Philadelphia Eagles: 2014 NFL Training Camp Report

Eagles Camp Report: Day 15

August, 14, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:

The Eagles certainly got the full-range of weather from their three-day visit with the New England Patriots. The teams conducted a full practice Tuesday afternoon in typical August heat. Wednesday’s practice was moved to the morning but was conducted in a steady rain. The teams move Thursday’s lighter workout to 9 a.m. and were rewarded with bright sun and a cool breeze. The forecast is for similar weather for Friday night’s game.

• Center Jason Kelce said the combined workouts helped the Eagles build a sense of team. “It’s very beneficial for both squads,” Kelce said. “Any time you can get multiple reps against something that is unfamiliar and different in approach, it helps you make your overall game better. It’s almost like an extra preseason game. That’s what camp has a tendency to do. A lot of times you’re going against the same guy, you’re competing, you’re trying to get a job. Teams, which are close-knit in-season, during camp can get a little hostile, because guys are trying to get spots locked in. To come here as a team playing against a different team, it’s no longer offense versus defense, no longer me versus [nose tackles] Bennie Logan and Beau Allen. You get down to a collective `we’ instead of an `I.’"

• It was interesting, too, to watch the players interact with each other after practicing on the same fields for two hours. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was chatting with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after Wednesday’s session: “Just wishing each other luck,” McCoy said. Nick Foles walked back to the locker room talking with one of the Patriots’ wide receivers Thursday. And as Eagles Kelce talked to a couple of reporters, Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork shouted “rock star” at him. The two spent the previous three days locked in the trenches, but Wilfork made Kelce laughed out loud at that one.

• Although it was more of a game-preparation session, Thursday’s practice had a few highlights. There was a lot of red zone work, with Foles and Brady working to find receivers against defenders with superior numbers. Foles connected with Brad Smith for a couple of scores. Later, Mark Sanchez seemed to have developed a bond with tight end Zach Ertz. Wide receiver Riley Cooper didn’t take part in those drills but caught passes in the back corners of the end zone, first left, then right, from all four Eagles quarterbacks.

• The Eagles will return to Philadelphia after the game at Gillette Stadium. They will be off on Saturday. On Sunday, the Eagles will return to practicing at the NovaCare Complex in preparation for their first preseason home game Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Starters typically play more in the third preseason game than in the other three.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 14

August, 13, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • A steady rain, complete with flash-flood warnings, didn’t stop the Eagles and New England Patriots from practicing together. “Put some galoshes on and go play,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. Instead, the practice was moved from 2 p.m. to 9 a.m. The teams did basically the same schedule as they had the day before. “That was an old-school practice today,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “Just went out there, had to weather the elements. It was a little slick, but we did all right.”
  • Nick Foles found wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a 50-yard touchdown midway through the practice. Maclin cursed as he started back toward the sideline. He left the practice because of discomfort in his left hamstring, but Maclin said he didn’t think the injury had anything to do with the falling rain or wet grass. “It wasn’t when I was cutting, so, no, probably not,” Maclin said. Arrelious Benn, who like Maclin tore his ACL during camp last summer, assumed Maclin’s spot with the first team.
  • Cornerback Roc Carmichael had a tough day. He seemed to catch Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's eye, and Brady kept throwing his way. Carmichael was playing some slot corner as well. During a punt drill, Carmichael got into a post-play scuffle with New England cornerback Brandon Browner. The two corners were separated before the coaches had to punish them, as they did last year when Cary Williams and Patriots receiver Aaron Dobson got into a fight. Williams and Dobson were tossed out of the rest of that day’s practice.
  • It was a rough day for Carey Spear, the rookie kicker from Vanderbilt. Using a gadget that holds the ball upright, Spear missed a bunch of kicks at a narrower-than-official set of goalposts at one end of the field. He missed five of six attempts at that end. With a snapper and holder, Spear made a series of tries on the normal goalposts at the other end. At the end of a full-squad drill, Spear missed a 50-yard (or so) attempt wide left. Spear has a strong leg, but many kickers develop consistent accuracy over time.
  • The Eagles and Patriots have one more practice session together Thursday. This one will be shorter and less involved, more of a walk-through. It is closed to the public. It will be the last chance for several injured Eagles to get any practice time in before Friday’s game. Cornerback Nolan Carroll II, running backs Chris Polk, David Fluellen and Matthew Tucker, cornerback Jaylen Watkins and linebacker Jake Knott were all sidelined Wednesday.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 13

