25 things to ponder as the Eagles pack for camp

Posted: July 20, 2012

ALL INDICATIONS are that this has to be the year Andy Reid reaches the mountain top. The first steps of that journey will be taken under the burning sun at Lehigh University when the first practice takes place on Monday.

Here then are 25 things to consider as the Birds resume their pursuit of a Vince Lombardi trophy:

1 Michael Vick has played 16 games only once in nine seasons and he turned 32 on June 26. It has been pointed out that this was the first year as the Eagles starting quarterback Vick had access to the NovaCare Complex in the offseason. It's anybody's guess whether that will mean anything.

2 Second-round pick Vinny Curry grew up an Eagles fan in Neptune, N.J., and called meeting Brian Dawkins one of the greatest moments of his life.

3 The Eagles ended 2011 with a four-game winning streak, their longest run since winning five to close out the 2006 season. It didn't translate into anything as they went 8-8 in 2007.

4 Chris Polk left Washington as the Pac-12's seventh all-time leading rusher. Charles White, Marcus Allen and LaMichael James are among the league's running back royalty who are ahead of him. Polk, however, went undrafted because he twice needed left shoulder surgery while in college, though he didn't miss a game last year.

5 Can you name the nine Eagles who have played in at least 100 NFL games? Hints: Jason Peters is one of the two offensive players. Six play defense and one is mostly a special teamer. Answer is below.

6 Third-round pick Nick Foles left Michigan State for Arizona in 2008 when MSU's depth chart got too crowded. Among those ahead of him was Kirk Cousins, who was drafted by Washington 14 spots after the Eagles took Foles.

7 Foles attended the same high school in suburban Austin, Texas, as Drew Brees.

8 Wide receiver Marvin McNutt, a sixth-round pick, began his career at Iowa as a quarterback and could be a versatile weapon if he develops.

9 Remember, Andy Reid switched the schedule so that the afternoon practices will feature the live action. There are 14 such sessions, which all begin at 2:45. Bring sunblock.

10 Demetress Bell is expected to fill the void created by All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters' devastating right Achilles' injury.

11 "I don't anticipate changing the entire offense because we don't have Jason Peters," said o-line coach Howard Mudd. "Will some of the things be less spectacular? Probably. But I'm going to say it again β€” we can win games with Demetress. We're going to win games with Demetress Bell." Buffalo was 4-2 in games Bell started last year and 2-8 when he didn't.

12 Second-year center Jason Kelce is going to make the protection calls at the line of scrimmage. If this works out, it will alleviate a burden for Michael Vick, who did it last year.

13 This is a huge camp for safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, a second-round pick out of Temple last year who readily admits playing too hesitantly in 2011. For camp-goers, Jarrett wears No. 26.

14 Monday, July 30 marks the 1-year anniversary of Vince Young's "dream team" proclamation. He may have been a disaster as a backup quarterback, but he did give us that.

15 Tampa Bay (-16) was the only team with a worse turnover margin than the Eagles' -14 last year.

16 Wide receiver Tiger Jones is the first Soul player ever to be invited to an Eagles training camp. Sean Scott played with the Soul after his time with the Birds. Jones is a longshot to make the roster, but a longshot is better than no shot.

17 The nine Eagles who have played in at least 100 NFL games are Nnamdi Asomugha (138), Jon Dorenbos (124), Michael Vick (111), Mike Patterson (110), Cullen Jenkins (109), Trent Cole (108), Jason Peters (107), Joselio Hanson (104), O.J. Atogwe (101). Jason Babin has appeared in 98.

18 The Eagles play a preseason game on Monday, Aug. 20 at New England and are right back at it the following Friday (Aug. 25) at Cleveland.

19 Jeremiah Trotter is the only true linebacker to make it to the Pro Bowl during the Andy Reid era. (Ike Reese played in the 2005 game, but his selection was for his excellence on special teams.) Maybe DeMeco Ryans, a two-time Pro Bowler in Houston, will change this.

20 The Eagles' starting linebackers for the final game last year were Brian Rolle (weakside), Jamar Chaney (middle) and Akeem Jordan (strongside). The projected starters this year are Rolle/Chaney (weakside), DeMeco Ryans (middle) and rookie Mychal Kendricks (strongside).

21 Mychal Kendricks (5-11, 239) ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in 4.47 seconds, the fastest of any linebacker.

22 Alex Henery enters the season with a streak of 16 consecutive made field goals. He made 88.9 percent of his FGAs (24-for-27), which set an NFL record for rookies and broke David Akers' 2002 team mark of 88.2 (30-for-34).

23 LeSean McCoy's 3,026 rushing yards are the most ever for an Eagle in his first three seasons. Wilbert Montgomery (2,915) had held the mark.

24 The word that kept popping up to describe Fletcher Cox's play at Mississippi State was disruptive. Cox, a second-teamer, was the only Bulldog to make all-conference in the rugged SEC.

25 ”He's a really soft-spoken, shy, country guy,” defensive line coach Jim Washburn said just after the Eagles drafted Fletcher Cox. "I took him out to eat, we talked about deer huntin' for about the first 2 hours, spent about 15 minutes on football."

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