Eagles Rank 3rd in ESPN Power Poll

With football back, it was only a matter of time until the power polls started rolling out. ESPN was the first to release theirs, and Eagles fans will be happy to know that their team finished high.

Sinorce Moss

Behind only the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, the Eagles came in 3rd on the poll. They jumped four places from where they finished the poll last year, which was 7th.

Trailing the Eagles in the top ten, from 4-10, were the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, and San Diego Chargers. While on any given Sunday anything can happen, it is hard to disagree that on paper, the Eagles are better then the majority of those teams.

The one team that the Eagles probably don’t belong above are the New York Jets. The Jets were a Super Bowl caliber team from start to finish last year, and were very close to getting their before they lost to Pittsburgh. New York has a shut down defense, and a team that has played together for a few years. The Eagles may have more talent on offense, but the defense has yet to gel together.

Representing the NFC East at #11 were the New York Giants. The Dallas Cowboys came in #16, and the Washington Redskins near the bottom at #29.

Where do you think the Eagles belong?

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Eagles Training Camp Highlights

Here are some highlights of yesterdays practice to enjoy on the Eagles day off.

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.

McCoy Stepping Up On and Off the Field

One of the most impressive players at camp this year has been LeSean McCoy, the third year back who had a breakout season last year.

But while McCoy has been impressive on the field, he has been equally impressive off it.

LeSean McCoy is having a great camp

This is the 2nd season McCoy has entered camp as the starter. After having a year to adjust to the rigors of being an “3 down” NFL running back, McCoy has been able to be more vocal with his teammates. At practice, he is constantly helping other running backs, giving them tips and showing them out to run certain routes to improve their game.

It is not just the players McCoy has been talking to. At Mondays practice, McCoy spent about ten minutes talking with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. The two talked about things they were seeing from the other side of the ball. When asked today about how DeSean Jackson missing has effected the team, his maturity once again shown through.

On the field, McCoy has been arguably the most impressive player on the field. While Vick has been very sharp and done a better job picking up the blitz, McCoy has been unstoppable nearly every time he touches the ball. His lightning quick speed has been on display, and he is making cuts that will make him a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. It is not unusual to see McCoy take a ball the distance in practice 3 or 4 times.

Last year, McCoy cemented himself as the best running back in the NFC East. If he is able to play like he is during camp consistently throughout the season, he may soon be talked about as one of the best in the game.

DeSean: ” I want to be an Eagle”

As DeSean Jackson watched on the sideline during the afternoon practice, Eagles GM Howie Roseman approached him and the two fist bumped.

It was tense to say the least.

Their is no hiding the fact that DeSean Jackson wants a new contract. His teammates ask about it, Eagle players ask media members if he has one, and the fans yell down from the bleachers begging the Eagles to give him one.

Jackson came one step closer to that contract by reporting to Lehigh today, a step he had to take in order to begin the negotiation process. Speaking to the media afterwards, Jackson said that while everyone might not agree with the holdout, its something he had to do.

“It’s really just about me wanting to step up and be a man about everything,” said Jackson. ” A lot of people can say negative things, but until somebody really goes through that and really is able to see how I feel. At the end of the day I have to be a professional.”

Professional is one thing that Jackson has been about the contract situation. Say what you want about the hold out, but their is no question that while he is with the Eagles, Jackson has handled the situation as good as can be. Jackson has wanted a contract since last year, and held it together. Now that he is at camp, Jackson says he will continue to do the same.

“I can’t cry about it, I can’t moan about it,’ said Jackson. “I’m here to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. I have a year under my contract. Hopefully something can work out. I think everything will. I’m just ready to get going.”

How the negotiations are going? Jackson refused to get into the details, but his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was at practice- but was ushered off into the stands by the Eagles, who do not allow agents at practice.

As Rosenhaud paced back and forth in the stands on his cell phone, the good mood between Jackson and the players could not help be over shadowed by his agent lurking off in the distance. No matter how much Jackson smiles and says he is ok, the fact is it will be a distraction until Jackson gets a new deal.

When, and how much, that will be however, is anyone’s guess.

VIDEO: DeSean Jackson reports to camp

DeSean Jackson has finally arrived.

Sporting an LA Dodgers Hat, Jackson pulled into the back as he reported to camp this afternoon.

Jackson said that he would practice, and be with his team during the walk through this afternoon.

Here is the video

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.