23 observations from Eagles training camp

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23 observations from Eagles training camp
By: REUBEN FRANK Burlington County Times

1. The Eagles’ offseason MVP? How about new strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin, who got 80 players physically prepared enough for a grueling 3 ½-week camp that — as Marty Mornhinweg put it — they weren’t in survival mode, they were fit enough and prepared enough to be sharp and focused and get in all the work they needed. Rubin has already made a big difference.

2. Kelley Washington will block a punt before the bye week.

3. The Eagles’ record for passing yards in a season is 3,916, set two years ago by Donovan McNabb. If Kevin Kolb starts 16 games, that record is going down. Stone-cold lock.

4. Mike Bell has only played 37 of a possible 64 games in four years as a pro and has been hurt most of this preseason. I fear he won’t be able to stay healthy enough to be a significant factor this fall.

5. The more comfortable Mike Kafka got in the offense, the stronger his arm looked.

6. Ernie Sims scares me. The only big plays he’s made have been cheap shots. Not sure about this guy.

7. Secondary coach Mike Zordich will be an NFL defensive coordinator in the next five years.

8. A ridiculous 10 rookies could make the 53-man roster — Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Trevard Lindley, Mike Kafka, Clay Harbor, Riley Cooper and undrafted Austin Howard are locks; and Keenan Clayton, Jamar Chaney, Jeff Owens and Kurt Coleman have a good shot. Of the 13 draft picks, only Ricky Sapp and Charles Scott look like long shots to make the 53, although Sapp could wind up on IR and Scott on the practice squad.

9. Nobody on this team or in this organization ever talks about Donovan McNabb.

10. Across the street from the practice fields — which is actually across the border in Lower Saucon Township — are some new condos lining Mountain Drive South. A sign in front of the condos says, “From the low millions.” From the low millions? Seriously? Condos from the low millions?

11. I’m trying to remember a missed tackle from a live period. I can’t remember one. That’s a good sign.

12. Quintin Mikell looks like a different guy this year. Thank Nate Allen for that. Last year, “Q” was trying to do his job and the other safety’s job at the same time — Quintin Demps, Macho Harris or Sean Jones. This year, thanks to Allen’s rapid advancement, Mikell can just be himself. It’s made a huge difference.

13. The five toughest Eagles: 1. Brent Celek, 2. Eldra Buckley, 3. Trent Cole, 4. Leonard Weaver, 5. Kurt Coleman.

14. Anybody know when Darryl Tapp is scheduled to report to Lehigh?

15. Eagles have never had two 1,000-yard receivers in a season. They will have two this year. At least two.

16. Sean McDermott is respected by every defensive player on the team. That was not the case a year ago.

17. The five best interviews on the Eagles: 1. Quintin Mikell, 2. Ellis Hobbs, 3. Michael Vick, 4. Jamaal Jackson, 5. Kevin Kolb.

18. Cornelius Ingram, a guy everybody around the Eagles is rooting for, has to do something positive in the next couple weeks or his inspirational story could have a disappointing ending here.

19. Bobby April is seriously out of his mind. In a good way. You get the feeling this guy will get everything possible out of his special teams crew. Last time you felt that way was when John Harbaugh was here.

20. Whatever happened to Jack Ikegwuonu?

21. Jeremy Maclin looks like a stud. Last year, he looked like a really good college senior. He’s gotten bigger and stronger and seems ready to explode. If you take Maclin’s numbers from his last 13 games of his rookie season and project them over a full season, you have 70 catches for 1,076 yards. He just turned 22. Watch out.

22. Andy Reid will run the ball a bit more this year. Eagles running backs averaged 18.8 carries per game in 2009. That number will rise to just over 20 this year.

23. David Akers is as good as ever. He’ll be his usual 31-for-36 this year.

P-Dub: Bengals tonight. I will have to fight with some Phillies diehards to get to turn it on tonight - where I'm going. I will win this fight. Yes - I love the Phillies. But I am an Iggles nut. Somewhere, somehow, the NFL has me programmed.