31 carries, 158 yards
We get our first Tony Hunt media sighting of training camp today.
The biggest problem for Tony is that he's not a training camp type of player. Brian Westbrook -- training camp player. Lorenzo Booker -- he's a training camp player. Those are the guys who can run around in seven-on-seven drills and show off how fast they are, how smoothly they catch the football, etc. That's not Tony's deal/
Hunt needs to hope the third-team offensive line shows up to block for him during the preseason games.
Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages - politically sensitive ones that discuss Tibetan succession, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse. On Wednesday - two weeks after its most recent proclamation of an uncensored Internet during the Summer Games - the International Olympic Committee quietly agreed to some of the limitations, according to Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC press commission, Reuters reported. Gosper said that he regretted the limitations but that "IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related." A government spokesman initially suggested the problems originated with the site hosts, but on Wednesday, he acknowledged that journalists would not have unfettered Internet use during the Games, which begin Aug. 8. "It has been our policy to provide the media with convenient and sufficient access to the Internet," said Sun Weide, the chief spokesman for the Beijing Olympics organizing committee. "I believe our policy will not affect reporters' coverage of the Olympic games."
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Since the Olympic Village press center opened Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages - politically sensitive ones that discuss Tibetan succession, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse.
On Wednesday - two weeks after its most recent proclamation of an uncensored Internet during the Summer Games - the International Olympic Committee quietly agreed to some of the limitations, according to Kevan Gosper, chairman of the IOC press commission, Reuters reported.
Gosper said that he regretted the limitations but that "IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related."
A government spokesman initially suggested the problems originated with the site hosts, but on Wednesday, he acknowledged that journalists would not have unfettered Internet use during the Games, which begin Aug. 8.
"It has been our policy to provide the media with convenient and sufficient access to the Internet," said Sun Weide, the chief spokesman for the Beijing Olympics organizing committee. "I believe our policy will not affect reporters' coverage of the Olympic games."
It's been many, many years since I've been to Eagles' training camp (I think I still have Mike Quick's autograph somewhere), so I'm not really equipped to answer this reader question:
Can you give me a quick idea of what a day at training camp is like. I was thinking of going on Friday but wasn't sure about the schedule. The schedule has practice at 8am and 2pm.
It looks like the morning practice is about 2 hours. So what happens between the end of the morning practice (10am) and the afternoon practice (2pm)? What do people do during this time?
If you have any advice, pop it into the comments. Thanks all.
Good post on Eagletarian today by Domo, who's finally arrived to help carry the load. Two interesting points, the first obvious:
Another training camp day, another two practices under the hot late-July sun without MIA right guard Shawn Andrews. Why Andrews isn't here at Lehigh remains a mystery. But at least one of his linemates has a message for him: get your butt in camp.
"It's not helping us and it's not helping him sitting out,'' right tackle Jon Runyan said. "The longer he holds out, the longer it'll be before he gets in there. So it's going to be a tough situation. If you keep giving reps to the guy who's backing you up, at some point, he's going to pass you..."
Asked whether Andrews can miss most of training camp and step back in to his right guard spot and start, Runyan said, "Coach Reid isn't going to let that happen. So I'm not worried about it.''
The second more subtle:
Donovan McNabb never has been a big fan of the fade pass, which is why the Eagles don't throw it much. But he completed two nice fades to wide receiver Hank Baskett and tight end Matt Schobel in 11-on-11 goal line work.
I've never really like the fade down by the goal line that much (unless it's to Plaxico vs. any person in our secondary -- then it can't miss). It's almost a bailout / coin flip call by the coaching staff, especially when the team doesn't have Randy Moss type leapers on the outside.
On the other hand, defenses have known for years that they didn't really have to respect the fade from the Eagles, which has made it harder to execute the rest of the offense in the red zone since everyone can kind of cheat to the inside. It wouldn't hurt to see more of this in training camp.
By the way, is it definitively established that it's McNabb who doesn't like the fade and not Reid? Donovan seems to throw that ball just fine up the sideline.
There's another side to that coin.
Sounds like a Sting song, doesn't it?
Anyway, some backwards thoughts for today.
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The Cowboys might have a stronger coaching staff this year than last.
Doesn't seem possible, right? After all, when Bill Parcells left for Miami, he took with him anything that wasn't nailed down, including a #2 tight end, a spare linebacker, and five coaches (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), four of whom were with the Cowboys last year (QB coach David Lee spent last year with Arkansas).
