NFC East: Cornelius Ingram
Then he blew out his ACL again before the '09 season with the Eagles. I still think it's a long shot that Ingram sees the field this season, but the club is giving him every chance to succeed. I watched him during training camp and it just didn't seem like he had any explosion.
Biggest surprise: At the last minute, the Eagles were able to move Stacy Andrews and his reduced (but still too large) salary to the Seahawks for a seventh-round pick in 2011. Andrews had been a huge disappointment for the Eagles and now they feel fortunate to receive anything in return for him. Of the cuts, safety Quintin Demps was probably the biggest surprise. He ended up in Andy Reid's doghouse last season, but he made strides this offseason in having a better attitude. But with rookie Nate Allen claiming the starting safety spot, Demps apparently became expendable. He was a decent return man, but not good enough to warrant a roster spot. Guard Max Jean-Gilles was released, but he'll be brought back Sunday. The Eagles missed the 6 p.m. ET trade deadline on Andrews, so that's why that happened with Jean-Gilles.
No-brainers: I lot of folks were pulling for Chad Hall as a return man, but he simply didn't have enough success in the preseason. Wide receiver Jordan Norwood catches everything, so he'll be a good practice squad candidate. Tight end Cornelius Ingram will probably make it through to the practice squad as well. You knew it was a bad sign for Macho Harris recently when he was bouncing between positions. Looked like a player at this time last year but he never took the next step.
What's next: General manager Howie Roseman will be on the hunt for safeties and cornerbacks. I like the trade for defensive end Antwan Barnes from the Ravens. He was an excellent fourth-round pick for the Ravens in '07 and he has a lot of explosion coming off the edge. He'll be a good fit in the Eagles' up-the-field pass-rush, according to some AFC scouts I spoke to Saturday. Unlike the Cowboys, I think the Eagles will continue to churn the bottom of this roster. We'll keep you posted throughout the rest of the holiday weekend. It's interesting that the Eagles kept six cornerbacks and the Cowboys three. The Eagles only kept two tight ends, so they'll be looking around for help at that position.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com has his 53-man roster projection. And a veteran kicker is the 53rd man on the list.
- Calvin Watkins from ESPNDallas.com has five "random thoughts" heading into training camp.
- Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says safety Alan Ball is no shrinking violet.
- Kicker David Buehler told 103.3 ESPN's "Galloway and Company" that he could beat Patrick Crayton in a foot race.
- The Cowboys caught a break with Johnny Jolly's one-year suspension, according to DallasNews.com blogger Gerry Fraley.
- Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram is worried about the Cowboys' preseason travel itinerary.
- Mike Jensen of the Inquirer has an interesting story on Howie Roseman's tireless pursuit of a career in the NFL.
- Reuben Frank writes that tight end Cornelius Ingram is taking a very optimistic approach to his comeback from a knee injury.
- So when are the Eagles going to sign their top two draft picks?
- Paul Schwartz of the Post had an interesting discussion with Michael Strahan about leadership. In some ways, Strahan sort of called out his pal Justin Tuck.
- In case you missed it, the Giants signed Adam Jennings to possibly replace Domenik Hixon as a special teams ace.
- Ohm Youngmisuk from ESPNNewYork.com has more on the Jennings signing.
- Donovan McNabb is hosting some of his new teammates for "Hell Week," according to Rick Maese.
- Wow, Jason Reid of the Post is touting Clinton Portis for comeback player of the year -- in July.
- Rick Maese of the Post says that Colt Brennan will also attend "Hell Week." Very smart move for the fringe quarterback to attach himself to Donovan McNabb this offseason.
Stephen McGee hopes to build on a 2009 season that was spent learning about life in the NFL.
No matter where he lines up, Miles Austin has high expectations for himself in 2010.
New York Giants
ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk identifies five things to look for in the team's mandatory minicamp.
Running back Gartrell Johnson talks about his comfort level heading into his second season with the Giants.
Andy Reid will be a part of a group of coaches who will visit troops in the Persian Gulf this summer.
Cornelius Ingram is eager to get back on the field to show what he can do.
Coming off a fractured fibula, Chad Rinehart is seeing time at right guard in coach Mike Shanahan's offense.
After expressing frustration with his contract situation, linebacker Rocky McIntosh signed his tender offer.
- It doesn't take long to realize which team the Eagles are gunning for in the NFC East. On one wall in his new office, Roseman has the Dallas Cowboys' depth chart posted. (Looks like Doug Free and Alex Barron are co-starters). Roseman says the Eagles aren't obsessing with the Cowboys, but those last two losses aren't far from his mind. For the record, he has the Saints' and Colts' depth charts posted next to the Cowboys'. "That's who we have to go through based on last season," said Roseman.