August, 12, 2014
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:

  • No news was good news for Eagles cornerback Cary Williams. He got through the first practice against the New England Patriots without incident. No brawls, no flagrant trash talking. Williams even had some nice things to say about the Patriots, whom he referred to as “cheaters” last week. “Tom Brady is a wonderful quarterback,” Williams said. “He’s a guy that is definitely a true Hall of Famer. He’s a great leader. Those guys are class acts. I’ve got a lot of respect for this organization, especially the players who play within it. I’ve always had respect for the guys. I just made a statement and that was that.”
  • Williams did give some insight into what ticked him off so much during last year’s sessions with the Patriots. “We were a little bit more prepared this time,” Williams said. “They are professionals, and you’ve got to handle yourself as a professional and practice hard on every play. They gave us a welcome-to-the-NFL type situation when they came down to us. This time, we wanted to return the favor.” Brady looked like Brady, but he didn’t have it as easy as he did last summer, when he seemed to complete every pass against the Eagles defense.
  • The practice session was attended by more than 25,000, according to the Patriots. The stands along one of the two fields were packed, and so were the areas behind the end zones. Fans lined the ramps and railings of Gilette Stadium to watch the practices down below. The Patriots said it was the biggest training camp crowd ever here. There were a few Eagles fans in attendance, but it looked like most of the fans were New England partisans. The crowd was a reminder of what the Eagles gave up when they moved training camp to the NovaCare Complex last year.
  • Nick Foles had a good day. He was on time with his throws. He made a nice throw to LeSean McCoy on a wheel route to the left side. McCoy was in traffic, but Foles threaded the ball into the running back’s hands for a 25-yard pickup. Foles is looking to bounce back from his two-interception performance in the preseason opener in Chicago. “Just trusting my reads,” Foles said of his performance Tuesday. “It’s great going against another team. It’s fun to be out there. It’s a nice switch for us and it’s a nice switch for our defense. It’s a great learning opportunity for us.”
  • The teams have a similar schedule Wednesday, with practice scheduled for 2:15 p.m. However, the weather could be an issue. The forecast calls for thunderstorms in the morning and afternoon. The Patriots have an indoor facility, but it might be tough to fit two full teams in there. If the weather clears in time, the Eagles and Patriots will practice for about two hours Wednesday. They are scheduled to have a lighter workout Thursday in advance of Friday night’s preseason game.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 12

August, 11, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:

