CurtisMarsh_TC

Curtis Marsh says “I’m still here”… and a fond farewell to Jonathan Tamari of philly.com….

Just when you write a guy off for the Eagles, they put him in the first-team rotation at Thursday’s “closed” practice…

Curtis Marsh, who dressed for only seven games last season, came out as the No. 1 right corner in the Eagles’ nickel package for their first full-squad practice of camp. The alignment had Nnamdi Asomugha moved inside to cover the slot receiver or tight end, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the left side.

Marsh certainly played as if he belonged. He even claimed not to be surprised to learn from the coaches that he would be getting first-team reps right away.

Curtis Marsh (#31), 6-0, 200, 2nd year out of Utah State who was drafted in the 3rd round in 2011 by the Eagles, is getting his chance to prove he was worth the investment by getting first-team reps in the outside nickel cornerback position in 2012 Training Camp…

“Following the energetic and alert play of rookies Brandon Boykin and Cliff Harris during the rookie portion of training camp and the emergence of second-year man Curtis Marsh on Thursday, the Eagles also suddenly appear to have a bunch of capable cornerbacks — too many to keep through the final cuts.” — So observed Allentown Morning Call’s resident genius Nick Fierro, who was in attendance at Thursday’s “closed” practice…

It is kind of special that the Eagles do appear to have an abundance of riches at cornerback…which says to me that we should not be surprised if a trade is made before the regular season begins between the Eagles and a team that is desperate for CB depth…

But I’m getting way ahead of myself…

Marsh responded Thursday to the question: Are you surprised Juan Castillo put you in the #1 nickel rotation at right corner?

“No, because I worked hard for this,” Marsh said. “Everything that I get, I’ve worked toward and I feel like I’ve earned. So I’m not going to say I was surprised, but I was definitely happy because it’s one step closer to achieving my long-term goals and being one of the best in this league.”

At this point comes the obligatory warning not to read too much into this. The third corner spot, which amounts to a starting position because the Eagles are in the nickel more than their base, doesn’t necessarily mean the job is Marsh’s to lose. Others will get this chance as well before the summer’s out, regardless of how well Marsh might continue to play.

For example, Trevard Lindley was in this spot as a rookie two years ago, showing tremendous promise after being drafted in the fourth round. But he failed to make the team last season, which he spent out of the league, before the Eagles brought him back immediately after the season. Now Lindley is buried on a depth chart teeming with young, talented, hungry corners who are trying to pry that coveted third corner role from Joselio Hanson, who will turn 31 next month and is due to be paid almost double the amount this year of all those trying to beat him out.

Hanson, though, has been fending off challenges for more than half a decade and doesn’t figure to give up the job without the fight of his life.

Marsh is just one of many who are lining up for the challenge — and he might be at a disadvantage because of the special-teams return abilities of Boykin and Harris. Those skills could be deal-breakers if either one proves he can play defense at or near Marsh’s or Hanson’s levels.

Nevertheless, Marsh is in there now, with the opportunity of a lifetime. Marsh is at his best when he can use his rugged 6-foot-1, 200-pound body to crowd receivers at the line and disrupt their routes right at the start. However, he claims to be prepared to play any formation required.

“I feel comfortable doing anything: Cover 2, Quarters … Cover 3, anything,” he said. “It felt good just to be out there with those guys and play up, because you’ve got some of the best in the league looking at you, relying on you, trusting you. So you step your game up.”

Play of the day on Thursday 7-26-2012… Linebacker Jamar Chaney, who is attempting to unseat his cousin Brian Rolle as the starting weak side linebacker, intercepted a Nick Foles pass and took it back all the way.

Injury update…Tight end Brent Celek, who left practice early, was seen leaving Cundey Fieldhouse after practice with a bandage on his right knee. The team described the injury as a mild knee sprain. Celek didn’t stop to talk to reporters, but did assure everyone as he was leaving that it’s not serious. “I’ll be OK, I promise,” he said.

EAGLES AT LEHIGH on Friday, 7-27-2012… Practices Friday: 8:15 a.m. (walk-through) and 2:45 p.m.

Now a quick word of congratulations and thanks for a fellow journalist…

Jonathan Tamari has resigned from the Eagles beat at CSN Philly.com to enter the world of political coverage at the Philadelphia Inquirer’s news bureau in Washington, D.C.

I assume it’s a promotion…but I will miss Jonathan’s angles on the Eagles…

Here’s Jonathan’s swan song to us:

“What I’ll miss most is learning and telling the stories of the many individuals who make up the team, and how they reached the highest level of their profession. For some, like DeSean Jackson or LeSean McCoy, it’s straight forward: work hard, star in college, get drafted early and quickly rise to the top. For others, including guys like Evan Mathis or Cullen Jenkins, the road is much more twisted, and fraught with setbacks and challenges, but eventually opportunities that they grab and hold onto. We watch in awe of the stars, but I think many of us outside of professional sports can relate to that second, less steady path, the one taken by much of the 53-man roster.”

“My last thanks have to be to the people who have taken the time to read my work, here online, in the Inquirer and on Twitter. I love getting to write for a living, but it wouldn’t mean much if no one was reading. I quickly learned that Eagles fans’ exacting standards go beyond just the team. I’ll always remember the searing messages I got when I mistakenly listed Ellis Hobbs at left cornerback, not right, during my first preseason. The volume of attention for even that detail told me how much Eagles fans care, that quality was demanded and that there would always be someone reading, no matter how big or small the news or the name we were featuring.”

Best of luck, Jonathan… you will be missed, as we Eagles fans know you really got it about what we are all about…

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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