- Rookie safety Nate Allen looks a lot bigger than what I imagined. He's listed at 6-1, 210 pounds. And I'm told that he's beefing up as we speak. Roseman and coach Andy Reid love the fact that Allen played quarterback in high school and they believe he has the aptitude to make an immediate impact. Roseman expressed disappointment over Marlin Jackson's season-ending injury, but he added, "We didn't take a guy at No. 37 to be on the sideline. We drafted him there so that he could play immediately." Still, Roseman was watching film of a veteran safety who's currently on the street when I entered his office. The Eagles aren't planning to sign anyone immediately, but they'll be ready if someone else is injured.
- Former Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram, who is returning from an ACL tear, is an impressive looking player. He's been a little shaky with his hands, but he could be an enormous target for Kevin Kolb. When he opened up on one play down the seam, he appeared to have pretty good speed. I think having a second tight end to go along with the talented Celek would help the Eagles. Right now, the Redskins appear to have the best tandem in the division with Chris Cooley and Fred Davis.
- Former Florida standout Riley Cooper doesn't look like a fifth-round pick. He was plucking throws from Kolb no matter where he put them, and he and Hank Baskett had excellent days. I'm told, though, that Jeremy Maclin put on a show Monday. He's added some muscle to his lanky frame and people within the organization believe he's about to make a similar leap to what DeSean Jackson did in his second season.
- Roseman headed me off at the pass before I could ask about Jackson's absence. He would only say that Jackson's had an excellent offseason and that this week's workouts were "voluntary." Kevin Kolb was very complimentary of Jackson, but he did note that his absence allowed a couple other receivers to flash this week. I asked Kolb if he knew Jackson was planning to skip this week. He paused and said, "I had an inclination." He added that he was sure Jackson had "a good explanation." ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Jackson's absence wasn't related to concerns about his contract. But we haven't been given any other explanation.
- I had no clue it was this gorgeous in Philly in early June. If Reid could've guranteed Jackson this 78-degree weather, perhaps he wouldn't have retreated to Southern California, where's he reportedly spending the week.
- Baskett was the MVP of today's session. He made several tough catches in traffic, including an acrobatic play along the sideline with three defensive backs in the area. Kolb simply threw it up high and Baskett made a play.
- Speaking of Kolb, he's been remarkably sharp this week. He and Celek are close friends, and they've brought that chemistry to the field. He fired a pass down the middle of the field that Celek collected without ever having to break stride. There are going to be throws that Kolb doesn't make as well as Donovan McNabb, but he's showing excellent touch on passes in the middle of the field. And the fact that he's hitting his targets in stride will give them an opportunity to make plays. Kolb said he's never been a position before in which he had this many reliable targets. By the way, Jason Avant might be one of the most underrated players in the game. He catches everything, and he's capable of making the spectacular play as well.
- Former LSU running back Charles Scott has good quickness, but he'll have to work on his concentration. On a screen pass, he was looking upfield and dropped the ball.
- I still have my doubts about Moise Fokou as a starter at linebacker, but he was excellent in coverage Tuesday. He raced down the center of the field and broke up a pass to Celek 25 yards from the line of scrimmage. It was a big-time play and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was the first to rush over and congratulate him. Keep your eye on seventh-round pick Jamar Chaney out of Mississippi State. That's the one guy Roseman kept bringing up. The Eagles couldn't believe they were able to get him at that point in the draft. And so far, he looks like he belongs.
- The Eagles have made first-round pick Brandon Graham a highlight tape of some of the top defensive ends in the league who share his relatively small frame. He's become a big fan of Denver's Elvis Dumervil and he's trying to take some of his moves to the practice field. Graham already knows how to get leverage, but he's used to offensive tackles taking angles against him. He said it's been adjustment to face tackles who are dropping straight back. It's made it more difficult to turn the corner, so he's trying to refine his inside moves. Graham's calling his new move the "chop, dip and rip."
- With Asante Samuel absent this week and Ellis Hobbs sitting out team drills because of a neck injury, Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson were the starting cornerbacks. Macho Harris also received plenty of reps at cornerback. And if you're looking for a darkhorse in training camp, check out the redemption of safety Quintin Demps. He was in the dog house with Reid last season, in part, because of his mouth. Now, he's taking a much more mature approach and I think he could earn some playing time. Former secondary coach Brian Stewart told me last season that Demps had immense potential, but he didn't take advantage of his opportunities. At this point, he's saying all the right things. And Roseman and Reid have both taken notice.
- This is my first time to attend an Eagles practice when Donovan McNabb wasn't present. Very strange to look out there and see Kolb running the show with the first team. But he doesn't seem fazed by all the hoopla surrounding the trade. You can sense how much respect he has from his teammates as he walks around the facility. Some of the rookies actually seem a little nervous around him, which is a bit odd given his lack of experience. But he sort of has a swagger to him that suggests he's ready for this challenge. I'll have a lot more on Kolb in Thursday's column. His college coach, Art Briles, dropped by to see him last week and gave him a few pointers on throwing to his right. Much, much more to come.
