Marty Mornhinweg likes the fact that rookie quarterback Mike Kafka isn't puffed up about his own performance through rookie camp and the full-team OTAs that end tomorrow.
"It's humbled me," Kafka said, when asked after yesterday's session what these workouts have done for him. "New scheme, new players; you're really just trying to catch up and learn as much as you can . . . It's challenging . . . I'm learning more about reading coverages, the drops, reading progressions. There's just a lot of things out there that I still have to learn."
Mornhinweg, the Eagles' offensive coordinator, has a different take - he's quite pleased with the progress of the fourth-round pick from Northwestern, a 6-3, 225-pound passer who Mornhinweg and head coach Andy Reid targeted going into the draft.
"He's coming along real well," Mornhinweg said yesterday. Told that Kafka perhaps wasn't seeing it that way, Mornhinweg laughed.
"Most quarterbacks coming into this offense do things they haven't done since high school, making mistakes. Many of them just completely blow up - it's so much material for them to learn. I think Mike has done really a fine job up to date," Mornhinweg said. "He's got a long ways to go, both with his basic fundamentals and techniques, the way we want it done, and then the learning [of the scheme], he's seeing all these things for the first time. He's got literally hundreds and hundreds of other things to see, as well.
"I liked him very much, coming out of Northwestern there. And in this series of minicamps we've had, he's been impressive."
Mornhinweg said Kafka is athletic for a guy his size, has obvious intelligence, and is quite accurate.
Kafka said he didn't play much under center at Northwestern - he worked from the shotgun, as is so common in college football these days - but he ran an offense based on timing and rhythm, like the Eagles' West Coast scheme.
"I think the system does fit me well, and I really enjoy it," he said.
Kafka stays out after these OTA workouts, working with one or more wideouts. Usually he gets extra reps with Chad Hall, the former Air Force star trying to shake off 2 years of rust accumulated while Hall was honoring his service commitment. Yesterday it was fourth-round rookie tight end Clay Harbor from Missouri State.
"Right now, I'm nowhere near where I need to be," Kafka said. "I'm starting to get the timing and the rhythm of the drops; that was the biggest thing coming in I needed to work on. I'm starting to get a feel for it; I'm not expert at it yet . . . There's a lot of things going on out there I haven't seen before. You're just learning. It's football. Just like any rookie would tell you . . . It's a fun process, though."
The defense practiced blitzing yesterday, forcing Kafka to hurry some throws.
"The guys I've been working with, the centers, have been doing a really good job as far as getting the [blocking] calls out, getting the blitzes right," Kafka said. "That's one thing we really stress, is communication, so we'll all know who I've got coming out, who's free. I've got to get better at my assignments, what I have to look at. If I can help those guys out, I will.
"It just comes with repetition. The more you see it, it all comes together."