Eagles Notes: Eagles' Hunt finds himself behind a pack of experienced defensive ends

Phillip Hunt (76) fights past Jason Peters in his quest to make the Eagles at defensive end.
Phillip Hunt (76) fights past Jason Peters in his quest to make the Eagles at defensive end. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 15, 2011

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Phillip Hunt bull-rushed through Evan Mathis.

Later in a one-on-one drill Sunday, Hunt used a swim move to get around Mathis, a guard playing out of position at right tackle due to injuries on the line.

Hunt has shown flashes of speed and pass-rushing talent this training camp after racking up a league-best 16 sacks in the Canadian Football League last year.

But Hunt is also behind much more heralded and experienced defensive ends on the Eagles depth chart: Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Juqua Parker, and Darryl Tapp.

That leaves Hunt and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim on the roster bubble heading into the final weeks before cuts.

Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said he has been impressed with each man.

"What you see is that they want a job - the hunger, the desire, the energy, the fight - which is what we all want to be about," Castillo said.

Hunt, who played at the University of Houston, said his time in the pass-happy CFL prepared him to rush quarterbacks, a critical skill under defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

"He teaches aggression on every play. He wants you coming off fast with intensity," Hunt said. "He's not really worried about mistakes as long as you come off the ball hard and fast . . . and play like a dog."

Castillo praised Hunt's speed.

"If you can run and they can't catch you, it's hard for them to block you," Castillo said. "I think that's the key with Phillip."

He described Te'o-Nesheim as "a good kid, a hard worker, big heart."

A third-round pick last season, Te'o-Nesheim didn't make an impact as a rookie. On Sunday he said he's still learning to rush from the edge, since he did most of his pass rushing in college as a tackle. He admitted being disappointed in his rookie year, when he played in just six games.

"You never want to be inactive and watch," he said. "But it's a learning experience, and I'm still glad to be here and just trying to make the 53 and contribute in any way."

Jack back

Center Jamaal Jackson was back at practice and delivering snaps with the first-team offense Sunday after sitting out Saturday's practice with what coach Andy Reid described as knee soreness.

Jackson, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament late in 2009 and missed almost all of the 2010 season with a torn triceps, has named staying healthy his top goal of training camp. He is locked into a camp battle with rookie Jason Kelce, a sixth-round draft choice.

Jackson declined to speak to reporters on both Saturday and Sunday.

Harris still out

Right tackle Ryan Harris did not practice, missing his second consecutive day with lower-back spasms.

With Winston Justice unable to practice so far, Harris has been the best right tackle in training camp. He missed time in 2009 and 2010 due to toe and ankle injuries, though, and had back surgeries in both 2006 (for a herniated disk) and 2007 (to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve in his spinal cord).

Harris declined an interview request.

"Not 'til I'm back on the field," Harris said.

Injuries

Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon sat out practice with lower-back spasms, according to the team, and linebacker Greg Lloyd, a seventh-round draft pick, has a high-ankle sprain.

Defensive tackle Trevor Laws (hip flexor), Parker (calf), and running back Derrick Locke (shoulder) were also out. Safety Jamar Wall (hamstring) was added to the injury list but participated.

Jeremy Maclin is still absent from the team. If he is not ready to start the season he cannot be placed on the physically pnable to perform list because his ailment is not football-related. He can, however, go on the non-football injury list, which would save the Eagles a roster spot.

Justice, Brandon Graham, and wide receiver Steve Smith are still on the PUP list, and defensive tackle Mike Patterson continues rehabbing.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214, jtamari@phillynews.com, or @JonathanTamari on Twitter.

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