» Draft class lists: Dallas | N.Y. Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
Examining the draft classes of each division team:
Jury is still out: This can be said about pretty much the entire class. It looks like outside linebacker Victor Butler has made the most immediate impact, but he certainly didn't hold up well against the Saints. I think everyone's anxious to see how Michael Hamlin progresses at safety. He definitely has some skill, but no one's been able to see it in a game. When he's healthy next season, I think former Texas Tech star Brandon Williams could be an effective pass-rushing specialist.
Bust alert: We haven't seen enough of him to call him a bust, but there are certainly questions about third-round LB Jason Williams. We're told he's coming along in practice but he's a guy who should've broken through as a special-teams player by now. An injury held him up.
Jury is still out: We expected WR Jeremy Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy to make immediate impacts and they have not disappointed. Macho Harris cracked the starting lineup early in the season and he recorded 10 tackles against the Raiders. He's also helped out in the return game. I think the Eagles are still trying to determine whether he helps them more as a safety or as a cornerback.
Bust alert: I hate to call him a bust, but let's watch tight end Cornelius Ingram's knee injury. He's a very talented player out of Florida, but folks are worried that the injuries could always follow him around. But the Eagles knew what the risks were when they took Ingram.
Jury is still out: I think we're still learning about Clint Sintim. He has long arms and he's shown flashes of being a pretty good pass-rusher. But he has to be more consistent on the field.
Bust alert: I would by no means call Ramses Barden a bust at this point, but it's a concern that he can't play well enough on special teams to grab a weekly roster spot. I think Barden could help the Giants as a red zone receiver, but apparently he's not trustworthy on special teams.
Jury is still out: I like cornerback Kevin Barnes' range and size, but we haven't seen enough to know if he'll be a longtime starter in this league. He needs to keep improving in terms of awareness.
Bust alert: After his infamous Twitter debut, linebacker Robert Henson hasn't been heard from much. I thought he was an excellent player at TCU, but he hasn't brought a lot to the table in Washington.
Under the current collective bargaining agreement, teams aren't allowed to re-work a player's contract until his third season. But Eagles second-year wide receiver DeSean Jackson decided to get a head start by dumping agent Adam Heller of DeBartolo Sports and joining the Drew Rosenhaus family. This story was first reported by Brian Seltzer of 950 ESPN in Philadelphia. Seltzer, the voice of Penn athletics, caught up with Jackson today before practice today.
"My previous agents, if they're not doing anything they need to do, everybody wants to think of it in a negative way, 'I want to get paid.' All that. That's all good, but at the end of the day if I'm not being treated the way I needed to be from my other agents, then there's no point in me still being there," Jackson told Seltzer. "No matter if it was before the season or after the season or the middle of the season."Well, OK then. It's neat to see that Rosenhaus is there to help these young men navigate such murky waters. The Eagles, of course, dealt with Rosenhaus during the whole Terrell Owens fiasco, but they've moved on since then. Rosenhaus has rookie running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Cornelius Ingram on his roster as well as a couple of other Eagles. The one thing I'll say for Rosenhaus is that he does a nice job of keeping all his negotiations separate. For instance, if he was struggling to get a new deal done for Jackson, he would never let that affect how he's negotiating McCoy's deal.
Score another win for Rosenhaus. Jackson could be asking for a new deal as soon as next season.
During my two days in Albany, N.Y., last week, I really enjoyed watching rookie running back Andre Brown in practice. I don't think he was on his way to overtaking Ahmad Bradshaw for the backup spot or anything, but he did remind me (and Jerry Reese) a lot of former Giants running back Derrick Ward.
He just seemed to have a good feel for setting up his blocks and it was obvious he was going to help the team in '09. Now he faces a long road back after rupturing his Achilles' tendon during Friday evening's practice. Coach Tom Coughlin talked about his sadness in losing such a promising young player during his news conference Saturday afternoon.
"He was playing well," Coughlin said of Brown. "He really was. You could see the talent. He had that really good size and the quickness. He reminded me of some backs we've had around here who dropped their shoulder and moved the pile a little bit. He scored on the goal line. You saw him the other day. It's just a sad, sad thing when you lose a player in a practice. The sad thing is that he was just running a route and all of the sudden he starts flopping. I felt really bad for Andre because emotionally... he knows he's done well and he would've been a lot of things; special teams, he would've helped on, and all kinds of things. It was so early in training camp, too, without even having a game. I feel bad for the kid."
