top, too.