Roob's 25 random (mostly) Eagles points
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – We’re just about halfway through training camp, so it’s a good time to step back a bit and throw out some quick observations from the first week and a half at Lehigh. And maybe a few other random observations, too.
Yes, 25 Random Points is back.
Let’s dive in!1.
Remember Juan Castillo last summer at Lehigh? Virtually every snap, he raced into the huddle screaming encouragement to his guys. After a big hit or a big play, he’d sprint over to the guy who made it and smack him on the back or the helmet and shout like a maniac. Really, he never stopped screaming. From the start of practice until the end, all you’d hear at camp was Castillo making his presence known. This year? Not a peep. Not a word. It’s been really strange seeing how in his second year as defensive coordinator his presence has been altered completely. Instead of jumping around like a maniac after every big play, he just kind of stands still and doesn’t say a word. When he gives instruction, it’s quiet and nobody notices. What does it mean? If anything? Not sure. Maybe Castillo feels like he doesn’t have to try to impress anybody this year by drawing attention to himself. There was definitely an element of, “Look at me, I really am a defensive coach,” last year. Or maybe he realized that all the rah-rah high school stuff just didn’t fit in an NFL training camp. Either way, it’s strange to see such a complete transformation in a coach’s personality. 2.
Just saw where the PredictionMachine.com ran a virtual NFL season 50,000 times and, using state-of-the-art technology, has the Eagles beating the Patriots in a virtual Super Bowl ... by an average score of 28-26 (see story)
. Wonder when the virtual parade is?3.
Nice new touch at Lehigh -- bleachers behind the end zone on Field 3, the field on the left for those entering through the main entrance, and the field the Eagles practice on the most. Gotta love those baseline seats.4.
Was very impressed by O.J. Atogwe Monday. Not by anything he did at practice but by his actions after teammate Ron Johnson shredded his ankle. The injury was so ugly that assistant trainer Joe O’Pella placed a towel over RoJo’s left foot so he didn’t see how gruesome his misshapen ankle looked and go into shock. Many players were sickened and looked away or walked away. Atogwe, the recently signed veteran safety, knelt down next to Johnson and talked quietly with him, comforting him and helping calm him down as trainers and team physician Peter DeLuca placed a splint on his ankle. Pretty cool moment. Ron Johnson was one of the most popular guys on the team among coaches and teammates. He was off to a good start at camp and actually had a chance to make the team. Was rough for everybody to see his season end like that.5.
I figured Cliff Harris’s punt return ability would give him a good chance to stick on the final roster, but he’s actually been very good so far in camp at corner. Very aggressive to the ball and looks surprisingly comfortable for a guy who didn’t play at all last year. Brandon Boykin is also doing some good things. Some talented young corners in camp.6.
Receiver Damaris Johnson and tailback Bryce Brown are both very fast but both also have to start catching the ball more consistently. 7.
Demetress Bell is fun to watch in 1-on-1s. He’s athletic and strong, and his footwork is surprisingly good. The question with him is durability. In three NFL seasons, he’s played more than eight games only once (in 2010). He’s not Jason Peters, but if he can play 16 games the Eagles should be OK at left tackle.8.
Hate this new practice schedule. I understand wanting to toughen up your guys, but practicing for three hours in the worst of the midday heat just doesn’t seem like the smartest way to do it. 9.
There’s no way Nick Foles or Trent Edwards will be the Eagles’ backup quarterback this year. I expect Mike Kafka to be fine in the preseason games, but if he’s not, No. 2 will be somebody who’s not currently on the roster. Foles will be No. 3.10.
The Eagles have just one starting linebacker that’s started a game in an Eagles uniform (Brian Rolle) and five backups who have (Akeem Jordan, Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Keenan Clayton). The three starters – Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Rolle – have started a combined 13 games in an Eagles uniform. The backups have started a combined 77. 11.
Wild guess: When the season is over, Rolle, Kendricks and Ryans will not all be starting.12.
Chad Hall. He’s one of those guys nobody puts on their 53-man projected roster in July, but he always seems to find his way onto the team at some point. The guy catches everything. Smart, quick, tough. A guy you always count out but keeps sneaking onto the team.13.
25 random IPAs that I love: 1. Tröegs Perpetual IPA, 2. Shipyard IPA, 3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, 4. Brooklyn Brewery East India IPA, 5. Founders Centennial IPA, 6. Founders Centennial IPA, 7. Lagunitas Maximus, 8. Stone Ruination IPA, 9. Russian River Pliney the Elder, 10. Victory Headwaters IPA, 11. Allagash Hugh Malone Ale, 12. Bell’s Twohearted IPA, 13. Magic Hat IPA , 14. Flying Fish Hopfish IPA, 15. Great Lakes Brewery Commodore Perry IPA, 16. 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die, 17. Pike IPA, 18. Black Raven Trickster IPA, 19. Harpoon IPA, 20. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, 21. Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA, 22. Sculpin IPA, 23. Goose Island IPA, 24. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, 25. Alesmith IPA.14.
I think Nate Allen will have a big year. Not so sure about Brandon Graham.15.
Evan Mathis will go to the Pro Bowl this year.16.
The gymanastics is OK. The swimming is fine. The archery, handball, judo and fencing are nice. But come on. Track and field is the Olympics. It all starts at 5 a.m. Friday with men’s shot put qualifying. Can’t wait!17.
I don’t care what anybody says, I’ll go see the Gin Blossoms every time they come through Philly.18.
“Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac” by Kris D’Agostino is one of the best first novels I’ve read in a long time.19.
The only receivers in Eagles history who’ve had more than 1,200 yards in a season are Mike Quick, Irving Fryar and Ben Hawkins. I’ll be absolutely shocked if DeSean Jackson doesn’t add his name to that list this year. I’m thinking 71-for-1,311 with 10 TDs.20.
By the way, how good was Quick? From 1983 through 1986, he averaged 66 catches for 1,161 yards and 11 touchdowns back in an era when those were huge numbers. During that four-year span, before the Vet turf began tearing up his knees, he was the best receiver in football. He was second to James Lofton in yards during that four-year period (only seven yards behind Lofton) but had more catches and 19 more touchdowns. If Quick played at the Linc and not the Vet, he’d be in Canton. Really.21.
This Marvin McNutt kid looks better with pads on than at minicamps. 22.
I go back and forth on whether Dion Lewis is a viable No. 2 tailback. Like to see a lot of him in the preseason games.23.
Not sold on Curtis Marsh as a third outside corner. Need to see more consistency at practice. Smart kid, good size, but he’s got to start making some plays. 24.
Here’s a name for you. Chase Ford. Miami tight end. Big dude, great hands. Keep an eye on him as camp continues.25.
Amazing only seven guys left from the Phillies’ 2008 World Series champions. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Joe Blanton and Carlos Ruiz. Where have you gone, Eric Bruntlett?E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org