Coughlin doesn't normally spend much time dwelling on injuries, but you can tell this one really bothered him. After talking to Reese on Wednesday, I knew the Giants were thrilled to have Brown. Reese felt like the Giants stole the former North Carolina State player in the fourth round. And the injury didn't even occur during a contact drill. Brown was just out running a route and he heard something pop. I know that every team in the league has an injury or two during camp, but it seems like the NFC East is being hit particularly hard.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Quite an eventful day here in Lehigh Valley, where even on a Monday morning, thousands of Eagles fans poured into training camp. It has to be one of the most serene places in the league, what with the lush, green meadows and trees dotting the mountainside. Almost made myself cry during that last sentence.
Why don't we get away from my postcard from Bethlehem and actually talk some football. The morning session was dominated by the defense, and there's a rookie linebacker named Moise Fokou who Eagles fans are going to be rooting for. The seventh-round pick out of Maryland is always flying around the ball and he'll be tough to keep off the final roster. For more on Fokou and other players you'll actually recognize, continue reading:
- When I brought up the fact that rookie Jeremy Maclin had muffed one punt and mishandled another at the end of the morning session, he glared at me before saying, "It won't be an issue." In my book, a first-round rookie putting the ball on the ground is a worthy topic -- but that's just me. In my five-minute visit with Maclin, it's obvious that he has a ton of confidence. When I asked him if he'd be OK with the coaches not starting him at first, he quickly replied, "I didn't come here to sit on the bench." I didn't really see Maclin do a lot in the morning session, but a sixth-round pick named Brandon Gibson out of Washington State kept making play after play.
- Rookie free-agent tight end Eugene Bright is sort of an interesting story. He was a defensive end at Purdue, but the Eagles signed him in April to play tight end. He said he played two games at tight end in high school in Pennsylvania, but never thought he'd end up there in the pros. But with the season-ending injury to Cornelius Ingram and Matt Schobel missing time with an injury, Bright is getting a long look. He dropped a couple passes early in camp, so he started carrying a football with him at all times. He says he catches an extra 200 passes a day that way, and that the quarterbacks constantly want to throw to him away from the practice fields. Bright got the idea from one of America's true film classics, "The Program," in which the immortal Omar Epps fumbled so much that coaches made him carry a ball around campus. Playing the role of Darnell Jefferson, Epps held onto the ball in games and eventually attracted the attention of Halle Berry. "I rented the movie when I was at Purdue, and it's obviously stuck with me," Bright said.
- To be fair, I saw Quintin Demps muff a punt, too. But on defense, Demps looked really comfortable opposite Quintin Mikell and made a nice interception on an ill-advised throw from Donovan McNabb. I think Demps will win the starting job, but the Eagles were wise to sign a quality backup like Sean Jones from the Browns.
- Second-year linebacker Joe Mays appears to be making the most of his opportunity now that middle linebacker Stewart Bradley's out for the season. Mays was very active in blitz packages and he showed some really good range in dropping back into coverage. Also the type of kid who's really easy to root for. Not very tall at 5-11, but he's stacked. Sort of built like Skins linebacker London Fletcher.
- I think Brent Celek will be the latest entry in what has to be the best tight end division in football. Martellus Bennett is playing to rave reviews in San Antonio and Jason Witten's the best tight end in football right now. The Redskins' Chris Cooley and the Giants' Kevin Boss are both very productive, although Cooley's obviously the bigger weapon. Celek's a very unassuming guy, but you can tell he's highly intelligent. He's been studying tape of Witten and Cooley to see what makes them so successful. He said the way Witten "sets people up at the top of his routes" is what sets him apart.
- It didn't take long to identify the best player in this camp right now. His name is DeSean Jackson and no one can defend him at this point. He's making All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel look silly in practice -- on a routine basis. Jackson looks bigger than last season, and I don't think he's lost any speed. Seriously. No one in camp can cover him.
- Former Cowboys practice squad wide receiver Danny Amendola had an excellent morning practice. He runs smooth routes and he made a couple tough catches on low throws.
- Donovan McNabb is still having fun after all these years. On one play, he took off running down the sideline. But just as a defender assumed he would step out of bounds, McNabb tip-toed down the sideline. The fans went nuts, and McNabb had a good laugh as he jogged back to the huddle.
- Defensive end Chris Clemons, the former Raider, broke through for at least one sack in the practice and his quickness in drills was pretty impressive. Still looks too skinny to me, but he had a good practice.
- Former Charges linebacker Matt Wilhelm stuffed the run a couple times and he looks like he could definitely contribute. At the rate they're going, the Eagles are going to need a lot of depth at linebacker. And based on Monday's practice, they might be in better shape than a lot of people think.
- Asante Samuel rarely speaks to the media, but he's the most vocal defender on the field. When cornerback Sheldon Brown made a really nice play on the ball, Samuel came racing in from the sideline shouting at the top of his lungs.
