Eagles' Herremans a 'full go,' and none too soon

Center Jamaal Jackson (left) and guard Todd Herremans (right) have been missed.
Center Jamaal Jackson (left) and guard Todd Herremans (right) have been missed.
Posted: August 23, 2010

COINCIDENTALLY or not, when the Eagles practiced yesterday for the first time since the first-team offensive line got pushed around Friday night in Cincinnati, Todd Herremans was "full go" at left guard, Andy Reid said, and Jamaal Jackson got at least a handful of snaps in his old spot as the starting center.

Reid said Herremans will play in this Friday's preseason game at Kansas City, but Jackson will not play. Jackson later said that though he has to see how he progresses from here, and it isn't really his call, he'd like to get into the preseason finale, Sept. 2 at home against the New York Jets. If that happens, you would have to think Jackson would be on target for the season opener Sept. 12 against the visiting Green Bay Packers.

"We'll see how it feels tomorrow . . . It felt good getting a couple of snaps out there," Jackson said, after saying he thought he had taken another step in his recovery from end-of-the-season ACL surgery.

"It was good to see 'Jack' out there and it felt good to be back out there with everybody," said Herremans, who has been brought along slowly in this camp after feeling soreness back in the spring, in his surgically repaired left foot.

Herremans was asked what he thinks he brings to a group that particularly struggled inside Friday; inexperienced center Mike McGlynn seemed to have trouble with the blocking calls. Max Jean-Gilles subbed for Herremans.

"Bringing experience on the field, a little bit of leadership, and just an attitude," Herremans said.

Herremans said his foot feels good, that he was able to work out unhindered during his time away from full practice. "We weren't trying to heal anything, we were just trying to make sure it didn't act up," he said.

The Eagles' problems against the Bengals' tough, physical defense started wth three-and-outs in the first two series.

"I think we have a ways to go," right tackle Winston Justice said, when asked how ready the Birds were to open the season. "We need to be more consistent. We had a lot of missed assignments."

Justice was asked if he'd been surprised by the mistakes. "You're always surprised when you make a mistake; that's why it's called a mistake," he said. Justice said he thought Herremans' return would "boost morale."

Right guard Stacy Andrews felt he was able to iron out the things that were problems for him Friday. By the time the season starts, Andrews said, "I'll be locked and loaded."

McGlynn alluded to "one or two mental mistakes," but said: "That stuff's easy to fix . . . The more we play together, the more in tune we'll be."

"They showed us a lot of different fronts," McGlynn said. "Good team to play in the preseason, because they were the No. [4] defense [in the NFL] last year. They have a pretty good defense scheme. Lotta good things to learn from. Get the small things corrected, hit the ground running [at Kansas City]."

On the Eagles' second series, Kevin Kolb handed the ball to LeSean McCoy on third-and-1. By the time McCoy got the handoff, he had no chance of getting the first down; it seemed the Bengal that tight end Brent Celek was trying to block got huge penetration, which roadblocked Andrews' attempt to pull. McCoy took off and leaped over a tangle of players in order to get back to the line. This set the stage for a 1-for-7 effort from the first-team offense on third down.

"Just one of those plays where they got us there," McGlynn said. "Third-and-1 situations, you can't get stopped."

Left tackle Jason Peters said the line "missed a couple calls here and there. We're going to clean that up and get ready for Kansas City."

Asked what the film from Friday told him about the o-line, Reid said what he usually says in situations where he is asked for critical analysis.

"I think, collectively, we can all do better. That's what I think. So that game wasn't about the offensive line. It was about everybody doing a little bit better on the offensive side," Reid said. "That's me and the coaches included."

The Birds took three penalties for o-linemen lining up off the line of scrimmage, two of them on Peters, one negating the only touchdown the first-team offense managed.

"During the preseason they have to call things very close. They pick a problem area, and so this one happened to be the depth of the tackle," Reid said yesterday. "And this has been going on for the last couple of preseasons. They got their point across, the officials did."

Peters said after the game and again yesterday that he needs to pay closer attention to lining up on the center. Typically, tackles try to cheat back a little, to give them more room against pass-rushing defensive ends.

Reid indicated he, too, wouldn't mind Jackson getting in the preseason finale, if he keeps progressing, though Reid said he doesn't necessarily need to see Jackson in a preseason game to know whether he is ready to play in the regular season.

"The most important thing is that he's comfortable with his knee, and that it's strong, and that we feel like he can keep himself out of trouble and function and do the things he needs to be able to do to play in the game," he said.

Yesterday, Jackson "did some good things," Reid said. "Again, it was a 10-10-10 [a shortened workout], but he was able to get out there and move around. We wanted to do some contact, as much as you can do with shells on."

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