  • While at least one Eagle, cornerback Cary Williams, has made it clear he’d rather not be spending three days practicing against the New England Patriots this week, most of the players seem to be on board with the idea. “I’m really excited about this,” linebacker Connor Barwin said. “This is awesome. I love practicing against another team. I’ve done it for most of my career. It’s perfect timing for us.” The Eagles had a brief walk-through session at the NovaCare Complex and headed for Foxborough, Massachusetts, early in the afternoon Monday.
  • Head coach Chip Kelly likes practicing against another team because it gives the coaches a chance to evaluate players in a different setting and against different competition. “It's going to help a lot,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. ”Tom Brady was great last year to see. You really do know where you are against the elite of the elite when you get to play and practice against them a couple days in a row. So we're all really excited about going up there and challenging ourselves and going against the best.”
  • In the preseason opener in Chicago Friday, the Eagles did not get a lot of pressure on the Bears’ quarterbacks. But Davis said that was partly because they didn’t do anything exotic in order to generate pressure. The whole idea was to evaluate the players’ abilities in a base defense. “I knew halfway through that we were struggling on third down, and we were losing different one-on-one battles,” Davis said. “You can go to the pressure package, if you want. But it takes you away from the evaluation process. So the whole goal is to evaluate and grow the players, and that's what we're working on right now. It hurt a little bit on third down.”
  • Kelly and Davis also expected the blizzard of yellow penalty flags that came down in the game. The officiating crew that worked the Eagles’ practices a week before the game said as much. Still, the players have to be able to adjust to the way the games will be called. “We're learning how the officials are calling a tighter game,” Davis said. “The other night, they called it pretty well. I mean, we grabbed cloth. They called everything they told us they were going to call, and we made the mistakes. If we put our hands on someone past five [yards], they called it. It's a matter of us adjusting. … We can still be aggressive, we can still attack, we can still press. We just have to do it a little tighter than we did a year ago.”
  • The Eagles and Patriots will practice together at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday and Wednesday at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough. Both practices will be open to the public. Thursday’s abbreviated session is closed. The Eagles are in relatively good health heading up to Massachusetts. Running backs Chris Polk and Matthew Tucker and cornerback Nolan Carroll were working out with trainers on the side Monday. Kelly said he expected linebacker Casey Matthews to practice Tuesday.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 11

August, 10, 2014
PHILADELPHIA – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • It was hard to reconcile the jarring music that accompanies Chip Kelly practices with the setting. Franklin Field, built in 1895, fits comfortably into the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. But the old stadium comfortably accommodated the Eagles and roughly 28,000 fans for a Sunday afternoon practice session. “It’s been amazing,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “Just walking on the field, knowing there is so much history here, it’s an amazing stadium.” Of course, when the Eagles won their last NFL title here, back in 1960, there was real grass instead of artificial turf, and there was no blaring pop music to distract you from the activity on the field.
  • With their return to Philadelphia, the Eagles also saw several of their injured players return to the practice field. Wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeff Maehl were out of their walking boots and into cleats. Nose tackle Bennie Logan was also back in action. Linebacker Casey Matthews, who was injured in the game Friday night, should be back by Tuesday, Kelly said.
  • Although it was not a padded practice. Foles said he was able to work on some of the little things that led to his two interceptions in Chicago. "I worked on correcting them, being more efficient," Foles said. "If I had a first read open, I’m going to take it. You know, work from there. Know what the concept is, where I need my footwork to be, my eyes. Just making smart decisions. If I don’t have it, throw it away. Just doing the little things I did last year."
  • Kelly also had a neat explanation for the first-team offense’s struggles Friday night. In a word: penalties. “The thing that hurt our offensive line,” Kelly said, “we got too many penalties. We were moving the ball. Two of the penalties we had negated big gains for us. ... Penalties set us back, not getting into a rhythm (on offense).”
  • The Eagles will have a brief walk-through practice Monday, then leave for Foxborough, Massachusetts. They will practice with the New England Patriots Tuesday and Wednesday, then have a walk-through session together on Thursday. Kelly said the Wednesday and Thursday practices will be physical; it’s not clear whether that means more hitting than usual. The two teams play Friday night at Gillette Stadium.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 10

