Last week it was the offensive assistant coaches, this week the Eagles organized a 30-minute session for reporters to talk with assistants on the defensive side of the ball. We'll have full stories later on philly.com and tomorrow in The Inquirer, but here are some tidbits from the interviews:
-- Many thought the Eagles would add another safety this offseason. So did safeties coach Mike Zordich: "I thought that was going to happen, too," Zordich said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. "I did. But, I think, when you reflect back and look at the whole year and the growth that happened with these guys (Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett, etc.), I know I'm very comfortable with them, and obviously coach [Andy] Reid and Howie [Roseman] feel the same thing."
-- Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn poo-pooed the notion that his line will show more looks with defensive ends rushing from a stand-up position in the middle like they did late last season against the Dolphins and Jets: “I know everybody gets off on that, but it was fun, it’s something you do," Washburn said. "Sometimes the tackles are going to stand up, the ends are going to stand up, but that’s such a very little part of what we do.”
The Eagles' line did work on that kind of rush during the first week of OTAs, though. "It's doing something different -- make [other teams] work on it. If you stand up everybody one play a game then they'll spend an inordinate amount of time trying to game plan for it. That's good."
-- Washburn had high praise for rookies Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry: “They’re quick and sudden, which is besides want-to, the No. 1 thing," Washburn said. "Explosive – they are that. That’s a good thing. They’ve done well. The thing is they picked it up so well. We spent 45 minutes this morning just with those two, plus a guy named [DT] Cedric Thornton, walking through the defensive side. I don’t think I’ve ever had rookies pick it up any faster than they’ve picked it up.”
-- Zordich made it rather clear that it's the Allen and Coleman show at starting safety. Tom Nelson, Colt Anderson(when he returns from a torn ACL) and Jarrett will mostly be competing for time on special teams.: "With Tommy, Colt and J.J., the competition is going to be very good," Zordich said. "It's obvious the two front-runners right now are Kurt and Nate. But I think there's a lot mix there for some good competition."
-- Linebacker coach Mike Caldwell likes what he has seen physically from DeMeco Ryans. “So far, everything we’ve done, there haven’t been any limitations. He’s moving around just like I watched him a few years ago,” he said. But pressed if Ryans is back to his Pro Bowl athleticism, before his 2010 Achilles injury, Caldwell said, “That’s yet to be seen, but from everything I see out there on the field he’s moving great. There’s not a position he’s been in that he isn’t able to make that burst or make that play.”
-- Zordich said what many believe: that Allen was unsure of himself as he returned from a torn patellar tendon last season and that as he grew more comfortable, his play improved. But at one point he gave a surprisingly modest assessment of a player the Eagles took early in the second round in 2010: “I see him as a very solid safety in this league, possibly even better than that. He just has all the tools, he’s a great person who works extremely hard on the field, in the weight room, in the classroom,” Zordich said. Later, though, he said Allen has the most physical tools of the Eagles safeties and offered a more optimistic evaluation. “He is a gifted athlete, he can run, he can cover, he can tackle, and once he gets comfortable with this injury from last year, which I think we’re over the hump on that, Nate’s going to be special.”
-- Zordich said Coleman doesn’t have the physical ability of an elite safety, but talked up his intangibles. “The great thing about Kurt is he’s got a little swagger to him. He’s got that attitude, he’s got that swagger, he takes control of the secondary, he takes control of all the calls, so in that respect I think he’s doing a great job.” As for Jarrett, “I think J.J. is going to be fine. He works extremely hard, and he’s just got to get a little more comfortable in the system and once that happens J.J.’s going to be pushing those other guys.”