Mikell rocks Avant's world at practice
Crunch Time is a compilation of hits and a few misses from Eagles training camp. BETHLEHEM, Pa. - When a body meets a body, comin' through the secondary . . . well, as Holden Caulfield no doubt would agree, a very large collision often ensues.
Crunch Time is a compilation of hits and a few misses from Eagles training camp
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - When a body meets a body, comin' through the secondary . . . well, as Holden Caulfield no doubt would agree, a very large collision often ensues.
That was what happened yesterday morning, when wideout Jason Avant reached out for a pass and leaned into a devastating hit from free safety Quintin Mikell. From the sideline, it looked as if Avant miraculously held on to the ball, but Mikell later said the official ruling from Andy Reid was no catch.
"I kind of took it easy on him, a little bit," said Mikell, who denied that the large bag of ice strapped to his right shoulder as he left the locker room had anything to do with the hit. "It was nice to get a nice hit in there. I didn't want to go crazy on him."
"I'm a little dizzy right now. I'm tired and I'm sleepy," said Avant, who certainly seemed to be describing concussion symptoms. "It was a great shot. I wasn't mad at 'Q' or anything, it was just a good play."
Mikell, a fifth-year vet who is the leader of the Birds' special teams, has gotten his most extended time ever at free safety in this camp, with Brian Dawkins taking it easy while he deals with Achilles' tendinitis. In previous camps, Mikell was mostly a backup strong safety, but during the 2006 season he started working more as Dawkins' understudy. Mikell signed a new 4-year contract on the eve of free agency; the Birds showed faith in him and in 2005 fourth-round pick Sean Considine when they didn't draft a safety early this year, as many people had predicted.
"I enjoy free safety, because there's a lot of chances to go out there and just play," said Mikell, who turns 27 next month. "Which fits me better. Strong safety, there's a lot of thinking. I can do that stuff, but I like to go out there and be free and just make plays."
* One play after setting the edge nicely on an attempted Ryan Moats sweep, rookie free-agent corner Nick Graham picked off an underthrown Kevin Kolb pass intended for Kevin Curtis. Graham, who is making a name for himself as a strong hitter, suffered what seemed to be a minor ankle sprain on the return.
* Jevon Kearse made the initial hit and then Sean Considine helped close the deal, shutting down Tony Hunt on a screen. "Freeeaaakkk!" a fan bellowed to Kearse. "Good to see you back."
* Nick Cole really stoned Brodrick Bunkley in one-on-one line drills.
* Curtis uncharacteristically saw back-to-back passes bounce off his hands. As they left the locker room after practice, Darren Howard asked Curtis, "Did you have butter on your toast this morning?" And the players think reporters are smart alecks.
* Hunt was tucking in a pass and turning to cross the goal line when rookie free-agent safety Erick Harris reached in and punched the ball free. It flew straight to Graham, who caught it for a pick. Or a recovered fumble, depending on the ruling from the nonexisistent officials.
* L.J. Smith, taking part in contact drills without the red "no-hit" jersey for the first time since undergoing sports-hernia surgery, absorbed a solid lick from LaJuan Ramsey.
The time's yours
Today's morning session is scheduled for 8:15, as usual. The 2 p.m. afternoon workout will be strictly special teams. Defensive backs and quarterbacks are scheduled for the autograph tent.
Quote of note
Brian Westbrook was asked about Donovan McNabb's declaration that it's "time to seal the deal."
"I think for us it's definitely true," Westbrook said. "We've been to that threshold, we've been to the Super Bowl, we've won playoff games. But we've got to win the big dance with the guys we have here." *
- Les Bowen