Eagles Notebook: Media to get the bum's rush at Eagles' practices

RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Vick is sacked by the Panthers' Wes Horton in the second quarter of Thursday's game.
RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Vick is sacked by the Panthers' Wes Horton in the second quarter of Thursday's game.
Posted: August 18, 2013

BEGINNING tomorrow, all of the Eagles' preseason practices at the NovaCare Complex will be closed to the media. But the team will continue to allow about 300 "invited guests" - corporate sponsors and select season ticketholders - full access to workouts through next Friday.

Team president Don Smolenski labeled it an "unintended consequence" of the Eagles' moving their training camp from Lehigh University to NovaCare this summer.

"It only affects five practices, two of which are walk-throughs," he said.

"This is new for all of us. Coach [Chip Kelly] is getting the team ready for the season. This is something that's important to him [closing practice to the media], and I'm respecting that. I'm going to be supportive of it."

The NFL media relations policy states that, after the second preseason game, teams need only open the first 30 minutes of practice to the media, or until the start of the team portion of practice (7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work).

It's not clear why Kelly would have a problem with reporters observing practice, but not with 300 fans. Smolenski acknowledged that the team invited the VIPs to next week's practices before realizing Kelly had closed them to the media. Smolenski said he has not asked Kelly to consider opening the sessions to the media as well.

"I understand your objections," Smolenski said. "We're trying to be as open as we can with the media and do right by you. I want to be respectful to you guys and I want to be respectful to coach. In this case, I'm going to be respectful and supportive to coach."

And the 300 corporate sponsors and select season ticketholders who will attend the five practices.

Never before in their history have the Eagles closed a practice to the media and kept it open to a large group of the fans.

Michael Signora, NFL vice president of football communications, said the Eagles' decision does not violate the league's media relations policy.

He said that while the policy specifies that the media must be allowed access to practices that are open to the public, next week's practices technically aren't open to the public, only to "invited guests of the Eagles."

"Those guests will be permitted to attend the sessions beyond the [30-minute] window for media access," Signora said. "Teams are permitted to invite whoever they would like to attend practice.

"Many teams have offered special practice access to sponsors and season ticketholders as a way to show appreciation - for years, and in many cases, decades - of loyal support."

So, if you want to know how the quarterbacks looked in practice tomorrow, check with someone from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Xfinity or Bud Light.

Postgame thoughts

* You can usually tell a lot about a guy's chances of making a team by the number of snaps he's getting. Not so much with safety Colt Anderson, though. Anderson played only three defensive snaps Thursday against the Carolina Panthers. But he likely will make the team because of his special-teams prowess. Can they afford to keep only four safeties if Anderson is one of them? Especially on a team on which, at the moment, the only obvious keeper at the position is Patrick Chung?

* Tight end Emil Igwenagu had a nice 15-yard catch in the second quarter. Caught a pass from Michael Vick on a crossing route, got drilled by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell, but hung on to the ball. He was hurt on the play and ended up playing only two snaps.

* Vick probably will win the season-opening starting quarterback job. But his refusal/inability to slide on a 14-yard run on the Eagles' second-quarter touchdown drive underscored everyone's belief he's an injury waiting to happen. He dove headfirst on the play. In a preseason game. Can you say concussion or broken collarbone, boys and girls?

* Two guys who I think will make this team: linebackers Jake Knott and Chris McCoy. Three guys I think will not: linebackers Casey Matthews and Jamar Chaney and safety Kenny Phillips.

Did you notice?

* The coverage miscommunication between cornerback Bradley Fletcher and safety Nate Allen on a 23-yard completion to Ted Ginn Jr. on the third play of the game.

* The excellent block by wide receiver Riley Cooper on Nick Foles' 7-yard touchdown run. Cooper, the team's best blocking wideout, locked on to Panthers cornerback Drayton Florence, which allowed Foles to waltz around left end for a score.

* The two read-option plays Foles ran. Cooper lined up wide left and Jason Avant in the left slot. On the first, he faked the handoff to LeSean McCoy, sprinted left and heaved a pass/lateral to Avant that gained 6 yards behind Cooper's block on Florence. On the second, Foles faked the toss to Avant and ran for a 6-yard gain.

* The double-stack formation the Eagles used on their second possession with four tight ends. They lined up James Casey wide left with Zach Ertz flanked behind him. On the right side, they lined up Brent Celek wide with Clay Harbor behind him. Then they handed the ball to McCoy, who took it up the middle for a 5-yard gain.

Quotable

"When things don't go well and when everybody is pointing the finger at you, it can hurt your confidence. You can be one of the best players in the league and sometimes outside sources can maybe waiver your feelings or emotions. I read everything that was said. I lived it. But when I first sat down with coach Kelly, his main concern and goal was to help me get back in tiptop shape and get me to the point where I am comfortable and can believe in myself again. I thank him for that. I thank him for giving me back my confidence."

- Michael Vick

Birdseed

The Eagles have averaged an offensive play every 23.1 seconds in their first two preseason games. Last year under Andy Reid, the offense averaged a play every 26.3 seconds . . . Usually, teams don't play most of their starters in the fourth preseason game. Or if they do, it's for only a series. But there's nothing usual about Chip Kelly. Asked after the game Thursday how he will handle the final preseason game against the Jets, he said, "We haven't gotten to the last game yet. There is some thought process to that. We'll finalize our plan over the next couple of days for what our plan is going to be for the Jacksonville game. Obviously, our ones and twos still need a lot of work. We'll see what we're going to do when we get to the Jets game."


On Twitter: @Pdomo

Blog: eagletarian.com

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