Category Archives: jamaal jackson

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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Could Rookie Kelce be Starting Center?

Before training camp started, it was expected that Mike McGlynn and Jamaal Jackson would battle it out for the starting center position. But based on the first team reps this morning at Lehigh, you now have to add Jason Kelce to the list of players competing to start on opening day.

Kelce took a lot of snaps with the starting unit today, and looked impressive doing it. New offensive line coach Howard Mudd does not seem to have settled on a starter yet, as players have been shuffled in and out of that position all camp. While Jackson was the starter before he got injured, McGlynn stepped in last season and played well in his absence.

While Kelce is a rookie, head coach Andy Reid said that experience will not play a role in who starts. “I see guys battling it out,” said Reid after practice.

“We’ve got three, really four guys that can play in their. What [offensive line coach] Howard [Mudd] is doing is he’s looking for the five best guys, and its no different at that position. So if it ends up being a veteran player or a rookie player, we don’t rally care. We just want the best guys.”

Could Kelce end up being that guy? Their is still a lot of camp left, but so far, Coach Reid likes what he’s seen out of the former Cincinnatti star.

“I think physically you see he’s a good athlete, he’s tough- but theirs more to it then that,” said Reid. “He’s got to learn. He’s a smart kid, he’s picking things up, but he’s got to continue to learn. Howard is asking him to do a lot of things and you’ve got to see where he ends up. But so far he’s handling the load pretty good.”

Would Reid trust a rookie to protect Michael Vick? It’s unlikely, especially one drafted as far down as Kelce. But if Jackson is unable to return to the player he used to be, you may seen Kelce on the field sooner then expected.

Training Camp Preview: Training Camp Battles

The Eagles went through a lot of changes this offseason- both the players on the field and the people who coach off of it.

The mass changes in the coaching staff will have a big part and creating even more change amongst the players. New defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, offensive line coach Howard Mudd, and defensive line coach Jim Washburn have no loyalty to any player. No favorites will be played. The jobs will be won over the next few weeks by the play, not the relationship.

With that being said, here are some of the top training camp battles to keep an eye on.

Right Tackle: Winston Justice vs. King Dunlap

Going into last seasons playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, there was no battle at this position. But after Winston Justice played so poorly that he was pulled in favor of King Dunlap, Justice’s grip on the position is not as tight as it once was. The fact that Justice had offseason surgery does not help either. This position is perhaps the most important on the line, as whoever wins will be in charge of protecting Michael Vicks blind side. Andy Reid said today that the job was Justices, but don’t buy it- this position is very much up in the air.

An injury and late season benching have Justice in a battle

Center: Jamaal Jackson vs. Mike McGlynn

Take away the fumble Mike McGlynn had a part in causing against the Titans last season, and McGlynn did an outstanding job taking over for Jamaal Jackson at center. But now that Jackson is back from a torn tricep, Andy Reid said that Jackson is the starting center. While the job may be his for now, things could change very quickly. Jackson has not played a full game in over a year and a half. McGlynn, on the other hand, played what Eagles expert Ray Didinger said was some of the best football an offensive lineman played over the second half of last season. While Jackson has had more experience at the position, McGlynn is the one who Michael Vick is used to. The fact that Howard Mudd has no loyalty to Jackson only adds more intrigue to this training camp battle.

Third String Running Back: Noel Devine vs. Graig Cooper vs.  Eldra Buckley

The Eagles first two running back spots are wrapped up with LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis holding down those spots. The third running back position, is very much up in the air. Eldra Buckley held that position last year, due to his stellar special teams play. Buckley also brings more of a power running style then either McCoy or Lewis. But Noel Devine and Graig Cooper have more talent then Buckley, which should add some intrigue to this battle. Both Devine and Cooper have the ability to take it to the house when given empty space. Devine is stronger then Cooper, but both excel in the return game- something Buckley does not. This will come down to one thing: if either Devine or Cooper can make an impact on special teams, Buckley could be gone.

Nickel Cornerback: Joselio Hanson vs Trevard Lindley

Hanson could win the job- or be cut all together

You would think they found a knife in Trevard Lindley’s locker the way he has been blamed for the firing of Ex-Coordinator Sean McDermotts firing. Many people around the Eagles feel that Lindley was not able to grasp the defensive system well enough to get on the field, and blamed it on McDermott. This season, big things are expected of Lindley, who will battle with Joselio Hanson for the nickel cornerback spot. Hanson is in serious danger of being cut as a cap causality, which makes this battle even more important. A poor training camp by Hanson could find him out of a job.

Defensive Tackle: Antonio Dixon, Trevor Laws vs Mike Patterson, Broderick Bunkley

Antonio Dixon came on like a gangbuster towards the end of last season, as he play led him to be the best defensive tackle on the team in many people eyes. The same could be said for Trevor Laws, who arguably saved his NFL career last season. Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, both former first round picks, started last season off strong before fading away at the end. The wrap on Bunkley and Patterson have been their inability to collapse the pocket on the opposing quarterback. Dixon did a good job of that last season, and Laws came up with big players during his time on the field. While it would be shocking to see both Bunkley and Patterson go, a strong training camp by Dixon and Laws could spell the end for either Bunkley or Patterson in Philadelphia.

Weak Side Linebacker: Moise Foku vs Casey Matthews

Perhaps the only reason Moise Foku is still here is his low salary, as it seems every other member of last years linebacker crew has been jettisoned off. Foku battled last season with Akeem Jordan for this job, but with Jordan likely out of the picture, he now has 4th round pick Casey Matthews to contend with. Make no mistake about it: while this job is an open competition, the Eagles want Matthews to win it. Matthews is quicker then Foku, and shows a better knack of being around the ball. With that being said, Matthews is still a rookie. Unlike a rookie defensive lineman, a rookie linebacker caught out of position could spell disaster for a defense. Foku can win his job by playing solid, mistake free football.

Jamaal Jackson says he’s ready to go

In 2009, the Eagles offensive line suffered at the end of the season when Jamaal Jackson went down with an ACL tear in his knee. Things only got worse for the Eagles and Jackson when he tore his elbow up in his first start back last season.

Jamaal Jackson missed all over last season with an elbow injury

But after overcoming two major injuries, the former starting center is now ready to go, according to comments he said to Tim McManus of Philly Sports Daily.

“I’ve been working real hard, trying to get back to my ’09 self.  A little bit of a road ahead of me but I think I’m on the right track,” said Jackson. “The knee is 100%, the elbow is 99.9, so I’m good to go.”

There is no question Jackson has been working hard. Every time I have been down to the PowerTrain workout center in New Jersey, Jackson has been there, working out and getting ready to contribute this season.

Once Jackson gets back on the field, where he fits is going to be interesting.  In place of Jackson the Eagles converted Mike McGlynn to center, who after a rouch start, showed real improvement and ended up being one of the better players on the offensive line.

McGlynn can be moved in to guard if Jackson comes back, but if Jackson is not playing up to McGlynns level, expect to see Mike moved right back into the center spot. In addition, Vick has now spent a whole season with McGlynn as his center, and has no experience with Jackson snapping him the ball.

With new offensive line coach Howard Mudd taking over for Juan Castillo, Jackson does not have a man in his corner like he would have had with Castillo. Mudd will play who is doing the best job, regardless of past experience. It is going to be one of the better training camp battles, once training camp finally starts.

It truly is a make or break year for Jackson, but it sounds like he is doing everything he can to be ready for it.