August, 6, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • The Eagles held a soggy walk-through practice that lasted just over an hour Wednesday. There wasn't much to learn from it. Although the weather forecast called for dry weather, it started raining about halfway through the session and continued for about 20 minutes. The players and coaches didn't seem to mind after practicing through Tuesday's scorching conditions.
  • The Eagles posted their first depth chart Monday. It's probably just as well you didn't take the time to memorize it. Head coach Chip Kelly didn't, either."Seriously," Kelly said, "I don't care. Derek [Boyko, Eagles PR director] did it. I mean, it's absolutely nothing. I know we're going to get questions on it and, I'll be honest with you, I do not care how that's listed. I said a long time ago, it's written in sand, it's written in water, it can be written in anything. That depth chart means absolutely nothing. The only reason we make one is because they tell us to make one."
  • Kelly was vague about his plans for playing time Friday night in Chicago, too. But he has sound reasons for that. He doesn't yet know how the game will go. "We're trying to get our starters or ones somewhere between 10 and 15 snaps," Kelly said."Just depends on how the game goes, and then we'll start to substitute after that. Really just depends, offensively or defensively, how much success they're having. Could be you've got a couple three-and-outs and they've got to go back out there, but if you get two decent drives, I feel like that's what we're aiming for right now."
  • Friday's game will be the first NFL game of any kind for Eagles first-round pick Marcus Smith. Growing up near Atlanta, Smith said, he never attended a Falcons game. "It will be the first game that I've been to, the one that I'm playing in," Smith said. "My dad will be out there watching me, so it will be a great day for me. It will be the first game that I'm at and the first game I'm playing in."
  • The Eagles will conduct a light walk-through Thursday, then fly to Chicago for Friday night's preseason opener. Kelly said he is not sure about wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who missed a couple of practices because of soreness in his legs.
  • Wide receiver Riley Cooper (foot) is unlikely to play, Kelly said. Same with cornerback Nolan Carroll, who has a muscle pull in his leg. Running back Chris Polk, wide receiver Jeff Maehl and center Julian Vandervelde are all unlikely to play because of injuries.

Eagles Camp Report, Day 9

August, 5, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • Tuesday’s practice ended with a pretty energetic red-zone exercise. You could almost feel the preseason opener, set for Friday night in Chicago, getting closer with each play. Nick Foles led the first team to a touchdown, firing an 18-yard touchdown strike to tight end Brent Celek. The defense won the next session, as Brandon Boykin intercepted a Mark Sanchez pass intended for Josh Huff. After Foles found Brad Smith for a touchdown, the defense held against the second team again. Sanchez threw the ball away through the back of the end zone. On Foles’ last try, safety Nate Allen broke up what would have been a touchdown for Jordan Mathews.
  • Starting wide receivers Jeremy Maclin (legs) and Riley Cooper (foot) did not practice. That gave Foles a chance to work with Mathews quite a bit. He found the second-round pick on consecutive plays in the red zone at one point. Others not practicing: center Julian Vandervelde, wide receiver Jeff Maehl, cornerback Nolan Carroll and running back Chris Polk. With Polk out, Matthew Tucker was the second-team running back.
  • Dick Vermeil, one of the two head coaches to take the Eagles to a Super Bowl, was a guest at practice. Vermeil came to the Eagles straight from coaching at UCLA. The next head coach to make that jump, from college to the Eagles, was Chip Kelly. Vermeil chatted with Kelly for a few minutes after practice, which did not much resemble Vermeil’s legendary two-a-day meat grinders. Vermeil later won a Super Bowl as coach of the St. Louis Rams. Kelly’s predecessor, Andy Reid, was the other coach to take the Eagles to a Super Bowl.
  • Cornerback Curtis Marsh has started drawing some attention for his play during the last few days of camp. A third-round pick in 2011, Marsh has never really earned serious playing time as a corner. His rookie year, the Eagles signed Nnamdi Asomugha and traded for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “Asante [Samuel] and Nnamdi, they might end up in the Hall of Fame,” Marsh said. “DRC’s still one of the best corners in the NFL. There were so many guys in front of me my first two years.” Marsh feels he has improved each year and has added some weight and strength this year. “Every year is a make-or-break year in this league,” Marsh said. “Every practice is a make-or-break practice for me.”
  • The Eagles will have one more practice Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. ET before the preseason opener Friday against Chicago. They will work at the NovaCare Complex with only invited guests allowed to attend. On Sunday, fans will get their last chance to attend an open practice. This one will be at Franklin Field, beginning at 12:15 p.m.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 8

