Putting Bethlehem in rear-view mirror

DeSean Jackson shakes a fan's hand as the Eagles walk along the fence and thank supporters on the last day of training camp at Lehigh. Preseason practices will resume Thursday at the NovaCare Complex.
DeSean Jackson shakes a fan's hand as the Eagles walk along the fence and thank supporters on the last day of training camp at Lehigh. Preseason practices will resume Thursday at the NovaCare Complex. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 16, 2012

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Rookies and selected veterans arrived here July 22 for the Eagles' 17th summer at Lehigh University. After 35 practices over 24 days, training camp concluded Tuesday afternoon, and a caravan of expensive cars raced down the Northeast Extension toward Philadelphia.

After a scheduled day off Wednesday, the Eagles will resume practice Thursday at the NovaCare Complex.

"It's also been a good camp just from a camaraderie standpoint," coach Andy Reid said. "Bringing a team together, I think, is very important in the National Football League, and so it's good from that standpoint."

Reid thanked Lehigh University - from the school president to those who prepare food for the team - for their hospitality during the three weeks of camp. The team personally thanked many of the fans who came to practice Tuesday by lining up along the perimeter of the practice field and shaking hands.

Those fans came despite uncertainty about the weather. The Eagles were sequestered in the field house during their morning walk-through, just the second time during this camp that inclement weather had forced the team indoors.

They hoped that the rain would clear in the afternoon so fans could have one more chance to see practice. The sun started to peek through after lunch, and the Eagles conducted a workout before leaving Lehigh.

2011 vs. 2012

It has become popular during this camp to compare the underachieving 2011 Eagles with this year's edition. On the final day at Lehigh this year, Reid feels more comfortable with his team than he did at this point last season. The reason is the continuity. With so many moving parts last season, the Eagles broke camp with much unsettled.

"This isn't an excuse, so I don't want it to be taken that way, because everybody had to deal with this," Reid said. "But you knew you were going to be teaching old dogs new tricks and doing it like right now. There was no lead-up, there was no walk-and-then-you-run-type deal. So it was OK, here we go."

The Eagles had a better understanding of the rules, and their rookie and free-agent acquisitions spent an offseason with the team. That made for practices that were more fluid than last year's.

Play of the day

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks displayed his athleticism when he made an interception on a screen pass in the flat, and tight end Brett Brackett hauled in a noteworthy one-handed catch.

Quote of the day

With their game Monday, the Eagles start a stretch of three games in 11 days. During the preseason, they play two teams they will see in the first five weeks of the regular season. It's not an ideal schedule - and not the schedule Reid would have wanted.

"In the NFL as in life, you're dealt with things that you've got to kind of work, so that's what you do," Reid said. "That's what we've been given, and we go with it. But I can tell you that's not probably the way I would have gone about it."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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