TODD HERREMANS has a video Howard Mudd gave him earlier in the offseason, featuring Herremans' play and images of Colts offensive linemen Mudd coached. Fellow Eagles lineman Austin Howard has one like it. The idea is to give the now-locked-out players an idea of what the new o-line coach wants, since he isn't able to instruct them in person right now.
"He sent me a film, clips of myself in the past that he likes, and he'd like to see more of, clips of his guys from over in Indy, so I've been watching that. We had a couple meetings [before the lockout]. We'll see how it plays out," left guard Herremans said yesterday, after sweating through a workout at a field in Burlington County where Eagles players are trying to maintain their conditioning.
Herremans, whose 6-year tenure is tied for longest on the team among players under contract, has only played for former o-line coach - now defensive coordinator - Juan Castillo.
"Juan would like the vertical [pass blocking] sets for tackles, and Howard wants them to come out at a 45 [degree angle] more. And we're going to be more aggressive inside. Hopefully, that'll make a bigger pocket and more room for Mike [Vick] to work around in," Herremans said.
"I think [Mudd] sat down with all of us, pointing out good things and bad things, things he'd like us to work on," said Howard, who made the team as an undrafted free agent last year. "Explained a little bit of how the technique is going to be, a little bit of how the philosophy is with him. But you don't know until you get out there."
That's the rub right now. Herremans, Howard and more than a half-dozen teammates worked hard in the heat yesterday. Linemen ran cones and pushed a weighted sled. What they didn't do was pass or run block, or even line up in a formation.
"We've got to do with what we've got; we can't do that right now. Even if we did have the whole line out here, we wouldn't know where to begin on what to do," Herremans said. "Hopefully, this [lockout] will get ended soon; we've got a lot of work to do when that happens."
Two trainers from Power Train, the Cherry Hill gym where many players have been working out, presided over the session, which included longtime Eagles strong safety Quintin Mikell, now a free agent. Non-Eagles included Moorestown's Albert Young, a Vikings running back.
Herremans was asked if he feels the Eagles need more full-team work than some teams, given that both their line coaches are new.
"It doesn't matter how we feel," Herremans said. "We can sit here and complain about it as much as we want, but in the end, it's not our choice right now. We need to keep doing what we can do out here to be ready when that time comes. I can stand here all day and tell you guys we need to go into OTAs, we need to have minicamp, we need to have training camp, but it's not up to me right now."
Herremans, dogged by foot problems last offseason, said: "My body feels the best it's felt in like 3 years; you see me out here jumping and stuff, I feel great. But who knows, when I get in a stance, how I'll feel?"
Herremans said he knows Mudd "really likes athletic linemen, so I'll do my best to train as an athlete right now, and just convert over to his techniques when I get a chance."
Howard said he is doing everything he can to make the transition as smooth as possible.
"Some type of footwork is generic - you can do your sidesteps, do little things here and there that help strengthen your core, strengthen your leg muscles, so that whenever you get to camp . . . you won't be hurting that much. Obviously, you're not going to know exactly the technique," he said.
Of course, the linemen aren't the only ones who find it hard to work effectively under the limits of the lockout.
"It's hard to get in football shape just doing this kind of stuff," acknowledged linebacker Jamar Chaney, a rookie last season, who sported his workout jersey from the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine yesterday. "You really have to get out there on the field, put the pads and helmet on, and go through a couple days of practice to get in football shape. But you can do a little something right now. We're doing a lot of bonding out here. You see a lot of young guys out here . . . we're building a bond with players like Todd and Brent [Celek]. Working hard with them, we're getting them to trust us, 'OK, these guys are trying to accomplish the same thing we're trying to accomplish.' "
Chaney has a new position coach, too - Bill Shuey was fired and former Eagle Mike Caldwell, formerly Shuey's assistant, was promoted, amid what seemed to be an organization-wide shift to emphasize NFL coaching or playing experience among the staff.
"The thing about coach Caldwell is, when you've got somebody who played in the NFL for over 10 years, it's easy to relate to him. He knows what it's like on the field, he knows what you're going through," Chaney said. "He knows what's possible and what's not possible, he knows the little ins and outs of the game."
Chaney made a trip to Nova-Care during the brief thaw in the lockout, during the draft.
"I went up there and talked to [Caldwell] and coach Castillo. They gave me a form of the playbook. I've just been going through the new terminology - it wasn't the whole playbook, it's the basics, but all the terminology is in there," he said.
Chaney said he has been going over that information with Jaiquawn Jarrett, the Temple safety the Eagles drafted in the second round. Chaney said Jarrett has been working out at Temple, but Chaney hopes to get him working out with the Eagles soon.
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