Category Archives: avant

Eagles Starters to Play First Quarter

The Eagles spent this morning going through a simulated game that was closed to the public as they prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens in their first preseason game of the season.

Andy Reid addressed the media afterwards, and said that his starters would play the first quarter. The 2nd team would take over from their until the half, and for the rest of the game it will be a combination of the third and fourth teams.

In addition to breaking down how he will divide his playing time, Reid said that Jamaal Jackson will start the game at center. Their had been some speculation over the last few days that rookie center Jason Kelce might take that role, but at least for the first game, it appears as if the job is still Jacksons. Reid did mention, however, that Kelce could see some time with the first unit. It would not be shocking to see that happen, as Howard Mudd is a big fan of Kelce, and would more then likely be interested in see him go up against the Baltimore Ravens defensive line.

Vince Young has struggled in camp so far

Vince Young will come in and quarterback the second unit. Young has had a rough training camp so far, both in learning the offense and mechanically. Multiple times Young has gone to the line only to be called back and talk with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Young has also had trouble making basic throws, as most of his balls have been overthrown or off target. This could have to do with him processing the offense while he is trying to play.

Jason Avant and Riley Cooper will be the starting recievers, while Chad Hall and Sinorce Moss will back them up. Moss has had a great camp, and it will be interesting to see if he can translate that into the game. Moss is fighting for a roster spot, and with Jeremy Maclin out, the Eagles will be interested in keeping as many playmakers as they can. Unlike Avant, Cooper and Hall, Moss has the speed to take one to the house.

On defense, Reid said that when the team is in nickel, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will play the outside. That means that Nnamdi Asomugha will man the middle, a role he has embraced. It will be interesting to see how much defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will show in terms of their plans for using the package for the regular season. With most preseason games, the gameplan is very vanilla. But with so many changes, and with Castillo new to calling the plays, it will be interesting to see how complicated the gameplan gets.

Speaking of Castillo, Reid said that tomorrows game will be the next step for Castillo. Castillo has been wearing the headset on the sideline for the last few practices, getting used to making the play calls. If the defense has problems getting a play in or seems confused, that could be coming from Castillo more then the inexperience of the defense playing together.

Either way, add up all of the plot lines for tomorrow night and you have one of the most anticipated preseason games in years.

 

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Training Camp Winners and Losers

Enjoying their now weekly day off, the Philadelphia Eagles are only two days away from taking the field for their first preseason game.

A lot has changed since they reported to Lehigh University for training camp 11 days ago. Their is still a lot of camp left, and time for players to step up and win a job.

But on the day of, let’s take a look at who has shined and who has been a disappointment so far at training camp.

Shined:

1) Curtis Marsh: Thought of by many as a project when he was initially drafted out of Utah State, Curtis Marsh has played better then even the Eagles thought he would early on. Marsh is tall and fast with long arms, which has allowed him to blanket anyone he has covered so far in camp. An excellent athlete, Marsh has been compared to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in terms of body type. While he may not be as fast as DRC, Marsh has been able to stay with receivers down the field. One on play, he looked like a vet as he turned his head around to make a play on the ball. Rookies will generally not do that, and will draw a penalty for it. Marsh should seem some playing time this year off his his camp performance so far.

2) LeSean McCoy: I wrote about it yesterday, but LeSean McCoy appears ready to take the next step to an elite player in this league. McCoy looks 3-4 steps faster then anyone out on the field. If he is able to get enough touches- and a decent amount of rest with Ronnie Brown in the fold- McCoy could put up big numbers this season.

McCoy and Vick will lead a high powered offense this season

3) Jason Avant: In his time with the Eagles, Avant has been anything but flashy- he has been consistent, dependable and a staple on third down in this offense. But with DeSean Jackson missing the first 11 days of camp and Jeremy Maclin sidelined with a mysterious illness, Avant has been the number one receiver on this team in practices. Avant has responded by catching everything thrown his way, no matter the level of difficulty it takes. Avant will real in a 50 yard touchdown catch, but he could catch 7-8 balls a game to start this year.