- There's been a Winston Justice sighting early in camp. I think most fans and reporters just assu
med he'd never be heard from again after his nightmare experience against the Giants a couple years ago, but he's shown up with a different mindset in this camp. I don't want to go too far, but it's safe to say that Winston Justice is actually displaying some confidence in this camp. If Shawn Andrews can't go, the Eagles may need Justice.
- When Maclin sort of threw Sheldon Brown to the ground after a pass breakup, someone from the stands shouted, "Maclin, that's our Pro Bowler! Take it easy!"
- Kevin Kolb was throwing the ball pretty well this morning before he sprained his MCL. He'll miss Thursday's preseason game, but the Eagles are saying he'll be day to day after that.
- Rookie cornerback Macho Harris out of Virginia Tech made some nice plays on the ball in one-on-one drills with the receivers. All in all, the defense really dominated the offense. McNabb admitted as much and vowed to change that in the near future. Speaking of McNabb, it's ridiculous how many weapons he has at receiver right now. Watching Jackson, Maclin, Avant and Kevin Curtis go about their business convinces me that this is the best receiving corps in the NFC East.
- I like Eldra Buckley at running back. I don't know if he has a chance to make the team, but he's willing to dole out some punishment when he sticks his nose in the hole. He spent last season on the Chargers' practice squad. Another good underdog story.
- Jason Peters looked fine to me during team drills. Very athletic and he can engulf a defensive end. Watched him do it twice Monday morning. And Stacy Andrews may be the tallest right guard I've seen. At 6-7, he cast a pretty long shadow. And on the left side, reserve offensive tackle King Dunlap is the same way. He's one of those guys who could be pretty effective if the light ever comes on. If memory serves correct, he just didn't want to work that hard at Auburn. I'll ask around and see if he's changed that at all. Pretty impressive looking guy. The Eagles have six offensive linemen on the roster 6-5 or taller.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Ask and ye shall receive an NFC East mailbag. This one's been a long time coming and I appreciate your patience -- as always. I've made my annual pilgrimage to this delightful community (Bethlehem, Pa.) about an hour or so north of Philly and I'm prepared to talk all things Eagles for two consecutive days. But in the interest of a wider audience, I'm fielding mailbag questions on all four teams this morning. OK, let's start emptying the bag:
Bernard F. from Grand Prairie is concerned about the Eagles' depth at TE: Hey Matt, I am a huge Eagles fan living in Dallas. I think the Eagles may need to sign a tight end who will be released when the teams begin to cut players. Maybe a veteran tight end who can run down the seam.
Mosley: Bernard, the Eagles acted quickly in signing a free-agent rookie named Rob Myers, but you can bet that they will be watching the waiver wire pretty closely as we go along. No word on whether Jeff Thomason would leave his construction job again to help out the Eagles. But before you get too worked about Cornelius Ingram's season-ending knee injury, I don't believe the Eagles expected him to be a major contributor during his rookie season. For now, Myers is simply a training camp body who can eat up some reps. If the right player becomes available, Andy Reid will make a move. There's a former University of Houston player in Cowboys camp named Rodney Hannah who's probably not going to make the team. The Eagles know about him and they're impressed with his athleticism and 6-6 frame. That's just a thought.
Bill Moseley from Dallas is concerned about a certain former Cowboys receiver being mentioned too much: Matt, why does the media keep making T.O. the story when he's not. Stephen A. did it in 2004 when my Eagles made the Super Bowl while T.O. was hurt and you're doing it now. There are far more compelling stories to write than "Phillips takes jab at Owens."
Mosley: It's tough when your own family members start turning on you! Bill, I believe the Cowboys' release of T.O. was one of the biggest stories of the offseason and now it's interesting to see how the Cowboys compensate for his monster numbers. I don't think we've spent a ton of time on T.O. this offseason -- as evidenced by us pretty much ignoring his television projects. But when the mild-mannered Wade Phillips takes a little jab at T.O., I certainly think it's worth a blog entry. And judging by the response on the Beast, many of the readers agreed with me. But I understand your point. We'll try not to overdo with T.O. But if he says something about the Cowboys -- and you know he'll continue to do that -- we probably need to account for it. Thanks! Tell the other cousins I said hey.
Russ K. from Boston thinks the Beast has been a little Cowboys heavy recently -- and he's not alone: First of all, can you lay off the Cowboys a bit? It seems like every other link and article is about the Cowboys. Is it because the Cowboys get that much more media coverage? I find that hard to believe. Second, as a Giants fan I feel bittersweet about the Eli signing. I'm glad they signed him but I don't see how he got top quarterback money. He's barely a top five quarterback in my opinion. Did the Giants overpaying Eli ruin their chances to re-sign other players like Justin Tuck?
