Te'o-Nesheim, Tapp and inside pressure
The play was over, but Marlin Jackson was not getting up.
Trainer Rick Burkholder went over, helped him to his feet and assisted Jackson off the field with one other person. In the corner of the practice bubble at the silent NovaCare Complex, Burkholder tried to calm Jackson down, as the Eagles' safety took his jersey off and headed outside.
Seconds later, practice was back on, a pass was broken up, and the 'D' was hooting and hollering, trying to keep the energy level up during an indoor practice in June.
That's what struck me today - how quickly the mood can - and really has to - change at practice when someone gets injured.
While it was difficult to avoid thinking Jackson had likely re-injured one of his surgically repaired knees, the Eagles later announcd it was a right ankle injury.
Update: The Eagles announced it is a ruptured Achilles tendon in Jackson's right leg.
I spent pretty much the entire practice watching the defense. Here are my other observations, broken down by positional groups.
But first, a quick disclaimer: This was only one practice. That being said, we got an early view of how the coaches see some of the new pieces fitting in. Could this all change tomorrow? Absolutely. But I'm going to follow my strategy from training camp last year and just write what I see.
* I've written at length on here about who might be counted on to create a pass rush inside - a role occupied by guys like Darren Howard and Victor Abiamiri last season. Today, during a drill with the defense in nickel, it was rookie Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and new Eagle Darryl Tapp.
* During the same drill, Trent Cole, who pretty much never comes off the field during games, was at right defensive end. Rookie Brandon Graham and Juqua Parker split time at left defensive end.
* Rookie Ricky Sapp lined up with his hand on the ground at times. So did Alex Hall, who was acquired in the Chris Gocong/Sheldon Brown trade.
* There was some practice of zone blitzing, where Parker or another lineman would drop back in coverage as a linebacker or two blitzed up the middle.
* The first team appears to be Stewart Bradley in the middle, Moise Fokou at the SAM and Ernie Sims at the WILL. The second team had Omar Gaither in the middle, rookie Keenan Clayton at the SAM and Akeem Jordan at the WILL.
* It'll be interesting to see who the nickel linebackers are this year. During the drill mentioned above, they were Bradley and Sims. Obviously, Jordan and Gaither have seen extensive action there in the past. And there's no Tracy White this season. Jordan and Gaither were the nickel 'backers with the second team.
* I mentioned above that Sapp lined up with his hand on the ground during one drill, but he also saw work with the linebackers at the SAM position.
* In the nickel, Jackson and Quintin Mikell were the starting safeties with Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs and Joselio Hanson at cornerback.
* Hobbs did not participate in the drills towards the end of practice. In his place were Macho Harris and Joselio Hanson rotating in and out at CB2.
* If Jackson's injury is serious, the candidates to replace him are Harris, Quintin Demps and Nate Allen. Harris has obviously been moved around quite a bit in his young career. Demps has the experience, but was a non-factor last season. And the Eagles obviously liked Allen's talent, drafting him in the second round. To be honest, even if Jackson's injury is not serious, one of those other guys could win the starting job.
* Quote of the day from Samuel to fellow cornerback Geoff Pope after Pope allowed wide receiver Chad Hall to make a 10-yard grab in front of him. Apologies if this is not verbatim, but it's pretty close: They can have breakfast. They can have lunch, but when they go for that dinner, you gonna take it to the house.
Words to live by, in all walks of life, really.
And finally, let me know what you want out of me at these practices. I won't be going to all of them because of my other duties here, but will try to make it to as many as possible over the next couple weeks. Am I over-Tweeting, under-Tweeting, Tweeting just right?
And of course, let me know what you want out of the posts. I like to just provide observations. But if there's a specific player or group you want me to focus on, or if there's a guy you want me to talk to, I'm pretty sure I can make that happen.
As I always remind you, MTC is the people's blog.
Oh, and thanks to everyone for the wedding venue suggestions.
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