August, 4, 2014
PHILADELPHIA – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • Jeremy Maclin got up slowly after catching a pass against cornerback Cary Williams. Maclin limped off the field and, except for one play in a later drill, did not return to Monday’s practice. A year after he tore his ACL in a camp practice, it’s natural to watch Maclin closely when he’s slow to get up. “I try not to think about it when he goes down,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “I trust Mac to get up. He’s a tough guy.” Maclin said he expected to be back on the field for Tuesday’s practice.
  • With Maclin and Riley Cooper (foot) sidelined, the first-team wide receiver group can force even observant fans to consult their rosters. Foles was throwing to Ifeanyi Momah and B.J. Cunningham at times. Brad Smith is still in the slot. ”It’s fun for me,” Foles said. “There are situations throughout a season where this could happen. Guys could go down, guys could be nicked up for games where you’re not going to have your No. 1 or No. 2 receiver. Building the chemistry now in this situation is huge for me. I need to develop that chemistry just in case that does happen.”
  • Foles has not had many opportunities to throw to rookie Jordan Matthews, the second-round pick from Vanderbilt. That’s because coach Chip Kelly wants to keep Matthews with the second team, in order to help him with the sizable task of learning Kelly’s offense and the play calls. In time, Matthews will get a chance to work with Foles, but not yet. “He’s doing a great job,” Foles said. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll see if they mix it up. Our receivers will keep mixing it up and I’ll be going with everybody.”
  • Matthews made a nice play, fighting for a ball despite tight coverage from safety Malcolm Jenkins. Matthews tore the ball from Jenkins’ grasp, earning a cheer from the fans watching practice. Foles struggled a bit in the final full-team session. He was sacked on first down and flushed from the pocket and forced to run on third down. Mark Sanchez moved the ball in the red zone drill, but was unable to punch it in. His final try was a throw to tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz caught the ball, but he was well out of bounds when he did.
  • The Eagles practice Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. The team’s focus is on preparing for Friday night’s game in Chicago in similar fashion to their prep for a regular-season game. That means three days of practice, a light walk-through and travel to Chicago on Thursday, then the game. Injured players who did not practice Monday: cornerback Nolan Carroll, wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeff Maehl, running back Chris Polk and backup center Julian Vandervelde. It is unlikely that any of them, except possibly Carroll, will play against the Bears.

Eagles Camp Report, Day 7

August, 3, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:

  • Cornerback Cary Williams laughed at the question, but it had to be asked. Over the weekend, Williams said he didn’t like joint practices such as the ones the Eagles have scheduled with the New England Patriots next week. On Sunday afternoon, Williams stood alone on the sideline during full team drills at Lincoln Financial Field. The official word, from the Eagles and Williams, was that Williams was given a day off because of soreness in his legs. “I couldn’t practice to the standards of what Chip holds or myself,” Williams said. “I haven’t discussed anything with Chip. I’m sure we’ll have a conversation.” As for standing off to the side, alone? “I was looking at the plays,” Williams said. “I was trying to envision myself on every play. I was going through my alignment, my assignment, my responsibilities. I wanted to have a mental day.”
  • The other injury-shaded bit of intrigue in the secondary concerned safety Earl Wolff. He missed two days because of soreness in the knee he injured last season. Kelly said he expected Wolff to practice Sunday, but added, somewhat ominously, “We’ll see. It’s his call.” Not only did Wolff practice all the way through the session, he was still running with the first team ahead of Nate Allen. “I feel really good,” Wolfe said. “My thing is, if I can go, I go. All I know is one speed. I play full speed all the time. If I can’t play that game, then I can’t play. They know I love the game enough, if I can go, I’ll go. I hate missing practice.”
  • The highlight of Sunday’s practice came late, during an 11-on-11 session. Tight end Brent Celek, his pants stained with blood, caught a touchdown pass over tight coverage from outside linebacker Connor Barwin. Celek had to dance to keep his feet inbounds as he gathered in the throw. A few minutes earlier, Mark Sanchez threw a pass down the right sideline and safety Keelan Johnson elevated, reaching out to slap the ball away.
  • Johnson missed the first few days of camp to deal with his arrest in Tempe, Ariz., on charges stemming from a late-night incident outside a bar. Johnson was charged with assaulting a police officer. He returned to camp Thursday. “He knows he made a mistake,” Kelly said. “He hasn’t been to court and hasn’t been through that whole process. The only thing we know right now is Keelan’s version of what went on. The process is truly out of our hands and it should be. Since he’s been here, it was the first mistake he made. There’s potential there, but he’s in a battle for a backup secondary role.”
  • The Eagles drew nearly 25,000 fans for their second and final practice at the Linc during this camp. There were fewer here last week, but that practice was on a Monday. Next Sunday, the Eagles will practice at Franklin Field, where they won their last NFL title back in 1960. Otherwise, the team will practice behind the fences surrounding the NovaCare Complex. A couple hundred suiteholders and season ticket holders are invited to watch those practices.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 6

