With the mysticism and intrigue surrounding Chip Kelly's practice methods subsided from last spring, the attention for the first open practice of Organized Team Activities in Kelly's second season shifted from his music tastes (though Rihanna was still prevalent) to the actual action on the field.
Of course, the nature of these practices is that there is little "action" on the field, but because this was the first time we've seen the 2014 Eagles together, there were still plenty of takeaways from Thursday's activities. Without further ado, then, we present the first practice notes of the 2014 season …
- There were no real surprises among the first-team offense or defense on Day 1. You already know the starting offensive line that protected
Nick Foles, while the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends cycled through during practice. Some players who notably worked in with the first team on occasion included undrafted rookie tight end Trey Burtonand undrafted rookie running back David Fluellen.
- On defense, one starter was missing, as linebacker
Mychal Kendrickswatched from the sidelines.
"Just a little contusion, nothing serious," Kendricks said after practice. "It happened yesterday, just caught a knee to the thigh. I'll be back on Monday."
- In Kendricks' place,
Najee Goodepartnered with DeMeco Ryansin the middle of the first-team defense. They were flanked by Trent Coleand Connor Barwin, while the expected defensive line of Fletcher Cox, Bennie Loganand Cedric Thorntonworked up front. Cary Williamsand Bradley Fletcherremained as the first-team cornerbacks while Malcolm Jenkins, the one expected newcomer to the defensive first team, paired with Nate Allenat safety.
- The second-team offense was led by
Mark Sanchez, who looked in rhythm as he continues to learn the offense. The offensive line charged with protecting him was, from left to right, Matt Tobin, Allen Barbre, Julian Vandervelde, Michael Bamiroand Dennis Kelly. Tobin and Bamiro, both rookies last year, continue to cross-train between tackle and guard. Newcomer Andrew Gardner, formerly of the Houston Texans, also worked at right tackle in place of Kelly on occasion.
- Some things change, some things stay the same as
Brandon Boykincontinued to make plays on Thursday, intercepting a Sanchez pass during 7-on7 drills. To be fair to Sanchez, though, wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah, the intended receiver, seemed to slip on the play.
- At one point, free agent acquisition Nolan Carroll made an impressive deflection, rising in the air to bat away a pass intended for Cooper with one hand.
- First-round pick Marcus Smith worked with the third-team defense, though, in a surprise to some, he was working at Barwin's normal left outside linebacker spot, not the right-sided spot normally occupied by Cole. Meanwhile, second-round pick
Jordan Matthewswas absent Thursday for an NFLPA event. He will return for practice next week.
- On special teams, rookie
Jaylen Watkinsimpressed as a gunner in punt coverage, downing a few balls inside the five-yard line. Let the Boykin comparisons continue.
Darren Sprolesled the way for the punt returners. He was also joined by Damaris Johnson, Jeremy Maclinand Cooper.