Eagles notes: Practicing panic mode
Kevin Kolb takes a sack. Time's winding down. The field goal unit has to rush onto the field. It's a scenario the Eagles hope doesn't play out, but it's one they practice.
A big day for MTC. We have at least one Eagles player who admits to having seen, read or heard about Man Up.
When players walk off the field at NovaCare, reporters (and me) wait for them and grab whoever they want to talk to. Here's the conversation Justice and I had:
Me: Winston, you got a minute?
Justice: Yeah. What's your name again?
Me: Sheil Kapadia, from philly.com (shake hands).
Justice: Oh... you're the one who writes that Man Up column?
Me: Yeah, you read it? Nice.
Justice: Oh, I don't read it. I heard about it.
Me: Oh ok.
Justice: You're mostly wrong most of the time [smiling].
Me: Oh, am I? I apologize [laughing].
Justice: That's OK [laughing].
Don't think I'm going to let this one go. I'll definitely be annoying Justice with a hundred questions about what he thinks about Man Up and how it could be improved. The funny thing is I remember writing pretty much all good things about him last season.
Anyway, I did actually interview Justice about football stuff. We'll have a video posted later, and I'll write about his comments in the next few days.
Other observations from practice:
* "This situation will not happen," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "But we're going to practice it anyway."
The offense lined up as usual, Kevin Kolb dropped back, and faked like he was getting sacked. Immediately the coaches and players on the sidelines started yelling, and the special teams unit ran onto the field as David Akers lined up for a field goal.
Just another example of how NFL teams try to simulate pretty much every situation. What if the offense finds itself inside the 20 at the end of a game with no timeouts and the Eagles down three? Say there is enough time left to take a shot at the end zone, but no time to take a sack or throw the ball in the middle of the field.
As we've seen in previous years, it's one thing to know not to take a sack, and another thing to actually not take a sack.
That's the situation the Eagles were practicing today, but they hope that Mornhinweg is right and they never face that situation.
* I mentioned the injuries in my earlier post (shout-out to philly.com interns Brian McCardle and Esther Lee for getting the update on MTC for me as I e-mailed it in off my Blackberry). Obviously, the one to keep an eye on is Herremans, who is seeing a foot specialist in Charlotte. The rest seeem pretty minor.
* I like watching which players hang out together on the sidelines when it's not their turn to take reps, how they celebrate, how they interact, etc. For example, when Kolb ran off the field in the above drill, he got a fist-pound and encouragement from defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley.
When Michael Vick completed a pass to Jordan Norwood during 7-on-7s, he did one of those back bumps (where two guys jump up and hit it each other with their sides or backs) with fellow QB Joey Elliott. That cracked me up for some reason. Vick, who'd be recognized pretty much anywhere he went, not only in Philadelphia, but probably in America, and Elliott, an undrafted free agent from Purdue.
* Nate Allen was the first-team safety once again. No alternating with Quintin Demps. And Macho Harris played exclusively at cornerback.
* Once again, the nickel linebackers were Ernie Sims and Omar Gaither. And Daniel Te'o-Neshiem and Darryl Tapp rushed from the inside. And Ricky Sapp and Alex Hall played on the D-line with their hands on the ground. Yep, not many changes there.
* Asante Samuel and Omar Gaither are by far the most vocal members of the defense, and it's not even close. "Run the route for him!" Samuel yelled after Joselio Hanson stuck with a receiver during one-on-one drills. "We can run too!" said Samuel as Dimitri Patterson broke up a pass intended for Jeremy Maclin down the near sideline.
* The receivers got Samuel on one play though as Hank Baskett beat him over the middle for a grab. DeSean Jackson ran 25 yards down the field, hooting and hollering and congratulating Baskett. On the very next rep, Hanson broke up a pass for Chad Hall, and Samuel sprinted downfield to give props to his fellow CB. With no pads and no hitting, energy level can be an issue at these practices. These kinds of things to get the competitive juices flowing help.
* Sticking with the cornerback theme, note that Hanson got some time at CB2 opposite Samuel, with Ellis Hobbs out today. Previously, Harris got those reps. Today, they alternated.
* Just a hunch, but I think we're going to be seeing a lot of Kolb-to-Celek this season. They just seem in sync.