August, 1, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • By the end of Friday's practice, quarterback Nick Foles was working with Ifeanyi Momah, Brad Smith and Arrelious Benn as his starting wide receiver groups. Jeremy Maclin left practice and had a trainer working on his upper legs for a few minutes. Riley Cooper has been out for a few days with a foot injury. Cooper wore a walking boot on his right leg for the first time. Jeff Maehl also had a boot on his right foot. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the shuffle was that rookie Jordan Matthews stayed on the second team, in the slot, rather than move up. Momah and Benn are both considered long shots to be on the regular-season roster.
  • Earlier, Maclin did get tangled up with cornerback Cary Williams on a deep throw from Foles. One of the NFL officials who has been working the camp this week called Williams for pass interference. Williams also lost his helmet on the play. Maclin seemed to get the better of things, but he was soon on the sideline. It was a year and one day since Maclin tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a training camp practice.
  • The officials stressed what they are going to stress during the season -- tighter enforcement of rules governing illegal contact and pass interference on both sides of the ball. "None of them are new rules," referee Gene Steratore said after practice. "It's more a point of emphasis, that we're going to enforce the rules that are already in place." Steratore and his crew threw a number of flags during Thursday's and Friday's sessions. According to Steratore, "almost half" of the fouls were called against offensive players for pushing off and trying to create space for themselves. "Just tell us what the rules are," Chip Kelly said. "We'll play by them."
  • The Eagles spend a lot of time on special teams during their practice sessions here. But Kelly said he didn't have a feel for whether his offseason moves were bearing fruit as far as improving the kicking game. "I have no idea," Kelly said. "We haven't played a game. That's where the game is the big part of it. You're not doing live special teams work in training sessions. You're going to your live special teams in games."
  • The Eagles will be off Saturday after practicing in pads three days in a row. Their next practice will be at 12:15 p.m. Sunday inside Lincoln Financial Field. That will be the second practice in the Linc, and it's open to the general public. The third and final such practice will be next Sunday, Aug. 10, at Franklin Field on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The Eagles played their home games at Franklin Field before moving to Veterans Stadium in the early 1970s.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 5

July, 31, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

Safety Keelan Johnson, who was arrested in Arizona just before the start of training camp, practiced for the first time Thursday. Head coach Chip Kelly had excused Johnson from the opening days of camp so he could tend to his legal situation, which includes charges he shoved a policeman outside a bar in Tempe, Ariz. “I was a little nervous,” Johnson said. “Once you face something like that, this is game where they can get rid of you and find somebody else at your position. I spoke with Chip, and that gave me a little bit of insight. I got support from the guys. They support me 100 percent of the way.”

Hall of Famer Michael Irvin attended practice Thursday. Irvin, who is now an analyst for the NFL Network, was talking to wide receiver Riley Cooper after practice. Running back LeSean McCoy walked over to meet Irvin. Before he did, McCoy looked back at a group of Eagles fans and told them, “I own Dallas.” The fans liked that one.