4) Michael Vick- Not much to say other then this: If he stays healthy, he will be the NFL MVP. Etch it is stone.

5) Chas Henry- The rookie punter from Florida has blasted some beautiful punts through the Lehigh skies. He gets great hang time under his punts, and has kicked some what seems like 70 yards. If he is able to avoid hitting a rookie wall, he should be able to have a solid year for the Eagles.

Disappointment: 

1) Daniel Teo’Neisham- The biggest bust of last years draft class, Teo’Neisham has been getting berated by new defensive line coach Jim Washburn on a daily basis at camp. While Washburn has done his fair share of getting on almost all the players on his defensive line, he has been especially hard on Teo’Neisham, who is in serious danger of not making this team. Washburn has publicly gotten on his 2nd year player about his technique and hustle in practice. The only reason he has a chance of landing on the active roster is that he was a high draft pick a year ago. But if Teo’Neisham does not have good pre-season games, he will not make this team.

2) Brent Celek- Celek, who seemed to get nicked up the first day of camp, has struggled through most of camp. He looks heavier then last year, something he admitted to during the offseason. It is all muscle, but he doesn’t look like the same player both physically and production wise so far. Celek has had trouble hanging onto the football in 11 on 11 drills. It looks like he will spend a fair amount of time this year blocking again, which is good due to his new playing weight. Either way, his play so far would not lead one to believe he was going to have a big year.

Jason Babin has not gotten to the QB much this camp

3) Jason Babin- The most noise Babin has made during camp is in the fights he has gotten into. Babin has not done a good job of getting to the quarterback so far, and was shut down yesterday by new RT Ryan Harris. In live hitting drills, Babin has not made many plays. The fact he is 2nd on the depth chart right now behind Juqua Parker is more then likely due to Parkers veteran status then the amount of playing time each will get. But anytime you invest big money in a position of need and see that player behind the one you wanted to replace, that is never a good thing.

4) Jaiquawn Jarrett- The former Temple Owl’s camp can be best described by one word- quite. Both on and off the field, Jarrett has been quite and hard to find. The 2nd round pick was able to make plays in college because he knew the opposing offense from studying tape, something he has not been able to do in practice. Jarrett lacks elite speed, so anticipating the play is the only way he will be able to create turnovers. A big hitter, Jarrett might show improvement in preseason games, but it looks like it might take longer then expected for Jarrett to be the playmaker this team wants him to be.

Avant says team needs Plaxico Burress in Redzone

Add Jason Avant to the list of Eagles who would welcome recently released Plaxico Burress to the team.

Jason Avant has been a regular at the player orgainized work outs

After another hard work out in the heat today down in New Jersey, Avant was asked about the possibility of Burress coming in and joining the Eagles group of receivers.

“We could definitely use him in the redzone, I can tell you that” said Avant to Johnathon Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Avant has always been good with the media since he came to the Eagles as a 4th round draft pick in 2006. While it is not exactly news worthy to say that he would welcome Burress to Philadelphia, it is interesting the way Avant casually threw the Eagles redzone offense under the bus.

According to TeamRankings.com, the Eagles were the 15th ranked red zone offense in the league last year, scoring just over 50% of the time. Despite his status as 3rd wide out on the team, Avant is a player that the Eagles did target in the red zone due to his solid hands and height compared to other receivers on the team.

For all of the talent the Eagles have in their receiving core, one thing they do lack is height. Two teams in their division with taller, more physical wide outs- Dallas and New York- both ranked ahead of the Eagles in red zone efficiency.

Avant has been one of the regulars down in New Jersey, and has looked about as sharp as you can look while catching passes from Mike Kafka with no defenders.

Riley Cooper, the player who’s reps would be most affected by the arrival of Burress, has also been in Jersey working out.

When asked what it is about Burress that would help the team, Avant kept it simple.

“You can always use a guy that’s as big as Burress”