Player-by-player Eagles training camp recap: The QBs and RBs

With Eagles training camp complete, I thought it would be fun to go back and look at my notes, player by player.  Let’s start with the QBs and RBs:

Michael Vick

  • Vick looks very impressive.  He’s throwing ropes all over the field that are dead-on accurate.  It bears mentioning that there’s zero pass rush, and even if there was, they can’t touch the QB anyway, but the velocity and accuracy on his passes are there.
  • I missed the highlight of the day.  Michael Vick slid (without a defense even on the field), and the crowd went nuts.  I did turn around in time to see him throw the ball in celebration.
  • There was one play that was just awesome all around, that just so happened to be right in front of me. Jeremy Maclin went deep, with Brandon Boykin in coverage.  Maclin got a step, and Vick let fly and absolutely gorgeous ball.  However, Boykin closed and got his hands in between Maclin’s, but Maclin was still able to bring it in for a tumbling catch about 40 yards down field.  Great coverage, great throw, great catch, great football.
  • I should note that Michael Vick had a bad day today, in my opinion.  He didn’t look very good yesterday either.
  • Michael Vick looked extremely impressive yesterday.  He was threading needles all over the field.  He hit DeSean Jackson (who also had a great day) and Jeremy Maclin on a couple deep post pattern lasers that didn’t have much of a margin for error.  I was standing next to Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders, who had just been at Jets training camp.  He was happy just to see a few completed passes.
  • Michael Vick had a sloppy day.  First, on a drop back, he simply dropped the football.  Not sure if that had anything to do with his banged up hand.  Earlier in the practice he fired an absolute laser to DeSean Jackson that would make you think, “Oh, yeah, I think his hand is OK.”  Tough to tell if it was bothering him or not.  He also had a shotgun snap that he was not ready for glance off his shoulder, which the defense took to the house.  Never easy to tell if that’s on the QB or the center.  But otherwise, I just didn’t think he looked sharp today.
  • Michael Vick threw an absolutely gorgeous back shoulder throw to Brent Celek.  Or at least I think it was a purposely a back shoulder throw.  The Eagles, for some reason, don’t work a whole lot on back shoulder throws, but if done right, they’re extremely difficult to defend.
  • Vick fumbled another snap.  3rd botched snap in 2 days.  Two were on the QB-C exchange, one was on a shotgun snap Vick wasn’t ready for.  We’re 3 weeks into camp.  Not ideal, obviously.

Mike Kafka

  • Mike Kafka had a really ugly day.  The worst of his passes was a semi-deep ball that was horribly under-thrown and easily picked off by Brandon Boykin.  His pass needed about 45 yards on it.  Only went about 35.  Later he threw too high for Damaris Johnson, who got a hand up and knocked the pass in the air where it was picked off by Wade Bonner.  Next play (I think), Kafka threw to a spot near the sideline, where there wasn’t a receiver within 10 yards (although that could have been a matter of a receiver running a wrong route).  I’ve seen more good than bad from Kafka so far this summer, but this was just a bad day through and through, as the defensive rookies dominated all day.
  • My big moment: Kafka threw a ball out of bounds, and it was coming right to me.  I mean, it couldn’t have been a more perfect throw if he were trying to throw the ball to me.  I was confident.  I calmly dropped my pen and my notepad, and in that split second, there were no nerves, no fear.  I put my hands up, and… pfffff… right through them.  I mean… I barely even slowed the thing down.  Choke.  Awful.  The crowd immediately booed.  And deservedly so.  DeSean Jackson also had a drop today.  So did Nnamdi Asomugha.  Between the three of us, we have a combined 5 Pro Bowls and 5 All Pro selections. Drops happen to the best of us.
  • On one play, Mike Kafka had to scramble out of the pocket.  He had a step or two on DeMeco Ryans, and Ryans couldn’t close on him for the one hand touch on the QB.  It’s not like Kafka is some kind of statue.  He has some speed.  But if given the choice between “Do I want DeMeco Ryans to chase down Mike Kafka from behind” or “Do I not want DeMeco Ryans to be able to chase down Mike Kafka from behind, I’m choosing the former.
  • Mike Kafka had a nice day.  Arm looked live today.  Some days he just looks like he doesn’t have it.  Other days he looks like a guy you can legitimately win with if you lose your starter.  Today was one of those days.
  • Mike Kafka practiced today, sort of.  He threw some passes in 7 on 7′s.  He has a broken left hand, and was the 4th QB.  I wouldn’t read anything into the order in which he got on the field though.

Nick Foles

  • Something I’m beginning to notice with Nick Foles:  Really good arm, but if he throws the ball more than 15-20 yards downfield, it quacks.
  • Nick Foles tried to go back to the Mardy Gilyard magic from Thursday night, but Boykin would have nothing of it. Pick.  Actually, it was a pretty badly underthrown ball.

Trent Edwards

  • No notes. Oof.