Cornerback Cary Williams had an interesting practice. While covering a kickoff, Williams was able to catch returner Darren Sproles and shove him out of bounds. It was hard not to remember the Eagles’ playoff loss to New Orleans, when Sproles broke through the coverage team and Williams, in a desperation move, made a horse-collar tackle to stop the shifty running back. Later, in a passing drill, Williams dropped wide receiver Jeff Maehl to the ground as Maehl tried to break press coverage.

The defense had the upper hand early in the red zone drill near the end of practice. Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez led drives that fizzled out and ended with field goal attempts. Alex Henery missed wide right on one of the kicks. Matt Barkley got the offense going, finding Damaris Johnson in the end zone behind linebacker Casey Matthews. On his final possession, Foles threw a 10-yard touchdown to tight end Brent Celek, who got behind linebacker Brandon Graham in the end zone.

The Eagles will practice at 11:35 a.m. Fridayat the NovaCare Complex. Invited guests only are allowed to attend. NFL officials will work the practice, as they did Thursday. After a day off Saturday, the Eagles will have their second open practice at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

Eagles Camp Report, Day 4

July, 30, 2014
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.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 3

July, 28, 2014
PHILADELPHIA – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:

  • The Eagles drew just under 15,000 fans for the first of three open training camp practices this summer. It was the first chance for fans to see the changes to Lincoln Financial Field. It was also Military Appreciation Day, and dozens of active service people were in attendance. “It’s awesome, man,” cornerback Cary Williams said. “You’ve got some people who can’t afford to come to a regular game. This is their opportunity to sit in these green seats and enjoy what we put out every day.”
  • The Eagles wore full pads for the first time, but there wasn’t significantly more hitting than there was in the first two days. Coach Chip Kelly has made it clear he sees practices as teaching and training opportunities and really puts a lot of weight on preseason games for evaluating player performance.
  • Several players did stand out. None of the four quarterbacks has thrown a single interception during the first three days of practice. LeSean McCoy looked impressive running the ball as well as catching it. He made it very tough on linebackers, especially Mychal Kendricks, who were called upon to cover him. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews got open in the middle of the field for two consecutive catches from backup quarterback Mark Sanchez.
  • The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Matthews plays primarily in the slot. Kelly likes the kind of matchup issues that can create. “Obviously, a lot of the corners who play slot corner in this league are a little smaller,” Kelly said. “You can create some mismatches from that standpoint. If you’re going to leave a linebacker in the game, obviously there’s some athletic mismatches we can exploit there. Also, in the run game, our slot receivers have to block. That’s one thing Jason Avant was outstanding at last year.”
  • Unlike his predecessor, Andy Reid, who opened every news conference with a list of injured players, Kelly seldom brings up injuries. He isn’t especially forthcoming when asked, either. His approach is basically that he’s coaching the players who are healthy and the trainers are working with those who aren’t. Four Eagles were limited or out of Monday’s practice: nose tackle Bennie Logan (hamstring), wide receiver Riley Cooper, running back Chris Polk and center Julian Vandervelde. None of the injuries appeared serious. The Eagles are off on Wednesday.

