- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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I'll be heading back to Philadelphia next week for Eagles minicamp and will have many more observations then. But there was one thing of note that I saw in Tuesday's practice that I didn't mention in Tuesday's roundup. At one point, for the 7-on-7 drills, three staff members walked onto the field with tall black devices strapped to their backs. During the 7-on-7 drills (which are designed to run practice plays without an offensive or defensive line), those three guys would take a few steps toward the quarterback as he went into his drop. Eagles coach Chip Kelly explained that the devices, when strapped to the staff members' backs, stand at the height of "a 6-[foot-]4 defensive lineman with his hands up" and are designed to simulate a pass rush in a drill that normally does not account for one.
"When you're in 7-on-7, you've got to throw through lanes," Kelly explained. "You can't throw over everybody, so you have to throw through lanes, so that's the best way for us to simulate that. I think quarterbacks get very comfortable just dumping the ball. In 7-on-7 you can get into some habits of just dumping the ball off down low and not realizing there's an offensive line and defensive line there. So we came up with that a couple of years ago at Oregon to help our guys understand that there are rush lanes and they've got to throw the ball through the lanes."
Makes sense. As often as Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has been criticized for his inability to throw over the line because of his height, the fact is there's no quarterback tall enough to see or throw over the tallest of linemen when they have their hands up, so everyone has to throw through lanes. Why not practice it whenever possible?
Anyway, just something I thought you'd find interesting. Hope I was right.