BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Chad Hall knew he was going to take a big hit before he released from the line of scrimmage. Or at least he knew he was supposed to take a big hit.
The Eagles were in full pads Saturday for their first practice after Thursday night's preseason game, but during the 11-on-11 scrimmage, they weren't supposed to tackle.
Hall was running a streak route against a Cover 2 defense with the safety crashing down. Plays like that are all about the timing and the catch. The wide receiver will be open, but once he touches the ball that gets floated over the cornerback, the safety usually drills him.
Saturday, the pass from Mike Kafka floated in over the linebackers and cornerback. Hall leaped to catch it, but not before he saw hard-hitting Jaiquawn Jarrett barreling toward him.
Jarrett understood the rules, but walked a fine line. Deliver the expected hit but risk a scolding for not keeping players upright. Back off Hall and risk looking as if he had taken a poor angle, as Hall undoubtedly would have kept running down the sideline.
They collided at the peak of Hall's leap.
Jarrett wrapped up Hall, and as they fell back to the grass at Lehigh University, Jarrett tried to get them to land on their feet.
Their momentum brought them both to the ground, to the applause of the fans gathered just beyond the nearby sideline. Jarrett jumped right up and extended his arm to help Hall up and signal no malicious intent in the hit.
Hall popped up without Jarrett's help and gave him a slap on the helmet to let him know he was fine.
"That's my job," Hall said. "I get paid to catch passes even if I know I'm going to hit get after."
The Eagles spent much of Saturday's practice scrimmaging in full pads.
On the first play, Michael Vick hit DeSean Jackson for 36 yards on a streak route that brought the first-team offense within the 10-yard line. But after a LeSean McCoy run, Jackson screen, and McCoy screen couldn't crack the end zone, Alex Henery kicked a 20-yard field goal.
The first-team offense slightly outplayed the defense, but the second- and third-team defenses outplayed their counterparts.
"This camp earns its reputation as one of the harder ones," wide receiver Mardy Gilyard said. "We're out here pushing our bodies to the limit at a time when other teams don't. That's going to help us."
Play of the day. Nick Foles and Gilyard tried to team up for a touchdown similar to their 44-yard strike from Thursday night.
Gilyard streaked down the left sideline and created a bit of separation from cornerback Brandon Hughes. Foles pump-faked and delivered a good deep ball, but Hughes showed tremendous closing speed and timed his jump well to knock the ball away from Gilyard without interfering with the wide receiver.
Quote of the day. A tie, with the two from the free-speaking Gilyard.
"You do something well out here and they let you know," Gilyard said of the fans. "You drop a ball and they let you know that, too. It's crazy. Even when the trainers drop a ball, they get yelled at. They don't even get paid to catch balls. I do."
The other: "Being here is something I'll be able to tell my grandchildren. Like 'Hey, kids, I caught passes from Michael Vick. Or I blocked Trent Cole - I didn't do that good, but I blocked him. Kinda."