I've watched a couple of weeks of Eagles OTAs now, rookie camp before that, and if you want to know what I've learned about Fletcher Cox, I can confirm that the team's No. 1 pick is wearing jersey No. 91. Also that he is polite to reporters.
Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.
This is no knock on Cox, the defensive tackle the Birds traded up to draft 12th overall, their highest selection in 12 years. It's just that all this work has been without pads, most of it passing drills. So I can tell you that rookie free-agent wideout Demaris Johnson looks short, shifty and speedy, I can tell you that second-round rookie defensive end Vinny Curry flashes quickness and size off the edge, I can tell you that the other second-rounder, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, looks smooth in pass coverage, I can tell you that third-round rookie quarterback Nick Foles seems to have a strong arm. I can even assert that fourth-round rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin looks comfortable in the slot.
But I have yet to see any of the defensive tackles put in a position to do much of anything, except hustle downfield in pursuit after the offense completes a long pass. If Cox ends up having to do a lot of that this season, the Eagles are in trouble.
When the pads go on at Lehigh in a couple of months, it will be time to pay attention to Cox. Even more when exhibition games arrive.
"It's really a passing camp. We've got no pads on, no contact, only like two steps [toward the passer], turn and run to the ball. It's really more of a getting in shape, conditioning thing for the d-linemen," Cox said after Friday's OTA work. The Eagles reconvene at NovaCare on Monday. "It's real hard to get a sense of what real action will be like] . . . the most important thing is, you don't want nobody to get hurt without pads on."
Cox said he is "getting off the ball a whole lot quicker" than when the workouts started, attributing this to becoming more familiar with Juan Castillo's defense.
"I feel like I've progressed a whole lot from Day 1," he said. "I went out there the first day [with the vets] and I was the last one getting off the ball. Now, it's turned around the other way. I'm getting off the ball with everybody else."
Cox said of defensive line coach Jim Washburn: "He's what I thought he was. He gets after it . . . He always talks to me and Vinny. He says we're the [quickest] two to ever pick up [Washburn's concepts] that he ever had. We talk about it a lot. We take a few notes, but basically, coach Wash does a good job of bringing us outside and walking us through it."
Cox has been making his way out to the field before the morning session, to work on details that he thinks veterans such as Trent Cole and Jason Babin have mastered, but that Cox is still learning - the angle at which he lines up, how to use his hands, and so on. He has worked inside and outside, and on blocking for special teams.
I don't have that many rules. One of them is I don't like to chase stories about what a guy I cover said to somebody else when I wasn't around.
I don't know what it was, exactly, about getting into an extended discussion of whether he can do more to stay healthy that caused Michael Vick to get salty on WIP on Thursday. I can tell you that this and the turnover thing are the prime subjects I've asked Vick about time and time again, in the wake of the Eagles' disappointing 2011 season, and, yeah, he thinks he has pretty much said all he can say. He does kind of get the "here-we-go-with-this-bleep again" edge to his voice when you press it. That's unfortunate, because until Vick stays upright for 16 games while taking care of the ball, the questions aren't going away.
From what Vick said after Friday's OTA session, he seems to have taken umbrage at what he thought was a suggestion he should cut short his progressions and just get rid of the ball instead of getting hit. Vick thought that was not a knowledgeable suggestion. Was that really what his WIP interviewers intended to suggest? Beats the heck outta me. I wasn't there, wasn't my question. It's why I have the rule.
Anyhow, Friday, Vick said this, while I was standing next to him, after someone asked about handling criticism:
"I rarely hear it," he said. "But when I'm in a conversation, then I'm hearing it, so I'm going to talk about it and keep it as real as I can and as realistic as I can. I'm not going let you make an assumption that's wrong. I feel like that's not being fair to you, or myself. So, just trying to say what's right and what needs to be done, so everybody can create a clear understanding of what needs to be done, even though you guys still may not see it that way."
That last line elicited laughter, which was Vick's intent.
"It's all good with me. I got thick skin, baby," Vick said.
The Eagles said DeSean Jackson will miss the coming week's sessions of this seemingly endless OTA, because he needs to tend to a family matter. We still aren't to the mandatory sessions yet, so D-Jax can come and go as he pleases . . . Greg Lewis, who scored the final touchdown of Super Bowl XXXIX, has attended the spring workouts as an intern coach with his former team. Lewis said he's heading out this weekend for his new gig as wideouts coach at the University of San Diego, where Hank Fraley is offensive line coach.
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen.