Eagles OTA Notes: Edwards, Maclin, Highlights


Eagles OTA Notes: Edwards, Maclin, Highlights

OK, lets be honest. Trent Edwards looked awful last week.

Think Pat Ryan in 1991. Think Bobby Hoying in 1998. Yeah, that bad.

The former Bills starter, who was out of football last year, struggled terribly throwing the football in his first set of OTAs back in the NFL. He has been significantly better this week but not consistent enough.

And he knows it.

There are times when I understand where Im going with the ball and my footwork feels good, and then on the very next rep, thats not the case, he said after the Eagles Thursday OTA practice at the NovaCare Complex.

I dont know when that will be, and I wish I had an answer. I do feel like the mechanics here are enforced, which they should be at the quarterback position, and they are enforced here way more than what I have been through before. Im just trying to tweak some things and have made some progress, but I have a long way to go.

Edwards is a career 60 percent passer. In 2008, he completed 66 percent of his passes, sixth-highest in the NFL.

So its not like he cant throw a football.

He just cant throw a football very well right now.

I was just talking to one of the rookies out here and he was saying how with the routes he ran in college, he did those for four years and thats all he knew, Edwards said. Now, to be coached and taught differently as a receiver, its tough. I told him, Welcome to the NFL. You have to get used to it.

Theres going to be a new playbook every couple of years. Its a new language, and you just have to focus on what they have going forward. Theres going to be ups and downs, but I need to keep progressing and keep moving in the right direction.

Edwards knows hes a long shot to stick on the final roster. Michael Vick, Mike Kafka and Nick Foles are the likely QBs, and Edwards is just trying to resuscitate his career and get some positive film at this point.

Im happy to be here with the Eagles, he said. The quarterback position here always seems to succeed no matter who is out there, whether its Donovan McNabb, Mike Vick, Kevin Kolb they flourish in this system.

There are weapons everywhere and its just a matter of me doing my job, improving, and hopefully getting to where I need to be.
Maclin's fine
Jeremy Maclin tweaked his right ankle and took a couple snaps off to get it stretched out and taped up by trainer Rick Burkholder but didnt miss a rep and said its no big deal, just a little bit sore.

Maclin seemed fine running patterns after he got taped. He was cutting and running with no apparent effects from the (non)-injury.

Im fine, he said later. I was able to finish practice. Ill get some ice on it and be back out here on Friday.

Play of the Day
Chad Hall laid out to make a sweet diving catch of a 20-yard out on the left sideline just in front of Nnamdi Asomugha on a pass from Edwards.

Play of the Day II
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie batted a Michael Vick pass up in the air and then ran about five yards to snag the ball before it hit the ground and ran the other way for a touchdown.

Play of the Day III
A Mike Kafka pass was batted up in the air by linebacker Mychal Kendricks, then batted in the air again by tight end Brett Brackett before Jason Avant reached behind him, juggled the ball and then caught it, then ran untouched down the field for a big gain.

Play of the Day IV
Dion Lewis was running with the football when Darryl Tapp ran behind him and punched the ball out. The ball sailed high into the waiting arms of Brandon Graham, who began running the opposite way.

The Bryce is right
Rookie seventh-round pick Bryce Brown continues to look polished and smooth in the receiving game. Its tough to see him wearing No. 34 with Brown on his jersey and not think of Ronnie Brown, but so far Brown has been impressive. And hasnt tried to lateral yet.

Hey, I remember you
Steve Kaufusi, a defensive lineman with the Eagles in 1989 and 1990, was at practice Thursday. Kaufusi, a 12th-round draft pick out of BYU in 1988, played all 32 games for the Eagles in 1989 and 1990.

Say what?
Somebody walking down Broad Street near the practice fields shouted this during practice Thursday: Lets go, McNabb. Really.

Whats next
Eagles practice again Friday and then Monday through Thursday next week. The off-season sessions conclude with a full-team minicamp June 12-14.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com.

Odubel Herrera flips Phillies into winners over Tigers before big trip to Wrigley Field


Odubel Herrera flips Phillies into winners over Tigers before big trip to Wrigley Field


DETROIT — At least Odubel Herrera was honest about it.

“I didn’t expect to hit it that far,” he said with a big grin on his face late Wednesday afternoon.

A couple of hours earlier, Herrera helped key an 8-5 Phillies’ win over the Detroit Tigers with a towering three-run home run into the right-field seats against Anibal Sanchez (see Instant Replay).

Herrera unloaded on the hanging slider and finished with his bat high.

As the bat reached its apex, Herrera didn’t just let it go. He flipped it in the air as if to say, ‘Uh-huh, I crushed that one.’ In the annals of bat flips, it wasn’t quite Jose Bautista quality, but it wasn’t far off. The flip was so dramatic that Herrera admitted after the game that he would not have been surprised if a Tigers pitcher had retaliated and stuck a pitch in his ribs later in the game.

Retribution never came. And Herrera left Detroit with a smile on his face and yet another big day for the Phillies. He is leading the club with a .327 batting average and his .440 on-base percentage is second-best in baseball.

Herrera's big home run helped make a winner out of Aaron Nola and the Phillies on a day when they really needed a win. After all, they had lost four of their previous five and are headed into the den of baseball’s best team, the Chicago Cubs, on Friday.

“For me, it was a must-win,” said manager Pete Mackanin, whose club is 26-21. “We’d lost four of five and I felt like we needed to come out of here with a win.

“The guys battled the whole game. To me it looked like they played like they had to win this game, which was nice to see. It looked like they played knowing we had to win. They were grinding and coming up with hits. Call it what you want, it was just the feeling I got.

“I’m not going to say I’m anxious to see the Cubs; they’re a hell of a team. But I’m hopeful we can take two out of three.”