That certainly seems like quite a hit. The Eagles lost one guy last year and he ended up playing a big role in the Giants' leap past the Eagles in the division.
But take a look at the guys Dallas has brought in as replacements (and while you're at it, check out the Jones family gravy train at the executive level):
Losing Sparano is certainly a hit, if he's as good as everyone says he is, but three of these four guys easily fall into the category of overqualified for their positions. The fourth, Herring, is no spring chicken himself and also keeps Nguyen around for help.
I'm not sure salvation is going to come from poor coaching -- unless you count Wade Phillips.
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Max Jean-Gilles just might win himself a starting guard spot ... playing next to Andrews.
Here's an interesting thought. The coaches made it pretty clear that big MJG was going to have a chance to unseat Todd Herremans at the left guard spot during this offseason. But then the big fella stayed a little too big and Herremans worked his tail off to keep his job (or for this?) and by July it was looking like a competition that was set to fizzle.
The problem for MJG is that he wasn't going to get the reps needed to make his case with both Herremans and Andrews doing what they had to to keep him on the sidelines. But now that Andrews is off scaling Mount Everest for a few weeks, Jean-Gilles is getting all the opportunity he needs.
And consider this ... what if Andrews is out a few more weeks and misses a couple preseason games? If Jean-Gilles comes in and plays like a monster, are the Eagles really going to send him back to the bench? I don't think so, which means Herremans could be in trouble (thanks Shawn) OR that we might be seeing the surprise retirement of Jon Runyan, after the coaches move Andrews to the outside to figure out a way to get all three guys on the field.
I'm not saying it's a foregone conclusion, especially since no one has any idea if Andrews can even be counted on for the full season, but at some point you have to put your five best guys on the field. We now have a chance to find out if Jean-Gilles is one of them.
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Jerome McDougle might survive again.
This Victor Abiamiri injury doesn't look good. Here's a good overview. If he's done for the year, the Eagles are down to five healthy defensive ends, counting McDougle. Undersized rookied Bryan Smith is still sitting out with a hamstring injury. Given Smith's status as a project and the verrrrry convenient timing of his injury, you have to believe the Eagles were at least thinking about giving this guy the PUP redshirt year to build up his body and come back strong in 2009.
With VA's status in doubt, things now get a lot trickier. Do you, um, "rush" Smith back from his injury to try to get him the snaps he needs to be effective when VA might be back in a couple months and then you have roster issues? I'm not sure you do. (Nor do we even know if the guy can play at this level.)
At some point, we all have to concede that Jerome McDougle is the luckiest man on the fact of the planet, right? I mean, it's not just that he somehow manages to magically stay on the roster every year -- the guy got SHOT and it couldn't keep him down.
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By eyewitness accounts, McNabb is looking better than Kolb in camp so far this year.
Wait, this one isn't counter-intuitive at all. Moving on...
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Did the Eagles actually go get offensive playmakers -- real, effective playmakers -- while no one was looking?
I think we have to reserve judgment on Booker until the first time we see him make an adjustment and pick up a blitzing linebacker, but you can't teach the ability he seems to have to make people miss. Same for DeSean Jackson. The question mark is still his size, but his physical skills seem to be unmissable.
Here's the counter-intuitive part there: Since first-round receivers so rarely pan out right away, draft one in the second round instead.
I guess I sort of appreciate that Osi Umenyiora is trying to be polite about his six-sack game last September that's universally hailed as evidence that Winston Justice will never make it in the NFL:
"(Justice) is a good offensive tackle, man," Umenyiora said. "He’s not a bad football player. I hate the fact that when people mention his name right now, they just associate him with having given up those sacks. But everybody seemed to be watching that game. I felt bad for the kid. But I had to do what I had to do."
If I were Justice, I'd be pretty miffed by the overall level of condescension (admittedly warratned in this case as Osi is a baller and Justice is a backup). Personal bulletin board material and whatnot. At the very least I'd take a moment to review my copy of True Romance:
I have to tell you, after five months of having very, very little to write about, the last few days have been information overload. Wow. So this is what almost-in-season football is like again. I had almost forgotten.
Let's start with the special teams. In yesterday's post, I mentioned the truly awful special teams results for the last few years. Since it's also special teams interview day for PE.com, it seems like we can probably make some hay here.