Eagles Camp Report: Day 2

July, 27, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:
  • It isn't always easy to make sense of a fast-paced Chip Kelly practice in real time. But there were some interesting things going on Sunday afternoon. Matt Barkley, who is supposed to be competing with Mark Sanchez for the No. 2 quarterback job, may actually be competing with G.J. Kinne for the No. 3 slot. Kinne, who has been throwing the ball well, was third throughout most of Sunday's session. Last year, Kinne was cut during training camp but he finished the season on the Eagles' practice squad. Barkley has an advantage as a fourth-round pick from last year, but Kelly always says there is open competition for every job.
  • Kelly's practices are broken up by intermittent teaching periods. On Sunday, those mostly turned into water breaks. Weather forecasts had called for a cooler day with rain throughout the morning and afternoon. But it was sunny and reached 90 degrees, with high humidity. The players didn't have pads on, but they were feeling the heat.
  • The best evidence of the heat was the first scuffle of camp. Linebacker Trent Cole took a little shot at running back LeSean McCoy, knocking McCoy down. McCoy, who felt the defense has been a bit liberal in the amount of contact dished out, came back at Cole. The two wrestled before teammates got involved and separated them. Cole and McCoy were joking about the whole thing by the end of practice.
  • Kelly confirmed Saturday that the Eagles will not tackle to the ground during practice sessions. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said that's typical, "because of the way you expose too many people to injury on a daily basis." But it is Davis' job to teach sound tackling technique despite those limitations. "A lot of that is body placement," Davis said. "If you can continually work on putting your head in front of the ball carrier, as opposed to behind -- I think one of the biggest problems we had last year when I broke down the tackling issues was our head placement was always behind the ball carrier, leaving all arm tackles." Davis said the Eagles improved their technique during the season "and we have to build on where we left off at the end of the season."
  • First-round pick Marcus Smith continues to run with the third team at left outside linebacker -- the Jack linebacker position -- behind Connor Barwin and Bryan Braman. "They come at their own pace," Davis said. "We give them every opportunity to teach and grow them. … Marcus is a very hard worker and a very intelligent guy and very athletic. So you have a bunch of characteristics you look for in all Eagles players. He cares a lot about the game. One of the biggest things that attracted us to him was that Louisville and (coach) Charlie Strong's defense is a lot like ours, and the way they used him is a lot the way we use our Jack position."

Eagles Camp Report: Day 1

July, 26, 2014
PHILADELPHIA -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp:

  • There really wasn’t much to distinguish Saturday’s practice from the weeks of workouts the Eagles conducted in June. There was little 11-on-11 action and no more than a hint of all-out tackle football. That’s the way the NFL is going. “We’ll have a similar format [to last year],” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “We had live tackling drills where the offensive backs went against linebackers, wide receivers went against DBs, so we’re going to stick with that. We have four preseason games where we’re allowed to tackle to the ground, that I checked on.”
  • The Eagles have installed the taller goalposts that will be used in the NFL this season. Kicker Alex Henery managed to hit the right upright during the first field goal session of training camp. Rookie Carey Spear, who looked inconsistent during June practices, hit a slightly longer attempt wide right. It was not a stellar display for either kicker. It has seemed obvious that Henery has a commanding lead in this competition. A bigger concern might be that Spears’ ineffectiveness rubs off on Henery.
  • It’s hard to remember a first-round draft pick coming into training camp flying under the radar as thoroughly as Marcus Smith is this year. One suspects the coaches have a plan for Smith that ends with him playing significantly during the season. For now, though, Smith is the third-team left outside linebacker behind Connor Barwin and second-teamer Bryan Braman. The expectation was that Smith would eventually replace Trent Cole on the right side, but Cole is being backed up by Brandon Graham, who was the Eagles’ first-round pick four years ago.
  • Last year, the Eagles had three days at the beginning of camp for rookies and other young players. This year, the entire roster was here from Day 1. “After evaluating it from one year,” Kelly said, “we don’t have a rookie quarterback.” Last year, with fourth-round pick Matt Barkley in his first camp, Kelly wanted to get him some work before Michael Vick and Nick Foles began absorbing practice reps. “We also want to make sure there’s a certain tempo and pace if you’ve seen us practice. To try to run our rookies into the ground when you don’t have a quarterback, you know, we did that a little bit in our rookie camp. Press Taylor, one of our wide receiver coaches, was throwing and it wasn’t as productive as we thought it was going to be.”
  • Barkley is working with the third team, behind Foles and Mark Sanchez, this year. He looked especially sharp during some 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills late in Saturday’s practice. Foles picked up where he left off in June, throwing accurately and in rhythm for the most part. With Allen Barbre starting at right tackle, Lane Johnson is working with the second team. Andrew Gardner, a 6-foot-6, 308-pound free agent, is the second-team left tackle. Matt Tobin, who is still listed as a tackle, was working at left guard.