The Tigers are one of baseball’s best hitting teams.

The Phillies are one of the worst. They entered the day scoring just 3.2 runs per game.

But on this day, the Phillies out-hit the Tigers, 12-10, to salvage one game in the series.

Nola went six innings, allowed four runs, a walk and struck out six. He left with a 7-4 lead. Things got hairy in the seventh, but Hector Neris cleaned up things for David Hernandez, and Jeanmar Gomez registered his majors-leading 17th save.

In between, Peter Bourjos had a couple of big hits, including his first homer of the season. Andres Blanco started at second over Cesar Hernandez and had a couple of big hits, as well. Bourjos and Blanco even hooked up on a double steal with Blanco becoming the first Phillie to swipe home since Chase Utley in 2009. (An off-line throw to second by Tigers catcher James McCann helped.) 

“We have to try things,” Mackanin said. “We can’t bang it out with most teams so we have to try that kind of stuff, take chances.”

The Phillies actually banged it on this day.

Bourjos’ homer in the seventh provided some valuable cushion.

There are no cheap homers in spacious Comerica Park. Bourjos’ homer traveled 401 feet according to ESPN’s play by play.

Though Bourjos claimed he did not see Herrera’s bat flip in fifth inning, he was aware of it. For the record, Bourjos did not flip his bat on his homer. He put his head down and ran.

“I don’t have that kind of swag,” he said with a laugh.

Bat flips make some folks, particularly old-schoolers, uncomfortable. Bautista’s famous bat flip against Texas in the playoffs last season led to simmering tensions all winter and eventually a brawl between the two teams two weeks ago.

Mackanin actually seemed a little uncomfortable talking about Herrera’s flip.

“I did not see it,” Mackanin said. “A lot of players believe that they should be able to celebrate. But I didn’t see it. I wish you never brought it up.”

Herrera explained that he always flips his bat, even when he makes outs. This one had a little extra oomph, he said, because, "I didn’t expect to hit it that far.”

And how far did he hit it?

Well, ESPN’s play by play said it traveled 409 feet. MLB’s Statcast said it went 427.

Either way, that’s a long Uber ride.

Herrera was asked what was more impressive, the flip or the homer?

“Both,” he said with a laugh.

Herrera has become a more demonstrative player in his second year in the league. He’s letting his emotions show. On Monday night, frustration over a poor at-bat got the best of him. He did not run out a ball back to the pitcher and was benched.

On Wednesday, his emotion was more triumphant, hence the bat flip. But sometimes that can make an opponent angry. There were no repercussions Wednesday and probably won’t be because the Tigers and Phillies don’t see each other again this season. But down the road?

“I’m not worried,” Mackanin said.

“It was nothing personal,” Herrera said. “It was natural.”

Maikel Franco says ankle injury is mild, vows to play Friday


Maikel Franco says ankle injury is mild, vows to play Friday

DETROIT — The Phillies have an off day Thursday.
It will come in handy for Maikel Franco.
The third baseman suffered what was termed a sprained right ankle while sliding into second base in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday. He hobbled off the field before the start of the bottom of the inning.
After the game, both Franco and manager Pete Mackanin stressed that the sprain was mild.
Franco received treatment after coming out of the game and he will again on the off day. Mackanin said he would exercise caution in determining Franco’s availability for Friday afternoon, but did not rule out playing Franco.
Franco was adamant. He’s playing.
“It’s a little bit sore, but it’s fine,” he said. “It already feels better. I’ll be ready for Friday. With the day off, I know I’ll be OK.”
If Franco can’t play, Mackanin would insert super-sub Andres Blanco into the lineup. He had two hits, including an RBI double, and scored two runs in Wednesday’s win over the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
Franco had a pair of singles and is 7 for 15 in his last four games.

Frank Reich: Sam Bradford won't be handed Eagles' starting job


Frank Reich: Sam Bradford won't be handed Eagles' starting job

After the Eagles drafted quarterback Carson Wentz, head coach Doug Pederson declared that Sam Bradford was still the No. 1 quarterback.

Pederson reiterated it when a scowling Bradford chose to skip some voluntary workouts and did so again after Bradford returned to the team.

But Pederson's assistants haven't been so clear.

On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz discussed the topic when asked how he brought along QB Matt Stafford — the first overall pick in 2009 — while serving as head coach of the Detroit Lions. 

"Don't judge him on somebody else, and then also don't predetermine the results of the race," Schwartz said. "Just let him go play. Don't put pressure on him."

At the moment, it certainly seems like the results of the race are predetermined. It's Bradford, Chase Daniel and Wentz ... right? 

On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Frank Reich was on 94-WIP and was asked by Angelo Cataldi about the "impression" that Bradford is the No. 1 QB and there isn't an open competition. 

“No, I would actually say that’s probably not the right impression. I'll tell you why,” Reich said. “I’ve been around this business a long time as a player and as a coach, and one of the things I’ve really come to appreciate is it’s not a contradiction to say that you’ve got to have order. Because if you don’t order it’s chaos. 

"So if you’re the head coach you, gotta come in and you’ve gotta establish order. There has to be organization, there has to be order, but the other thing that, as coaches, that you’ve got to establish is a culture of competition. I mean this is one of the most competitive industries in the world — and so, to say that there’s not competition, that’s just the furthest thing from the truth.

“So I don’t see the problem with creating order and competition at the same time, personally. Every one of us as a coach and a player, you’re working harder to get better, but in that process you have to establish order, and things have a way of working themselves out.”

So there has to be a order — hence Pederson's QB depth chart — but there also has to be competition.

In other words, there is a depth chart, but it's written in pencil. And a big eraser is nearby.

Let the saga continue.

Training camp is still two months away.