Chip Kelly had some tricks up his sleeve Saturday for the second day of his inaugural training camp.
It was hard to tell exactly which teams were first, second and third on defense because of mixed personnel pairings that led to extreme guesswork.
In 7-on-7 and full-team drills, it appeared that Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis blended the first-team front seven with the second-team secondary against the first-team offense, and then subbed the second-team front seven and first-team secondary against the second-team offense.
There were other changes, depending on down and distance and base or nickel, but it was clear that Kelly and Davis were mixing it up to give everyone a chance.
One player who seemed to benefit the most was safety David Sims, who lined up alongside safety Kenny Phillips against the first offense. Phillips and Kurt Coleman had been second-team safeties on Friday. This time, Coleman instead ran with the third team alongside Colt Anderson.
“It’s cool,” Sims said. “They’ve got to evaluate all of us. I felt comfortable. I felt real good with the ones, I’m not gonna lie.
“I’m just trying to make my impact, be a leader, be vocal and make sure everyone is on the same page. I think a lot of guys with the front seven [had] seen that I was talking and communicating. That really does lift your confidence.”
The Eagles acquired Sims in a trade with Cleveland last year just before the start of the regular season. Despite all the turmoil in the secondary, especially at safety, Sims started just one game (against the Saints) as an injury replacement for Nate Allen.
He spent most of the spring camps behind Allen, Patrick Chung, Phillips and Coleman on the depth chart.
“When you’re with the threes, it’s like you’re working, but you’ve always got this stress because you’re with the threes,” Sims said. “I ran with the ones today and it was just like that comfort-building every step, and I like that.”
Leaked scoop of the day
Kelly has said the depth chart is “written in sand,” but wideout DeSean Jackson said he’s the No. 1 punt returner. Either D-Jax is misinformed, or he and Kelly will be chatting about media protocol soon.
Catch of the day
Veteran wideout Jason Avant, as he does so often, needed just one hand to cradle and catch a Matt Barkley pass along the left sideline. Coverage by Trevard Lindley was tight, but Avant’s circus catch drew the crowd’s applause.
The Eagles were already down two wideouts before Jeremy Maclin suffered a torn ACL (see story). Both Arrelious Benn (left knee) and B.J. Cunningham (right foot) are day to day. Cornerback Cary Williams, who tweaked his hamstring Friday, also missed practice.
The Eagles signed 29-year-old wide receiver Dave Ball, a former New Hampshire standout who broke Jerry Rice’s Division 1-AA touchdown record. Ball eventually finished with 58 career TD catches, eight more than Rice.
Ball, who spent time on the Bears’ practice squad and was activated for one game with the Jets (but didn’t play), became the 90th man on the Eagles’ roster. He had worked out for the team Friday. An extra spot had become available when the Eagles cut wide receiver Nick Miller to clear room for running back William Powell, who had been claimed off waivers but then released after he flunked the conditioning test.
Quote of the day
“I’m going to try to slide ... someday I’ll get it."
The Eagles will practice in pads for the first time Sunday at their open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. More than 65,000 free tickets were given away for the event. Practice is rain or shine. Click here for information about bags that can be brought into the stadium.