Tuesday, March 31, 2015

McCoy practicing; Davis talks defense, growing pains

LeSean McCoy returned to Eagles practice Monday after taking Sunday off for an unspecified reason. Both coordinators spoke to reporters, with Bill Davis explaining that some of his defense's struggles come from leaving in young players he needs to evaluate.

McCoy practicing; Davis talks defense, growing pains

Eagles linebackers DeMeco Ryans (left) and Mychal Kendricks (right). (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles linebackers DeMeco Ryans (left) and Mychal Kendricks (right). (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

LeSean McCoy, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin all practiced together for the first time Monday, at least for the early part of the workout, the part reporters are allowed to observe. This is the first time the Eagles' presumed opening-day offense has been on the field intact since the first few days of training camp.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator Bill Davis spoke with reporters. Davis said he obviously isn't happy with what his defense has done in the first two preseason games, but Davis also said: "The only time you can grow a young guy is in the preseason ... This is the evaluation phase. Sometimes that looks painful. Sometimes it looks promising."

"We had a couple (of breakdowns) in the second half (of Friday's loss to the Patriots) that were just misalignments. We were structurally unsound; we had guys lining up on the wrong side ... It was very disappointing in that second half, particularly the third quarter, we had some misalignments, and you saw guys walking into the end zone because of our mistakes ... that is one of the issues we've got to get fixed," Davis said. "There's no excuse for it."

Davis said his starters will play together more this Thursday against the Steelers, in the third preseason game.

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Davis echoed Chip Kelly, who said after the game that Eagles defenders are going to have to adjust to the tighter rules regardling illegal contact, they can't expect the league to change its posture on the issue.

Davis praised the play of Travis Long, a practice squad linebacker last year who is having a good camp.

Davis said first-round rookie linebacker Marcus Smith "had his share of mistakes" against the Pats and "struggled a little bit."

"The game is moving too fast in his brain right now, in my opinion," Davis said. "As soon as it slows down for him, and he can settle down and play with a little more confidence, I think he'll continue to grow. He's got the skill set. That's part of the growing pains that you have with young guys ... He's going to be fine. He's got to relax, settle down and just trust his technique, and those plays -- instead of going and trying to make plays ... He needs to just do his job and let the plays come to him."


Hamstring victims Chris Polk, Jaylen Watkins and Jake Knott were not practicing Monday.

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