First off, I think it's pretty clear at this point that the problems with the special teams can be traced to the same issue that affected so many other areas -- poor drafting. The Eagles had top five special teams units from 2000 to 2004, then things started to get ugly.
Not coincidentally, the 2003 draft was probably the worst the Eagles have had under Andy Reid. Compounding that problem was that the 2002 draft was one of the best, at least at the top end. The three secondary guys and Brian Westbrook would all have made great special teamers, but they were too valuable to use in that role. The result is that as core ST performers like Ike Reese moved on, there was no one ready to their place.
In an interesting twist, the Eagles seem to have decided the answer to fixing the special teams isn't the draft any more, which is why they brought in guys like Chris Clemons, Rocky Boiman and (we'll see) Dan Klecko.
And wouldn't you know it, here's ST coordinator Rory Segrest on the unit's leaders:
On who the leaders are: "(LB) Rocky Boiman, (DE) Chris Clemons, you know, Q (S Quintin Mikell) stepped back into the role as he knows the leadership. Last year, he was really focusing on his defensive reps and, this year, I think he feels more comfortable with his defensive reps and he's able to give a little bit more attention back to special teams."
Interesting that the first two guys he mentions are free agent signings. I guess he really wants to make sure they all (especially Boiman) make the team.
And since we're on Segrest, it's nice to see there's at least one other person who's not totally infatuated with Stewart Bradley:
On whether he knew last year how good LB Stewart Bradley would be on special teams: "He was a rookie last year. Anytime you've got a bunch of rookies on the field, they're going to make mistakes. Stewart made some mistakes last year, but he obviously, again, he had that physical ability. He got better as the year went along. From a physical standpoint, sure we knew he would be there, but it's just like on offense and defense, young guys make mistakes and that's what occurred last year on special teams a little bit."
The other thing I wondered yesterday is if we could use past special teams performance as a way of seeing who might have the edge in roster battles this year. Let's take a look.
I put this table together using the last two Eagles media guides. Sadly, the older guides don't break out special teams production, so this is as far back as we can go.
A few things jump out right away:
1. There was a LOT of turnover on special teams last year. The top five special teams performers in 2007 were either not on the team the year before or didn't make much of an impact. Of the top five ST guys in 2006, only one (Joselio Hanson) played a similar role in 2007. Jason Short was cut, Sean Considine was hurt, and Quintin Mikell and Omar Gaither became starters.
2. Rory Segrest is a much tougher grader than John Harbaugh. In 2006, the Eagles had 161 punts or kickoffs. In 2007, it was 151. Small difference, but somehow Harbaugh's guys racked up 95 more "tackles."
3. Greg Lewis shouldn't get too comfortable. Lewis has always had a reputation as a standout special teams performer. Not compared to the seasons Hank Baskett and Jason Avant had last year. Guess we found our "sixth wide receiver."
4. If Nick Cole had 119 points, they must not dock you much for missed blocks.
5. Thomas Tapeh has a fair number of special teams points for a guy who "did not play on special teams."
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More later, but for now, one final nugget from PFP 2008 passed along without comment:
"Unfortunately, [Booker's] blocking was so bad and his knowledge of the offense so primitive that Cam Cameron limited him to scout team duty... Pressed into action as the third-down back in December, Booker responded with several fine games as a receiver. The trick to using guys like Booker is to focus on what they can do (catch passes, fake defenders out), not what they can't do (block). The Eagles traded for Booker during the draft. He'll replace Ryan Moats as the roster's running back least likely to complete a crossword puzzle."
Well well well, I guess we can't complain too much about the Birds bringing in so many defensive lineman in the draft and free agency over the past few years, as it looks like live bodies are dwindling by the day. First Bryan Smith goes on PUP (where Trevor Laws was stationed for a few days as well), then Abiamiri breaks his hand (which actually doesn't sound very promising at all), and now Chris Clemons is in the hospital (which sounds at least temporarily scary).
(Kind of creepy yet endearing that Andy Reid went to the hospital with Clemons. I assume this is the result of some strongly worded letters from NFL HQ in re: the seriousness of heat exhaustion and how it's bad for business when the large gentlemen keel over.)
Depending on how serious the conditions are (and I'll assume that Clemons will be okay), this has got to be good short-term roster news for Darren Howard and -- dare I say it -- Jerome McDougle? Is that completely insane at this point?
Hope everyone is okay.