The Eagles held their second practice of training camp on Monday. Here are some highlights and observations:
1. Jordan Matthews gets my "Camper of the Day" award. Practices that limit contact tend to highlight the passing game and those mostly involved, but Matthews had a standout performance by any estimate. He did most of his damage from the slot. I think we'll see more of Matthews on the outside than we did last year, but why limit his effectiveness when there probably isn't another option as comparable on the roster? Most of his catches came from Sam Bradford and there were a variety. It should be noted that Matthews was mostly going up against rookie JaCorey Shepherd, who is getting the first shot at replacing Brandon Boykin in the slot. It was a mismatch, but Shepherd, to be fair, is still learning a new position. After practice, Matthews and Zach Ertz took turns throwing to one another and then they moved over to the JUGS machine to catch more balls. This occurs regularly.
2. DeMarco Murray was back in action after sitting out team and 7-on-7 drills yesterday. He said it was a coach's decision to limit his action on the first day of camp. I'm not sure why he would need to rest after a six-week layoff, but he looked fine on Monday. He didn't seem to go 100 percent when he was involved, but after last season when he logged almost 500 touches, it doesn't seem necessary for Murray to push himself this early. Someone asked me how he looked, and my response was, "Like Brian Westbrook did late in his career." In other words, he seems to be saving himself for the season.
3. Travis Long left practice about halfway through. I didn't see exactly what happened, but caught him walking toward the trainer's tent. The training staff appeared to be examining his left knee. After a few minutes, Long got up and walked inside. The Eagles didn't have an immediate update. Long tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last August and missed the entire season. He tore the ACL in his other knee in college. Long would have made the roster last season and is competing for the third outside linebacker spot behind Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Marcus Smith is also in the mix. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said that Smith has taken strides this offseason. We'll see. The Eagles don't have great depth at the position.
5. A day after taking all of the first team repetitions at quarterback, Bradford was under center for the majority. He looked a little more comfortable on Day 2. His best pass may have been a heave that fell incomplete. Bradford was pressured, but flung a pass off his back foot some 40 yards that clanged off running back Raheem Mostert's hands. It would have been a tough catch, but there is no other quarterback in camp that can make that throw. Bradford isn't going to remind anyone of Aaron Rodgers outside the pocket, but he showed some mobility when he rolled to his right and hit Josh Huff on the numbers. Bradford, as mentioned before, got into a groove with Matthews. I'm not sure he had a receiver as good in St. Louis.
6. Mark Sanchez took his first series of snaps with the first team. I'm not sure that constitutes as a quarterback competition, but it's a start. His best toss during the series was downfield to Huff on a comeback route. Working with the second team, Sanchez knew who would butter his bread. He kept going to Nelson Agholor on the outside. The rookie wide receiver continued to get the best of rookie corner Eric Rowe. Contact at the line is limited, so I wouldn't make any assumptions about Rowe just yet, but Agholor has looked more than competent.
7. The inside linebacker rotation remained the same with Kiko Alonso, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks splitting two-man repetitions with the first team defense. Rookie Jordan Hicks took some snaps with the second team. Davis spoke about the depth at the position beyond the top three, and along with Hicks, there's Najee Goode, Emmanuel Acho and Brad Jones.
8. As Chip Kelly said two years ago, the Eagles depth chart is more of seating chart during training camp. Sure, there are established players that aren't likely to be supplanted. But at positions up for grabs, the Eagles like to shuffle players in and out on a daily basis. So on Day 2, Matt Tobin was out at right guard and Andrew Gardner was in. Allen Barbre remained at left guard. I imagine we'll see John Moffitt get a turn with the first team. Moffitt is wearing Todd Herremans' old No. 79. Every year there seems to be a new guy wearing the jersey number of an old stalwart that takes some time getting used to and No. 79 has been that number for me. The competition for the backup center spot won't garner much attention, but Julian Vandervelde was snapping the ball with the second team a day after David Molk handled center duties. Rookie Mike Coccia could also be in the mix for that job.
9. Brent Celek had a few drops during team drills. For someone that has been in the NFL as long as he has, you might expect him to shake it off, call it rust, and just wait till the next day to make corrections. Celek doesn't normally partake in the after-practice JUGS session with younger players, but on this day he walked straight to the machine after practice and worked on his ball-catching for about 15-20 minutes.