Lots of stuff that happened in last Thursday's Eagles preseason opener never quite found its way into the newspaper.
You might say events overtook the scheduled event. Suddenly, in the second quarter, just about everybody in the media not involved in the Eagles Television Network broadcast only cared about Michael Vick, who wasn't playing.
Rookie linebacker Moise Fokou was, however.
"He's done a nice job, and it all starts with his preparation. He takes great pride in the work he puts in off the field," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said recently. "He brings a lot to the table at that SAM linebacker position. When the lights come on, the look in his eye is the right look, the look that we want to see from our players."
Yesterday, veteran safety Quintin Mikell offered a similar take on the Birds' seventh-round draft pick from Maryland.
"He's a good player. He's a big guy, a big body, strong guy . . . in this league and especially in the NFC East . . . if you have a guy that can ping-pong those tight ends a little bit, help the safeties out and play physical like that, that is always an added bonus," Mikell said. "I think that's one of the better things that he's done, right off the bat. Obviously, he's still learning the system, but he's not scared to contact, be physical, he's got good hands, he's got good length on his arms."
Fokou, born in Cameroon, grew up in Maryland. He won a scholarship as a walk-on and made all-ACC as a senior.
Fokou hopes to trace a similar trajectory here, where he began the spring way down on the depth chart. Though Stewart Bradley, the starter who is out for the year after ACL surgery, is a middle linebacker and Fokou plays strongside, Bradley's injury ought to open up a roster spot for someone.
"I came in and wanted to show I was aggressive," Fokou said. "I thought I attacked the ball pretty hard. As a rookie, I made some mistakes - everyone's going to make 'em. As long as we get 'em corrected and get better, I think it was a pretty good first game."
Fokou, a solid 6-1, 233, said his impression so far is that the Eagles' SAM linebacker is "a bigger type of strongside linebacker. He kind of has 'contain' a lot of the time, fighting with the tight ends and the tackles. I think the key to it is you have to be strong with your hands, have good hands. You've got to do a little bit of coverage, too."
If getting drafted in the seventh round wasn't enough of a hint that he was starting out as a low priority, Fokou said he definitely got the message when he was assigned a portable NovaCare locker stall, one of a group of lockers placed in the middle of the room. Those lockers won't be there when the season starts and the Eagles are down to 53 players, plus the eight-member practice squad. Fokou hopes he will be, though.
"I looked around the whole locker room - everyone else has lockers against the wall. It's time to go to work," Fokou said.
"I like to have fun, but at the same time, I take myself seriously. I come in here with an attitude that 'it's time to get focused, time to get things done.' "
Rashad Baker, the free-agent safety from Camden who the Eagles signed in the offseason, did not practice yesterday, and his nameplate and number had been removed from the locker room.
A team spokesman, asked to look into the matter, reported back that he had been told to say Baker was "still on the roster."
At the Monroe Township, Gloucester County, home where Baker lives, his stepfather, Ronald Fussell, said Baker's status with the Eagles had not changed.
"He's over at a friend's house," Fussell said, erroneously adding, "He was at practice today."
A large car-hauler pulled up to the house, and people went in and out of a white Cadillac Escalade that Fussell said belonged to Baker. At 9 p.m., the man driving the car-hauler said he was taking the Escalade to Miami.
Baker's agent, South Jersey-based Al Irby, said he had not been able to contact his client or get an explanation from the team.
Linebacker Omar Gaither (knee) did not practice. Cornerback Sheldon Brown (ribs) was a limited participant, but running back Brian Westbrook took part in the entire workout, for the first time this training camp. Today Westbrook is scheduled for his first news conference since the end of last season . . . Shawn Andrews was in Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed back surgery on Andrews last season. Andrews has not practiced since his back tightened up during a fitness run early on in training camp . . . Michael Vick's postpractice drill yesterday had to do with rolling out and throwing deep, something Vick probably has done a time or two before.
Staff writer Jason Nark contributed to this story.
For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.