Mosley: I hear you loud and clear, Russ. When I'm in Cowboys camp, you're going to read a ton about the Cowboys. Beginning on Monday, you'll ready two solid days of Eagles coverage followed by my visits to the Giants' and Redskins' camps. We'll try to balance things out a little more for you guys, and I appreciate all the feedback -- even if it's negative. Regarding Manning's contract, I think that's the going rate for a top five or six quarterback in the league -- especially one who owns a Super Bowl ring. Nothing about those numbers surprised me that much. In fact, I thought the guaranteed portion might come in a little higher. Manning basically earned this money during a four-game stretch at the end of the '07 season. And he didn't do anything last year -- at least in my mind -- to lower his value.
Jason from Bryn Mawr, Pa., exceeded our word limit (150), but we'll give him some latitude since he made some interesting points: Matt, while the following statements may be true: "the Cowboys may have one of the most overrated offensive lines in the league", "the scary part is the Cowboys' lack of depth along the line", and "they've done a poor job drafting and developing offensive linemen over the years", the exact same quotes can be used in your pending camp review of the Philadelphia Eagles, yet I believe you ranked the Eagles as the best O-line in the Beast. It's unfathomable that many seem to be ready to return the Andrews Brothers to elite status when both missed all of last season. One (Stacy) was never elite to begin with and the other (Shawn) either has zero desire to play or has a back that won't allow him to play any longer. I am willing to grant Peters some benefit of the doubt, but am I willing to put all faith in a guy that openly admitted to less effort because he was upset at his contract status?! The Eagles' O-line also lacks the tremendous leadership and continuity provided by Runyan and Thomas. If the criteria works for one team, it should consistently apply to all.
Mosley: I admit the Eagles are having some issues on the offensive line right now, and that could certainly knock them down to the second or third best line in the division. But Stacy Andrews didn't miss all of last season. He started 15 games for the Bengals. Shawn Andrews missed most of the season, and you're correct to be very worried about his status. But the Eagles have done a better job of drafting and developing young linemen than the Cowboys. It's not even close. They took Shawn Andrews in the first round in '04 and he's been a three-time Pro Bowler. The Eagles signed Jamaal Jackson to a free-agent rookie contract in '03 and he's been the starter since '06. And starting guard Todd Herremans was a pretty good find in the fourth round of the '05 draft. Winston Justice was obviously a complete bust, but the Cowboys certainly have the lead in that category. They drafted Andre Gurode in '02 -- and that's pretty much it. Peters and Andrews are younger and much more athletic than Thomas and Runyan. But yes, the lack of cont
inuity is a fair point.
Chris from Clinton, Utah, has an Eagles question: Mr. Mosley, seeing that Stewart Bradley is now injured, do you think that the Eagles will pick up Derrick Brooks to play the right outside backer position and move Omar Gaither to the middle linebacker position like he was two years ago?
Mosley: Chris, Jim Johnson and the Eagles always favored younger, faster linebackers. That's why veterans such as Jeremiah Trotter were sent packing despite their leadership qualities. Brooks is an outstanding guy in the locker room, but the Eagles are more concerned about what guys can do on the field. The word on Brooks is that he's lost a step. That's not a good fit for Sean McDermott's defense. I'd be surprised to see a veteran like Brooks show up on the scene.
Nick from Sandy Hook, Conn., wants to talk about the Eagles' secondary: Hey Matt, before starting I'd like to note that Elizabeth Merrill's Jim Johnson piece was great and helped flesh out a man who'd spent most of his life avoiding fame and being known by his work. I'm wondering about that loss and the other tribulations (so many to choose from) and what you think they could do to the Eagles. The loss of Dawkins just excised the defense's emotional center. The loss of Stew Bradley sidelines one of the rising stars, the Maclin holdout makes him even less likely to contribute this year, and all that on top of Johnson. Do you think they're still a Super Bowl team, and does Reid have the leadership to turn those setbacks into determination?
Mosley: Nick, Elizabeth's an outstanding writer and I'm glad you mentioned the Johnson story. He obviously had a tremendous impact on the league. It's hard to project what sort of impact the loss of Johnson will have on the team, but I think he did such a great job teaching his young players that they'll be able to rally behind his replacement, Sean McDermott. I'm not going to overreact to Maclin missing a little more than a week of practices. I think he'll be up to speed by the end of the preseason. He's a highly intelligent guy, and he's a huge talent. And Reid pulled the right strings late in the '08 season, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt. I think the fact that Omar Gaither has been a starter for the Eagles really helps the situation. I'd be more worried if they were forced to lean completely on an inexperienced guy like Joe Mays.
Nirav from a county I didn't recognize wants to talk Redskins: I am a big fan of the Beast and read your blog daily. Thanks for the great work. My question is when the G-men won the Super Bowl two years ago, their defense seemed to get turnovers and create a short field for Eli and Co. With the additions of Haynesworth and Orakpo (who is looking great in camp by the way) and re-signing Hall, plus Landry and Horton at the safties and old reliable London, do you think the Skins have a chance to have a defense that can create turnovers, and thus, a short field for Jason Campbell and the Skins' offense?