LeSean McCoy

  • In past training camps, I’ve said that LeSean McCoy looked like the best player on the field.  He doesn’t look much different than previous years.
  • In 1 on 1 receiving drills, Jaiquawn Jarrett looked pretty bad trying to cover LeSean McCoy.  He would get his revenge.  On a play near the sideline, he came in like a missile at Shady’s thigh, and up-ended him.  Then later he got another big pop on Shady.  I couldn’t see it, but I sure as hell could hear it.  McCoy fumbled and the D recovered.  Nice to see Jaiquawn make some plays, but I’m not sure I’m all that interested in seeing Shady taking any more big hits.
  • I had a chance to watch some one-on-one pass blocking drills from the RBs and TEs today.  Depending on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, either the RBs and TEs looked really bad or the linebackers looked really good.  I’m leaning toward the RBs and TEs looking really bad.  Chase Ford and LeSean McCoy were the best of the blockers, with Clay Harbor right there as well, but nobody really looked good.
  • LeSean McCoy has 5 fumbles in his 3 year career on 801 touches.  That’s a minor miracle to me.  He is almost reckless the way he holds the football so far away from his body at times.  It’s amazing that opposing teams don’t seem to make that a point of emphasis when tackling him.  Perhaps it’s just because he’s so elusive that if you try to go for the football you can forget about tackling him?  Whatever the case, I think that at some point LeSean is going to start losing some footballs.  I can’t see how that isn’t going to happen.

Dion Lewis

  • I thought Dion Lewis had a nice day, but I’m going to note some good and bad from him.  He had a one handed catch in the flat and showed some nice scoot in the running game.  On one play, a defensive lineman got some immediate penetration, and Lewis did a quick jump cut, got the corner and picked up a nice gain.  Well done.  On the not-so-impressive side, Lewis received a handoff, and his jersey was grabbed by the powerful pimp hand of Derek Landri.  That was the end of Lewis’ forward progress.  Lewis looks very quick, but nobody is ever going to confuse him with Earl Campbell.  And finally, I watched him fielding kicks, along with Brandon Boykin, Cliff Harris, and some others.  Boykin and Harris get a head of steam as they catch the ball. That little difference of a yard or two worth of momentum can mean the difference between hitting a seam and taking it to the house… or not.  Lewis seems to catch the ball far too often with his weight on his back leg.
  • Dion Lewis continues to impress, as he is having a really nice camp so far.
  • Curtis Marsh, come on down… You’re the next contestant on the “Dion Lewis juked the crap out of me” show.  Somebody is just going to get mad, pick up Dion, and punt him.  He’s really making defenders look silly.

Bryce Brown

  • Bryce Brown made a couple of nice plays in the passing game.  He had one catch on the sideline near the end zone in which he dove for the pass, made the catch, and kept both feet in.  Then later, he made a little fake to an out route, turned it back in, caught the pass, and ran down the seam for a TD.  Well done.  It has been the easy ones that I’ve seen him drop.
  • I thought Bryce Brown had a good day.  We already kind of knew Bryce had some speed, just watching him in shells and shorts, but today we got to see some extended action of him running the ball with live tackling.  He ran hard.  Broke some tackles.  Played fast.  So far so good there.  It will be interesting to see if he can continue to play well throughout camp as bodies get more tired.  I think he is clearly ahead of Chris Polk at this point, who isn’t getting a ton reps.  I did see Bryce drop an easy pass.  That’s starting to become a theme with him.  I’ve seen him make some really tough catches, and drop some easy ones.  Concentration.  But again, a lot more good than bad for him.
  • Bryce Brown had one big mistake today, but otherwise had a really big day.  He ate up big chunks of yardage against the 1′s today on a variety of touches.  One play was on a screen, one was on a sprint draw, one run was on a stretch play.  His talent is undeniable.  But he did fumble once today.  Chris Polk was better today too.  He had two bruising runs where he broke a few tackles and got some YAC.
  • Another day, and more praise for Bryce Brown.  On a run up the middle, Brown got free (albeit in non-tackling drills), and sprinted down the sidelines.  He completely ran away from Nate Allen.  It should be noted that Allen left early with cramps, so that may have had something to do with it.  Still, undeniable burst from Bryce.
  • Bryce Brown also got flexed out and had a 1-on-1 opportunity on Keenan Clayton.  The pass was overthrown, but Bryce smoked him.

Chris Polk

  • Chris Polk talked about his shoulder after practice.  His shoulder, of course, caused him to go undrafted despite rushing for 2903 yards and 21 TDs his last two years at Washington.  (It’s his left shoulder, by the way).  He injured it as a sophomore and played with pain while rushing for the impressive numbers noted above.  Polk said it does not affect his ability to hang onto to the football, nor does it affect his ability to pass block.  He said the only time it can become an issue is if he extends it wide out to his side.  As I’ve noted before, Polk was not impressive at the Senior Bowl in comparison to other scatty backs like Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati, nor did he stand out in OTAs and minicamp.  However, he’s a banger.  He runs hard, breaks tackles, and as he said after practice, he prefers to run over someone instead of around them.  A more fair judgment will be made of Polk when they put on the pads.
  • Chris Polk feature in which he demonstrates his shoulder injury for me.

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  4. Joe D says:

    So who’s winning the 3rd RB situation? Not that the 3rd RB will do anything besides 25 carries in a year, but it was an interesting battle at least..

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Brown by a landslide.

  5. Tom says:

    Classic “Between the three of us, we have a combined 5 Pro Bowls and 5 All Pro selections. Drops happen to the best of us.”

  6. Nick S. says:

    Not sure whether I should be encouraged or scared by Vick’s notes…

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