The Eagles flirted with the idea of bringing in another tight end to push backup Clay Harbor. They worked out free agent Visanthe Shiancoe on Tuesday, but the 32-year-old vet signed with the Patriots later that day. Jeremy Shockey, another free agent, remained unsigned.
Harbor and Brett Brackett filled in for Celek with the first team for the rest of practice. Undrafted rookie Chase Ford is the fourth tight end in camp.
Lewis not alarmed
It was encouraging for Dion Lewis that the Eagles neither signed a veteran running back nor drafted one in the early rounds of April's draft. The Eagles selected Bryce Brown in the seventh round and signed accomplished college running back Chris Polk as an undrafted rookie, but they did not bring in a clear-cut candidate to take the No. 2 running back reps away from Lewis early in camp.
"I'm here to compete," Lewis said. "I'm confident in my ability, and competition brings the best out of us."
Like all Eagles rookies who were hindered in 2011 by the lockout, Lewis said he benefited from a full offseason to continue learning the system and his surroundings. He played 15 games in 2012, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Lewis was the third-string running back behind LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown, but he has the opportunity to cement himself as McCoy's backup with a strong training camp and preseason.
What would seem to be working against Lewis is his size. He's listed at 5-foot-8 and 195 pounds, which makes him smaller than the other running backs on the roster. But when running backs coach Ted Williams spoke about Lewis earlier in the week, Williams compared Lewis' toughness to that of another diminutive Eagles rusher: Brian Westbrook.
"People think because I'm small I can't run inside or between the tackles," Lewis said. "But I'm strong for a shorter guy. I just need to use my strength."
One thing that likely won't work against Lewis was a charge for pulling an alarm at an Albany, N.Y., hotel earlier this month. The charge will be dropped in six months if Lewis avoids trouble.
"It's in the past right now," Lewis said.
Landri over Dixon
When the Eagles announced Sunday that Mike Patterson would miss all of camp, coach Andy Reid was asked who would take the defensive tackle's starting position.
The coach said that a number of players would be considered, but fourth-year defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was the only one he named.
When the team held its full-squad practice Thursday, however, it was Derek Landri who played most of the snaps with the first team. Dixon did rotate in with the defensive line's second unit, but Landri clearly has the early nod.
Top draft pick Fletcher Cox will get an opportunity to win that spot. Coach Jim Washburn rotates his defensive tackles, and who starts can sometimes depend upon matchups. But Landri, Dixon, and Cox are certainly gunning for the starting position opposite Cullen Jenkins.
Contact Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.