It sucks to see good-hearted candidates go down in TC…
Ron Johnson had the NFL Dream in his visor… not necessarily because of the clavicle fracture suffered by 4th wideout Riley Cooper, but certainly because he had a sense the opening was available all along…
That’s because RJ has talent… But all that talent went down the drain on Monday when an audible “crack” was heard on the sideline at Lehigh as Johnson came down with an awkward angle on his foot on a pass reception…
It happened during the second practice, and the medical staff was unsure of his condition because it wasn’t able to pop the joint back in place, which could indicate a broken bone as well. Johnson was taken for X-rays. There was no word on his long-term prognosis.
“I really like him,” coach Andy Reid said. “He’s been coming on since we got him. He’s been improving every day. He’s worked out all offseason like a wild man. You hate seeing that. He’s a great, great kid and a good player, too. He’s a phenomenal player…”
Ron Johnson, 5-10, 185, 2nd year out of USC, drafted in the 6th round by the 49ers in 2011… then released, and picked up by the Eagles for their Practice Squad…
“He really had a chance to do something with our football team,” continued Reid. “This is going to be a setback for him, but he’s a battler, and he’ll battle through it. It’s hard. That’s the toughest part about the game.”
Johnson (5-10, 185) spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad before being elevated to the 53-man roster for the final week of the season. He was inactive for that game. Johnson gained 3,501 all-purpose yards at Southern California.
I’m probably overreacting to these recent injuries… but I’m starting to see a vacuum develop at wideout…
TRAVIS COBB TRIES OUT
Free agent wide receiver Travis Cobb worked out for Eagles coaches Monday, a day after receiver Riley Cooper went down for an estimated eight weeks with a collarbone fracture and hours before Johnson’s injury. After Cooper’s injury, Reid indicated that the team had no interest in adding a wide receiver.
Now that Johnson is down as well, perhaps the Eagles will bring Cobb or another receiver in.
MEANWHILE, BELL MAKING THE ADJUSTMENTS
Playing for the Eagles and offensive line coach Howard Mudd and Mike Vick is quite an adjustment from what new left tackle Demetress Bell was used to in Buffalo before being lured here in free agency this offseason. But he’s making more than adequate progress.
“He showed up when we first signed him to work and he knew what his job was going to be,” right tackle Todd Herremans said. “He has been putting in extra hours and time and really focusing on getting ready to play.”
Bell says protecting Vick is a different dynamic. “Well, you just have to hold your blocks longer. It’s not that one-two-three, stop and pass. You’ve just got to hold your block maybe five or six seconds. You never know what gets picked, so you’ve got to hold your block, every block.”
NEWS OF THE DAY—
INJURY UPDATES: WR Riley Cooper had surgery on Monday to repair a fractured collarbone. DE Jason Babin’s MRI result revealed only a calf strain. There is no timetable for his return.
PLAY OF THE DAY: QB Mike Kafka outraced everyone, including OLB Mychal kendricks, who appeared to have an angle, on a scramble for a huge gain in the first live scrimmage session.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Center? No, that was just a joke. Guard is the farthest I’m going inside.” — OL King Dunlap (who is 6-9), on rumors that the Eagles’ coaches had planned to give him some reps at center.
MATCHUP SPOTLIGHT: The second-team offensive line did a decent job vs. the first-team defensive front on Monday, particularly on a throwback pass from Kafka to Dion Lewis in which Mike Gibson and Dallas Reynolds sealed off their guys to clear open space for Lewis.
BUZZ OF THE DAY—
DRC is ready to play…
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is out to prove something in 2012…
Cornerbacks usually don’t fare very well in one-on-one drills against the wide receivers during training camp at Lehigh University. Because there is no pass rush, quarterbacks can hold the football for as long as they want. Receivers can juke two or three times until they get open. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie wasn’t fazed by the challenge of covering wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Saturday, however.
Almost 6,000 fans were rooting for Jackson to go deep and score a touchdown against Rodgers-Cromartie. Quarterback Michael Vick waited until Jackson got a step ahead of Rodgers-Cromartie and flung a spiral 60 yards downfield.
Jackson is among the NFL’s fastest players. Rodgers-Cromartie quickly closed the gap, however, and then reached up to snare the ball for an interception.
“Nine times out of 10 when a quarterback sees a receiver in front of you like that, he tends to throw it and let them run under it,” Rodgers-Cromartie said Saturday. “That gives me the opportunity to make up (the distance) on them and make a play on it.”
Rodgers-Cromartie has made a lot of plays since training camp began last week. The 26-year-old, who was acquired before last season from Arizona as part of the Kevin Kolb trade, has been one of the team’s early standouts.
Much of his success has been due to a change in positions. Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo used Rodgers-Cromartie primarily in the slot last season while Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel manned the outside spots. Rodgers-Cromartie had never played inside during his four seasons with Arizona.
“Playing the slot was hard,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “The ball comes out so quick in the middle that it’s tough to make plays. I’m happy to be back on the outside because that’s where I feel most comfortable.”
The Eagles made the switch immediately after trading Samuel to Atlanta on April 25. Rodgers-Cromartie joined Asomugha on the outside. Veteran Joselio Hanson is the No. 3 corner but will be challenged by rookie Brandon Boykin, second-year player Curtis Marsh, 2010 draft pick Trevard Lindley and others during training camp and the preseason.
“He’s been doing great out there,” Asomugha said of Rodgers-Cromartie on Saturday. “He’s been working really hard in the classroom on the mental side of the game. You combine that with his athletic ability and he has a chance to really be special.”
Having an offseason really helped.
“We always shoot to have the best cornerback tandem in the league,” said Asomugha, who also joined the team last year as a free agent. “We shot for that last year and there was a bit of a learning curve. Last year, we just didn’t come together as fast as we wanted to. This year, I think we have a chance to be really great out there.”
Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie were part of a secondary that was inconsistent last season. Asomugha, who was regarded as the NFL’s top free agent, was a disappointment. He had three interceptions but also surrendered his share of big plays. Rodgers-Cromartie had no interceptions. With opposing defenses reluctant to test Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie could be poised for a big season.
[SHOUT-OUT to long-time PE.com poster and recent member of the Eagles Eyes Bored, PhillyFanWest (aka PPW), who is a grandfather for the first time as of yesterday… It was a beautiful baby girl… all the best, PPW!]