Mosley: Well, that's why Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo are in Washington. And yes, I think the Redskins can go from a solid defense to a dangerous defense. Everyone at Redskins Park will tell me this week about last season's top-five overall ranking on defense. But that's an empty ranking. Quarterbacks didn't fear the Skins because they didn't have any true threats coming off the edge. And the lack of pressure made it tough on the secondary. With Orakpo and Haynesworth collapsing the pocket, Hall, Horton, Landry and Rogers can take more chances. So yes, I think an improved defense could help make this a -- wait for it -- Campbell-friendly offense.
Josh M. from Eldorado, Texas, wonders why Miles Austin appears to be ahead of Sam Hurd at Cowboys camp: Why is Miles Austin ahead of Sam Hurd. The only thing I could think of is his speed. I was at training camp this past weekend and Hurd has some of the best hands on the team. I would rather have a guy in the game that could catch everything instead of out run everbody.
Mosley: Both of those guys have had excellent camps, Josh. And you're right about Austin's speed. He's really the only deep threat the Cowboys have, and he's also become a much better route runner. One more thing: Tony Romo absolutely loves him. I agree that Hurd has taken his game to the next level, but I think Austin's still ahead of him because of his big-strike ability. The Cowboys need a wide receiver on the field that teams fear -- or at least respect. The threat of Austin's speed can open things up in the running game.
Rob from Lake Worth, Fla., says I was right about something. Sir, step right up: Hey Matt, I was really hoping you would be wrong about Mike Williams. But Jason Reid is reporting that he is getting beat in drills by almost every defensive lineman he goes up against. Add to that his groin injury and things don't look too promising. Oh well. Keep up the good work.
Mosley: I think Williams' return is a cool story, but he's been out of the league way too long to be sharp at this point. And he carried around 450 pounds or so while he was out of the game. Even after shedding all the weight, your body's still going to suffer the effects of having been that large. Williams has shown a lot of determination, but anyone who thought he could challenge for significant playing time was being rather naive. I still think the Skins' offensive line is a huge concern.
Russell from Fort Worth wants to know about Jimmy Johnson's credentials for the Ring of Honor: How do you feel about Jimmy Johnson not being in the Cowboys' Ring of Honor? I mean...he is responsible for half of the Cowboys' Super Bowl titles. Some might say he is responsible for two or three of them. I say 2.5. Hasn't he earned the right to be enshrined among the greatest Cowboys? Also, why do you think Jerry Jones has decided not to induct anyone new this year? Wouldn't it be a great way to open the new stadium?
Mosley: One of the things that most of the Ring of Honor members have in common is longevity. Jimmy Johnson had an amazing run, but Jones' ego eventually got in the way. Johnson is the second greatest coach in Cowboys history behind Tom Landry, but there are others I'd like to see go in before him. And I agree with you that Jones should've put someone in this season. Before Jones puts Darren Woodson or Larry Allen in, I really wish he'd go back and take care of Drew Pearson. It's something the late Tex Schramm should've done a long time ago. And now Jones needs to right the wrong. Unfortunately, Pearson's penchant for being critical (honest) about the Cowboys hasn't helped. But again, he should go in before any of the younger guys.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The nightmare that is the Eagles' '09 training camp continued Saturday with the news that rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram out of Florida tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will likely miss the entire season. Ingram, a fifth-round pick, suffered the same injury before Florida's '08 season and he has to be wondering if he has a future in the NFL.
"It was in a goal-line drill," coach Andy Reid said. "He just hyperextended it and it popped on him. Obviously it's a shame for the kid. He's a great kid and he's worked hard. He was doing some good things."
The Eagles were hoping Ingram's athleticism would be the perfect complement to the sure-handed Brent Celek. Now the tight end situation looks pretty dicey. The Eagles immediately signed a rookie free agent named Rob Myers, but he couldn't even make it to camp with the New York Jets.
For the Eagles, it's the second season-ending ACL injury in the past week. Starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley will miss the season with a torn ACL in his right knee. Bradley will likely be able to return next season, but with Ingram, you have to wonder if he'll overcome this latest setback. He's a player who relies on his speed and leaping ability. I think he would've been a second-round pick or better if he'd played his final season at Florida. But the injury drove down his stock. And now we won't see him until the 2010 season at the earliest.
I'm sure Andy Reid and the rest of the Eagles must be thinking "what's next?"
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- With Terrell Owens no longer in Dallas, the spotlight is on Tony Romo: "Contrary to some, I think he's a natural leader," Jerry Jones said. "I think his leadership role will naturally foment; his position and his talent at that position, and him exerting leadership is a big ingredient to us winning. ... His awareness of his leadership responsibility is encouraging."
