1) Anybody whos already dismissed Casey Matthews and is blabbering that hell never be a productive starting NFL linebacker is jumping the gun big-time. Its way too early to make any long-term pronouncements about a kid who hasnt even played the equivalent of one full NFL game yet. In reality, Matthews is 3 12 weeks into his first NFL preseason, and he was put in a position in Pittsburgh where he had no chance to succeed. Not saying hell ever be a star. Not even saying hell be ready on Sept. 11. Its just way too early to write the kid off.
2) Somebody is going to have to convince me that the Eagles best offensive line isnt (left to right): Jason Peters -> Evan Mathis -> Jamaal Jackson -> Danny Watkins -> Todd Herremans.
3) Jason Kelce really is having an outstanding camp and looks like a terrific young interior lineman. But opening the season in two domes and two of the loudest stadiums in the NFL Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis and the Georgia Dome in Atlanta its almost impossible to imagine the Eagles starting two rookies next to each other on the O-line. Gotta be Jamaal at center.
3.5) DeSean Jacksons next drop will be his first of the preseason.
4) With everything else going on, its almost an afterthought, but at some point in the next few weeks, the Eagles will have a wide receiver in uniform who caught 107 passes two years ago. Yep, nobodys even talking about Steve Smith, but he was third among all NFC receivers in 2009 with 1,220 receiving yards (behind Miles Austin and Sidney Rice). Add him to the DeSean Maclin Smith Avant Celek Shady Ronnie Brown lineup and how are defenses going to stop Michael Vick?
5) All the speculation that swarmed around Jeremy Maclins mystery illness was sickening. The ridiculous rumors that people inexplicably perpetuated on message boards, Facebook and Twitter were needless and hurtful. I got more than 50 emails asking me what was really going on with Maclin. Did you really think the entire Philly media was lying when we wrote repeatedly that doctors still werent sure exactly what was going on? And that I was going to reveal the truth in an email to a fan who happens to have his fantasy draft coming up? Why the obsession with Maclins illness? Being curious or concerned is fine. Posting all over social media that Maclin has some terminal disease when you really have no idea is irresponsible, childish and hurtful. This wasnt a knee or ankle injury Maclin suffered on the football field. It was a private, personal matter. Why couldnt people understand and respect that?
6) I keep thinking, Derek Landri? Really? And then he makes another play. Hes making it tough for the Eagles to cut him.
7) Juqua Parker is due to earn 3.5 million this year and Darryl Tapp 2.575 million. I just cant see both making the team at over 6 million combined. With Trent Cole at 3.9 million and Jason Babin at 6.5 million, that would be 16.475 million in 2011 pay for four DEs. Not going to happen. Tapp has had a better (and healthier) preseason than Parker, and no matter how many times I put together my 53-man roster, JP is the odd man out. Parkers 3.5 million would fit nicely into the DeSean Jackson Fund.
8) I really dont know what to expect from Babin this year. If he finished with 4 12 sacks, I wouldnt be shocked. But if he recorded 17 I wouldnt be shocked, either.
9) The Eagles have had one guy with more than 13 sacks in the last 18 years Hugh Douglas with 15 in 2000. They could have two this year.
10) OK, heres a weird stat that means absolutely nothing: The Eagles are 6-26 in their last 32 preseason road games.
11) My top 20 Kinks songs: 1. Days, 2. Waterloo Sunset, 3. Death of a Clown, 4. Plastic Man, 5. Dedicated Follower of Fashion, 6. Sunny Afternoon, 7. Better Things, 8. Till the End of the Day, 9. Victoria, 10. Well Respected Man, 11. Tired of Waiting, 12. This is Where I Belong, 13. Mindless Child of Motherhood, 14. Shangri-La, 15. Dead End Street, 16. Superman, 17. Living on a Thin Line, 18. Apeman, 19. Autumn Almanac, 20. Father Christmas.
12) Back when Buddy was coaching, all the writers would always fall in love with whatever quick little tailback he brought in as a camp body. You guys love them itty-bitty backs that come out of the backfield, look pretty, run around, get killed. No, if you played running back for Buddy Ryan you had to block first (and in many cases, thats all his running backs could do). That came to mind lately watching 5-foot-8 Dion Lewis blowing people up in blitz pickup drills. The kid is little but hes a beast. I want to see a lot more of him.
13) Eagles moved from West Chester to Lehigh in 1996. Thats 16 training camps in Bethlehem. Ive covered every practice, every day, every year. Based on an average of 23 days per camp, Ive been at Lehigh 368 days. That makes me a Lehigh ... junior?
14) I dont think Andy Reid minded that 14-0 first-half shellacking in Pittsburgh one bit. Bring the guys back down to Earth a little bit. When you think about it a hastily assembled team with a new coaching staff and as many as 11 new starters on the road in the home of a 12-win team that brought back its offense and defense virtually intact from the Super Bowl that lopsided first half shouldnt be surprising at all.
15) That said, if the Eagles look just as lousy against the Browns Thursday night at the Linc, Id be very concerned going into the opener in St. Louis. To the point where Id play the starters a couple series against the Jets.
16) LeSean McCoy last year became only the 10th player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 75 passes in a season. If he does it again, hell become only the fourth player ever with consecutive 1,000-yard, 75-catch seasons. The first three? Brian Westbrook (2006, 2007), LaDainian Tomlinson (2002, 2003) and Marshall Faulk (1998-2001).
17) Last time the Phillies were swept in a series of three games or more? A year ago this week. Aug. 23-26, 2010, against the Astros. Since then, theyve played 51 series of at least three games. And were swept in none.
18) Are you tired of me raving about cornerback Brandon Hughes yet? Hell be on somebodys roster this year.
19) Colt McCoys preseason stats going into Thursday night: 19 for 28 (68 percent) for 231 yards, with four TDs, no INTs and a 132.6 passer rating. Will be an interesting matchup with the Eagles secondary.
20) The Eagles first defense wasnt as bad against the run in Pittsburgh as a lot of people made it out to be. Other than some bad gap responsibility on one Isaac Redman run for 16 yards, they were actually pretty good. Rashard Mendenhall and Redman combined for 54 rushing yards on 14 carries, including the 16-yarder. Thats 3.9 yards a pop. Not a disaster. And that was without Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws, three of the Eagles key defensive tackles.
21) They have to trade Joselio Hanson, right? Say, to the Panthers for a conditional sixth-round pick that becomes a fifth-round pick based on playing time?
22) If the Eagles were thinking of yanking Matthews and moving Jamar Chaney back to middle linebacker, where he played so well at the end of last year, wouldnt they have given Chaney some reps inside at training camp? He didnt get any. Not one.
23) Take a moment and watch Kurt Coleman on the sideline. He never stops talking football with his teammates and coaches. You can tell a kid knows his stuff when the veterans come up to him asking questions.
24) If Im the coach and Vick gets banged up, Im putting Mike Kafka in the game.
25) Wish we had Twitter back in the late 1980s, early 1990s. Would have been a blast tweeting all the antics of Buddy, Jerome, Reggie, Clyde, Seth, Andre, Wes, Randall and Eric Allen. Lets see if this fits into 140 characters: Did LB Dwayne Jiles report to minicamp out of shape? Buddy just told the writers, He looks like a big, fat washroom woman.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org