It’s hard to imagine a tougher Eagles TC than in the past due to the new regulations imposed by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which limit contact drills to one a day, and impose a day off from contact on weekends…
Still, Andy Reid says that’s what the Eagles are going to get in July at Lehigh.
“This is going to be a tough training camp for them,” Reid said as minicamp concluded Thursday. “I’ve talked to the team about that. It’s going to be a demanding training camp, and from now until we get up there, they need to keep themselves in the shape that they’re in right now.”
The Eagles had 80 percent attendance at non-mandatory strength and conditioning sessions with Barry Rubin before entering the nine-week on-field phase of OTA’s and Training Camp. Maybe that’s what Andy is really talking about— more lifting and running at TC?
The Eagles are making up for lost time, in Reid’s opinion, because of the 2011 lockout that took away offseason activities — and direct coach-to-player communication — and compressed preseason workouts last August.
“If at one point something is taken away and you get it back, you’re loving it,” Reid said. “I’m talking about coaches and players. These players, you don’t think they want to be out here but they want to be out here doing what they do best. That’s the attitude they’ve had, and the coaches have been right there with them in the same way.”
Perhaps the best news for the Eagles was no major injuries were reported after minicamp. The list of dinged and bruised grew quickly last season in training camp and continued throughout the season. On his list of concerns, like many coaches in June, was the inability to perform tackling drills. Truth be told, the Eagles can’t fully evaluate the talent on the roster, especially rookies, until they’ve seen them perform in “live” football drills.
“We need fundamentals in tackling, and we weren’t able to do that,” Reid said. “You can come out here and hit the bag, but you need to do that live. We need to get up there, get into training camp, and get our run game going. There is no contact between the O- and D-line. We still have a lot to cover, but from what I saw here in this minicamp, if they carry this over to Lehigh, it’s a good thing.”
As for battles for starting positions, only fullback, strong safety and weakside linebacker are believed to be up for grabs on a team that has decent or good depth at just about every spot. And even those positions have firm favorites.
Fullback may be the most interesting challenge because none of the three doing battle have ever played in a regular-season game.
Stanley Havili getting first-team reps at minicamp last week… the 2nd-year fullback from USC (7th round, 2011) has bulked up from 227 to 245 pounds…
Stanley Havili has the most experience, having spent all of last season on the practice squad after being drafted in the seventh round out of USC. That gives him a generous edge over undrafted rookies Jeremy Stewart and Emil Igwenagu following the loss of veteran Owen Schmitt to free agency.
“It was huge to sit there [last season] and learn from Owen and to see how this system works,” Havili said. “Now I have a year under my belt.”
Havili’s main focus in the offseason was not to work on any one area of his game but all areas of his body. “I just wanted to be bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “I think the biggest thing last season was to work on blocking and technique.” To that end, he’s increased his muscle mass, going from 230 to 245 pounds.
Havili is quite aware that, with the exception of Leonard Weaver (who played here in 2009 before suffering a career-ending knee injury on his first play from scrimmage in 2010), fullbacks don’t have much of a role in the Eagles offense. He believes he can be another aberration. “I can do what Leonard Weaver did,” Havili said. “I just have to show them when camp comes around that I can make plays with and without the ball in my hands.”
The same will have to be true of Jamar Chaney, who despite starting experience at all three linebacker spots, finds himself behind his cousin, Brian Rolle, in the battle for the weak side. To keep his edge, Rolle continues to think of himself as a second-stringer having to try harder.
“I look at it like I have to go out there every day and fight for my job,” Rolle said. “I know Jamar’s not happy not starting, and he’s going to give it his all, and that’s something I keep in the back of my mind.”
Rolle actually never knew Chaney growing up and is still not exactly sure how they’re related. “My dad and his uncle are brothers,” explained Rolle, who initially said they were not blood relatives
And even though strong safety Kurt Coleman has clearly outperformed Jaiquawn Jarrett, he knows the Eagles invested a lot in Jarrett by drafting him in the second round last year (and paying him second-round money). Coleman was taken in the seventh round in 2010. Big difference.
Jarrett will be given every opportunity this season to prove himself worthy of such a high pick, especially after last season’s lockout seemed to affect him most of all. That the Eagles failed to draft another safety this year actually can be viewed as a vote of confidence for the both of them, since they’re not very deep at that spot. If Coleman and Jarrett each perform up to expectations this summer at training camp, there will be more than enough room for each of them on the defense.
Still, Coleman wants to hang on to what he has now. Last year he lost his starting job briefly before getting it back more or less by default, when Jarrad Page and Jarrett faltered. “I always want to know that there’s always a chance that I can be benched,” Coleman said. “I think last year taught me a great lesson. So I’m always looking to get better and get this group to be the best in the league.”
Happy Father’s Day, to all you big daddies out there!