TCLane

Tuesday’s practice notes at Eagles camp…

Here's another link to video of Tuesday's Eagles practice highlights courtesy of NJ.com:

http://www.nj.com/eagles/index.ssf/2013/08/eagles_training_camp_watch_clips_of_tuesdays_eagles_practice.html

It rained Tuesday at NovaCare, so practice outside was abbreviated.  But the guys regrouped inside for some walk-through stuff.

The Carolina Panthers are coming up in PS2 on Thursday night.

The Eagles' top two quarterbacks—Mike Vick and Nick Foles— are expected to have RB LeSean McCoy with them in the backfield. McCoy missed the first preseason game with a minor knee injury.

They are not expected to have Jason Peters at left tackle. The Eagles' star offensive lineman has missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury. Kelly said Tuesday that Peters is "really close" to returning, but the Eagles are likely to err on the side of caution.

On the defensive side of the ball, outspoken cornerback Cary Williams is expected to play. Williams has also missed most of training camp with a nagging hamstring problem.

Chip Kelly had nothing but good things to say about rookie tackle Lane Johnson after grading him on film from PS1.

Lane Johnson just became a father for the first time last Saturday, by the way, so congrats to the big guy and his lovely wife…

Kelly admitted to the press yesterday that Lane Johnson graded out on film as the best offensive lineman in PS1 vs. the Patriots.

Johnson looked like anything but a rookie on Friday as he was a menace in the run game, consistently getting to the second level on safeties and linebackers and paving the way for running backs Chris Polk and Bryce Brown to do their jobs. Johnson also showed himself well in pass protection and was not noticeable in that area which is a good thing as he did his job and did not allow any sacks or hurries on Michael Vick or Nick Foles.

Johnson is going to be critical to the offense’s success. If he stays on at RT, he is responsible for protecting Vick’s blindside, and as it stands now it looks like Vick will be the starting quarterback Week 1. Johnson has some nasty to him. He wasn’t just blocking people, he was letting people know about it by driving defenders to the ground and showing a nasty streak not seen in these parts since Jon Runyan.

Meanwhile my brand-new favorite big-mouth on the team (cornerback Cary Williams) got some validation from Kelly, too.

Williams didn't rip any teammates, call anybody a coward or question their manhood. He simply stated the obvious on Sunday when he said the other 31 NFL teams don't fear the Eagles defense.

Williams met with Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman on Tuesday to clarify his comments.

"[Chip Kelly] didn't say anything negative about it. He backed everything I said," Williams explained. "'He said it's us in this [locker] room. It's our team. This is what we want to make it, and it's our opportunity to put a stamp on it."

When asked about Williams' comment that Williams' previous team( the Ravens) would have handled it differently when the Patriots got chippy in a scrimmage last week, Kelly noted he didn't want it to turn into the WWE. But being dirty and stupid is different than physical and intimidating.

Behind closed doors, it sounds as if the Eagles' new coach didn't disagree with Williams' assessment about the defense. In a way, maybe he welcomed the comment.

Maybe Cary Williams is trying to become the "Johnny Sample" of the new Philadelphia Eagles— and maybe the Chippah secretly welcomes that kind of individual tone-setting?

Johnny Sample was a big-mouth defensive back who laid it on the line back in the day for the Baltimore Colts (1958–1960), Pittsburgh Steelers (1961–1962), and Washington Redskins (1963–1965), and in the American Football League for the New York Jets (1966–1968).

Sample had the distinction of beginning and ending his career with championship wins in two of the most famous games in pro football history.

Sample finished his 11 professional football seasons with 41 interceptions, which he returned for a total of 460 yards and four touchdowns. He also recovered 13 fumbles, returning them for a total of 61 yards. On special teams he returned 68 punts for 559 yards and a touchdown, along with 60 kickoffs for 1,560 yards and a touchdown. Sample led the NFL in punt return yards in 1961.

After his career, Sample released a very outspoken autobiography titled Confessions of a Dirty Ballplayer (1970).

[Little known fact—During the 1980s and 90s, Sample became a tennis official, a linesman, even a chair umpire, at bigger and bigger events. He came to officiate at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open, in matches involving Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and most of the celebrated players of the day.—I admit, I did not know that!]

Maybe it's just my imagination, but I'm guessing Cary Williams is aware of Johnny Sample's legacy in the league and is actually trying to recreate Samples' trademark of motivational motor-mouth.

So far, nobody has told him to stop talking. Not his coach, the GM or any of his teammates…

"I think a lot of guys agreed," Williams said. "I think a lot of guys probably disagreed, but we haven't come across as a tough defensive team. I wasn't trying to be a jerk about the situation. I was just saying we're trying to bring about a culture change here, a fierceness— and I think we're on our way."

Defensive leader at linebacker DeMeco Ryans didn't feel the need to discuss the comments with Williams. In fact, he claims to have not even heard about them before meeting with reporters on Tuesday.

"I don't care. Whatever he said, I don't care," Ryans said. "It's not going to affect us out here. We're focused on getting our team better. So what Cary said, it really doesn't matter to me."

Meh, you can bet DeMeco heard every word Cary Williams said…

Even defensive coordinator Bill Davis admitted Tuesday the Birds weren't defensively as far along as they would have hoped by the first preseason game.

"There is not one defense I've been on that hasn't talked about wanting to be feared," Davis said. "The only way to get to it is simply by putting the pads on people and being great at your trade and your craft."

When the pads have been on, the Eagles have done too much talking and way too little tackling the past few years.

Williams should make his Eagles debut Thursday against the Panthers. That could help the defense and his credibility in the locker room. All talk, no play never never works well. It only gets a guy run out of town more quickly.

At this point, Williams' Eagles career has barely begun and already he's become a lightning rod. On Thursday he can finally get back to playing football rather than defending his comments, which he claims were taken out of context and twisted into calling his teammates soft.

"I never came out and said my teammates were soft. Never said that one time. I never said in a disrespectful manner that I don't respect any guy out here. And I do [respect them]."

I get what Cary Williams is trying to accomplish. I'm old enough to have watched Johnny Sample do the same thing on every team he ever played. I was just a kid.

Williams already has one championship ring…  Sample got two, one with the Colts and one with the Jets. I'm going with the flow here…

 

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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