Reid: Expect tough camp
The Eagles need to learn more about their young team - it starts in July.
When Andy Reid addressed the media at the conclusion of practice Thursday, it had been approximately 66 days and 18 hours since the Eagles' coach had traded away Donovan McNabb.
And in the span, the Eagles had neither won nor lost a game.
Much has occurred since Reid dealt McNabb to the Redskins and promoted Kevin Kolb as his starting quarterback in early April - another big trade, the draft, minicamp, injuries and a month of workouts.
But the Eagles learned only a sliver of what they will discover when a very young group of players starts hitting at training camp in late July - "46 days and 12 hours" away, Reid said he told his players.
It was hard to decipher if he was emphasizing the long layoff or preparing them for impending doom.
"We're not going to slow down," Reid said. "It's going to be a tough training camp, and I told the guys that. It's a long one. We're up at Lehigh for an extra week and we're going to crank it."
Training camp opens on July 26 when rookies and selected veterans report. It will last 18 days, a week longer than a year ago because the Lehigh football team begins its schedule later.
Of course, it will be different in a more significant way. After a decade with McNabb as the center of attention, Kolb will be under the constant gaze of thousands of Eagles fans at Lehigh.
"Donovan is gone, so now he's got to put his own stamp on this thing," Reid said. "He's got to forget about all that stuff. . . . Not comparing himself to Donovan or any of those things there. Just be Kevin and go play. I think he's taken the first step and he's done a nice job of that."
Reid said that he was also pleased with the progress of Michael Vick. His backup quarterback took some repetitions with the first-team offense during workouts and is expected to do so at training camp.
While there is essentially no competition for the starting spot at quarterback, there are a number of positions - especially on defense - that are up for grabs.
Free safety Marlin Jackson (torn right Achilles tendon) was placed on injured reserve Thursday, and Reid said that rookie Nate Allen would be the starter heading into camp.
Reid said star wide receiver DeSean Jackson missed the final four days of voluntary workouts for "personal reasons." Cornerback Asante Samuel was also MIA this week attending to a personal issue, the team said.
Reid said that Jackson had assured him that he would be ready for camp. Messages left with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, have not been returned. Jackson would be open to redoing his contract, which runs through 2011.
Reid said that the likelihood of injured center Jamaal Jackson returning in time for the start of the season would "be a stretch for him."
"Have I ruled it out? No," Reid said. "That will be quite a feat, I think."
Jackson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in December. Reid said his starting center would miss the beginning of training camp. Nick Cole is slotted ahead of Mike McGlynn on the depth chart at center.
Defensive end Victor Abiamiri (knee) is also expected to miss the start of camp. Reid said that cornerback Ellis Hobbs (neck), who has been limited at practices, would be able to do more at camp.
The following players who injured themselves during the last two weeks of practice will be ready to go by camp, according to Reid: guard Todd Herremans (foot), linebacker Stewart Bradley (calf), safety Quintin Mikell (knee), guard Fenuki Tupou (chest) and wide receiver Riley Cooper (hamstring).
Reid confirmed that he will join three other NFL coaches on a USO tour of the Middle East at the end of this month. He will be accompanied by the Vikings' Brad Childress, the Panthers' John Fox, and the Bengals' Marvin Lewis. Asked if he would be required to wear combat gear, Reid said: "The vests only go up to two XLs, so they're going to put one on the front and one on the back. And I'll bring some tape." . . . The Eagles signed rookie linebacker Keenan Clayton to a four-year deal and now have seven of their 13 draft picks under contract. The team released four undrafted rookies, bringing their roster to 80: quarterback Joey Elliott, running back Keithon Flemming, tight end Pat Simonds, and fullback Chris Zardas.