Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Eagles Camp Report, Day 4
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
The interception drought finally ended early in the fourth training camp practice. Safety Malcolm Jenkins jumped a route and picked off a Mark Sanchez pass. A few plays later, cornerback Cary Williams soared through the air and intercepted Matt Barkley. Over the first three days, four Eagles quarterbacks did not throw a single interception. "I know y'all were talking about it, 'three days without interceptions,'" Williams said. "We relayed the message, and we got to it today. When the ball's in the air, I've got to go out there and compete for the ball."
Another point of emphasis seemed to be back-shoulder throws. The Eagles quarterbacks tried to throw the ball behind receivers, giving them a chance to break back and beat the defender to the ball. There was mixed success. "There is timing, there is an area you want it on the field," quarterback Nick Foles said. "But there's also a feel with the receiver." When done well, those passes are difficult for defenders to get to. "It's tough," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "It's the opposite of what you're taught. Normally, if you're in position as a DB, the back shoulder is open."
Right tackle Lane Johnson is working with the second team because of the suspension that will sideline him for the first four games of the season. Coach Chip Kelly found a silver lining in that cloud. "One of the by-products is that he's not with [right guard] Todd [Herremans] all the time," Kelly said. "Todd, being the older guy, a lot of time makes all the calls on the right side. Lane is forced to be a little bit more vocal. He's working extremely hard."
The Eagles have sustained only relatively minor injuries through four days of training camp practices. Wide receiver Riley Cooper has a foot injury. He could be back on the field Thursday or Friday. Running Chris Polk (hamstring) should also be back in action "shortly," Kelly said. Backup center Julian Vandervelde has a back injury that is not related to the one that troubled Vandervelde last season, Kelly said. Rookie wide receiver Josh Huff left Wednesday's practice with an unannounced injury.
There's no doubt which wide receiver has caught Mark Sanchez's eye. Sanchez seems to throw almost every pass to rookie Jordan Matthews. It doesn't hurt that Matthews catches everything Sanchez throws his way. Near the end of Wednesday's session, during a red zone drill, the 6-foot-3 receiver caught a perfectly thrown fade pass for a touchdown. On the next play, Sanchez came back to Matthews over the middle for another score.