Andy Reid set his countdown clock before the Eagles coach met with reporters yesterday, at the conclusion of this spring's OTAs.
More than once, Reid referred to "46 days and 12 hours" until rookies were to report to Lehigh, the evening of July 26.
For Kevin Kolb, the quarterback who finally got to take the helm a little more than 2 months ago as the centerpiece of a reconfigured roster, that time figures to pass quickly.
"It feels like it's only 4 or 5 days away, because it's in the forefront of my mind," Kolb said. "I have to calm myself down some and realize there is a long time before then, but I'm excited about getting in front of the fans at practice."
Kolb said he plans to speak with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers next week, about Rodgers' experience succeeding Brett Favre in Green Bay. He said he texted with Drew Brees yesterday and plans more communication with the Saints' QB.
"I feel like I am as prepared as I can be up to this point," Kolb said. "Summer is a very important time. We need to keep pushing."
Reid seemed to feel his young team - featuring the Eagles' largest class of drafted rookies (13) in more than 2 decades - got the important basic work done this spring, laying a foundation for the quicker pace of training camp.
"The things I saw in this camp were great effort and energy," Reid said. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us. I don't think [with] this crew that will be an issue."
Reid said having so much change on the roster shifts the picture for coaches in OTAs.
"You've got a lot of new faces, so there's an unknown there. You want to make sure that you find out, and you don't leave any base uncovered. Not that you didn't do it before, but you want to be more focused on that, and that will be important. It's been important to this point. I thought that the coaches did a nice job, and I thought that the players did a nice job at detailing their work. A lot of times, it's hard for young guys to raise their hands and ask a question, and these guys weren't afraid to do that. They did a good job taking notes, studying, watching tape and going out and executing. For as many new faces [as there are] around here, it was a fairly smooth process out there. I was asked about rebuilding and I don't look at it as rebuilding, I look at it as retooling. Put guys in, and here we go."
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott missed yesterday for personal reasons, the team said, but offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said his unit "went through a lot of installation for the fellas . . . They'll have quite a little taste of what we'll install in training camp."
These were Kolb's first sessions as the leader of the offense. Reid said he was pleased.
"I think he's done a good job. He's got good command in the huddle, and I think the players respect him," Reid said. "It is different. It's a lot more throws . . . It's a passing camp. He has a lot of throws, more than he would've [as a backup] in previous camps. I think he's handled that well, and he seems to have a pretty good grasp of the offense and the defensive schemes that we're throwing these routes against."
There were two pieces of real news from Reid's wrapup. One was that he has spoken with wideout DeSean Jackson, who skipped the final week of these workouts, and "he'll be here" when veterans report to Lehigh, July 29. Reid said Jackson had "personal reasons" for being absent, as did corner Asante Samuel. When questioners probed how Reid felt about Jackson and Samuel not showing, Reid said what he has said in previous such situations over the years.
"If you're here, you're going to get better, but, again, if you have personal reasons - and it is a voluntary minicamp on top of that - then you have to do what you have to do," Reid said. "I think more about the guys that are here, and make sure that we concentrate our efforts on that, and make sure the people that aren't here get whatever settled they need to get settled, and then move on."
Jackson has said he would like to have his rookie deal redone, after making the Pro Bowl as a wideout and a returner in his second NFL season. The Eagles have said that restrictions caused by the expiring collective bargaining agreement make that difficult. Jackson has not spoken about missing this week, but there have been reports saying the absence was not contract-related.
The other news was that strong safety Quintin Mikell, who limped off the field during Wednesday's workout, has an MCL sprain. Reid said Mikell will be fine by Lehigh.
Reid affirmed what was obvious from these workouts - with Marlin Jackson out for the season after tearing his Achilles' tendon (Jackson went on IR yesterday), second-round pick Nate Allen is the starting free safety going into training camp.
"You guys have met him now and have had a chance to talk to him, so you know he's a smart kid and he has a nice football mind," Reid said. "He's easy to teach."
Reid said subsequent tests showed Jackson's tendon might have been damaged previously. He was optimistic about Jackson, a former Colts corner, resuming his career, though he has suffered ACL tears the past 2 years.
The Eagles announced they have signed fourth-round linebacker Keenan Clayton to a 4-year deal. Clayton is the seventh of 13 draftees to reach agreement.
As OTAs concluded, the team released quarterback Joey Elliott, running back Keithon Flemmin, wide receiver Pat Simonds and fullback Chris Zardas.
Andy on tour
Andy Reid, who usually heads up to Alaska for a break before training camp with Vikings head coach Brad Childress, confirmed that this year, he has agreed to join Childress on a USO tour of the Middle East. Also in the group are Carolina coach John Fox and Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis.
Reid joked that flak vests "only go to 2XL," so his plan is to "put one on front and one on back, bring some tape," and create his own protection.
Andy Reid said defensive end Victor Abiamiri (microfracture knee surgery) "most likely won't be ready" for the opening of camp, but middle linebacker Stewart Bradley (calf), guard Todd Herremans (foot), wide receiver Riley Cooper (hamstring spasm), and tackle Fenuki Tupou (pectoral muscle) will be ready. Running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) returned for yesterday's workout, so presumably he will be fine for Lehigh . . . The previous timetable remains in place for center Jamaal Jackson (ACL); Reid said Jackson will not be ready for the start of camp, and playing the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against Green Bay would be "a stretch for Jamaal . . . That'd be quite a feat." . . . Reid affirmed his confidence in Michael Vick as his backup quarterback and said he was "very excited" to have Vick at Lehigh this year.
Daily News sports writer Tyler Dunne contributed to this story.
For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.