- Romo has plans in October to attend Eastern Illinois' Homecoming with Hall of Fame inductions.
- The Cowboys are hoping for some fan support in San Antonio: "We are definitely excited going back to San Antonio, being around all the fans," linebacker Bradie James said. "There will be a lot of people there, so we will practice well. That helps us out when you get in the dog days of camp, and you see all those fans out there."
- Left tackle Jon Runyan is still a free agent.
- Tight end Cornelius Ingram claims his knee is fine. "I've been catching on really good with the offense," Ingram said. "I've had the opportunity to be in there and get a lot of reps. My knee has been healthy the entire time. I've been getting better every day. I can see that I'm making strides and I feel real good about where I'm at right now."
- Michael Boley won't be in the season opener.
- More on this story from Ralph Vacchiano.
- Hank Gola also had the story for the Daily New.
- And Tom Rock of Newsday says the Giants knew Boley would face this situation when they signed him in May. "I wonder if knowing that a suspension was coming had any influence on the decision to surgically repair the torn labrum in Boley's hip last week, a procedure that carries an 8-10 week recovery period and could have cost Boley a chance to play in the opener anyway," writes Rock.
- Wide receiver Trent Shelton is big on Twitter. He has a bunch of followers, and, even though he grew up in Fort Worth, he doesn't like "America's Team." "I hated the Cowboys, actually," he said.
Posted by ESPN.com staff
- Head coach Wade Phillips is looking forward to spending more time teaching this season in his added role as defensive coordinator.
- In an interview with the Tulsa World, Barry Switzer talks about the whirlwind that was his stint as the Cowboys' head coach.
- Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys' personnel director during the Tom Landry Era, has unveiled his all-'60s Cowboys team.
New York Giants
- With off-the-field distractions at a minimum, the Giants can focus on getting work done on the field when they kick off a three-day minicamp Tuesday.
- Giants or Jets: Which team has the better offensive line? The New York Times' Fifth Down blog breaks it all down.
- Eagles cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu is looking forward to putting his legal troubles and injury history behind him as he prepares for training camp next month.
- Did Donovan McNabb earn the pay increase he recently received? Bob Ford shares his thoughts.
- Even though the Eagles picked up a tight end in the draft, Brent Celek remains confident he can help the Eagles win.
- Paul Tenorio of The Washington Post revisits the team's decision to cut James Thrash.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Philadelphia Daily News beat writer Les Bowen bumped into agent Drew Rosenhaus in the parking lot at the NovaCare complex Wednesday afternoon. Rosenhaus confirmed that the Eagles had reached a contract agreement with his client, rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram.
And it's always fun to see Drew Rosenhaus photographed with the Burger King mascot, who is now based in L.A. I'm not allowed to reveal his identity, but I went to school with the Burger King at Baylor. Seriously. He played wide receiver on a couple of those great Chuck Reedy teams.
Oh wait. Chuck Reedy didn't have any great teams?
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
|Hunter Martin/Getty Images|
|Cornelius Ingram projects to be a dangerous receiving threat.|
I thought the Eagles did a smart thing in waiting to take former Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram in the fifth round. Too many teams get caught up in drafting for need and end up selecting a player they're not that excited about.
Ingram's ACL injury ruined his senior year, but he has immense potential as a pass-catching tight end. He'll never be great at blocking, but he has the type of frame that will allow him to do an adequate job. The folks at Bleacher Report took a closer look at Ingram on Monday and did some comparisons with tight ends who were taken ahead of him. Leo Pizzini writes:
In 2009, Ingram has developed into a 245 pound monster standing at 6'4". Ingram was aware that NFL teams would be looking for tight ends that can block and make plays. He invested a great deal of time in improving his blocking skills as he finished rehabilitating his repaired knee.
Ingram is a quick and elusive pass catching tight end. His long arms and developing frame are imposing to any defender. A few months of work with offensive line wizards Andy Reid and Juan Castillo, and Cornelius Ingram will understand how to leverage his strength and athleticism in blocking situations.
In the OTAs, Ingram has been extremely impressive. His pass catching, route running and minimum contact blocking is heralded among the coaches. The truth to this story can only be known after they suit up in full gear and open up contact. Ingram had a slight set back in the second OTA with a contusion to his repaired knee. I expect this injury is unrelated to his 2008 season ender, but consider that there may be more small setbacks as he shakes off the rust and puts his body to the test this preseason.
In my opinion, Ingram will succeed at tight end because he is an athlete. The tight end position requires one of the most dynamic skill sets on the field. Big, strong, fast and well rounded athletes make the best tight ends.
I might add Ingram to our offseason phone interview list if anyone's interested.