Eagles Notebook: Eagles' Williams gets day off

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Eagles players take the field for yesterday's public practice at Lincoln Financial Field.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Eagles players take the field for yesterday's public practice at Lincoln Financial Field.
Posted: August 05, 2014

DRAMA HAS BEEN lacking so far at Eagles training camp, so press-box antennae perked right up when reporters realized Cary Williams was standing along the sideline yesterday, far away from teammates and coaches, during a full-squad segment of the Eagles' public session at Lincoln Financial Field.

Alas, Williams was later observed talking to defensive coordinator Bill Davis, Williams pointing to his left leg, and afterward, Williams said nonspecific "soreness" led to him taking most of the day off.

Williams said he had not heard from Eagles coach Chip Kelly, in the wake of Williams calling the New England Patriots "cheaters" and telling reporters he wished the Eagles weren't practicing with the Pats for 3 days next week.

"I'll be back out there as soon as I can. Chip understands I work hard, I try to do everything within the system - today he just gave me a day off," Williams said. "Not a big deal. It's just a part of football."

Asked if his absence had anything to do with what he said about New England, Williams said: "No. No. It had nothing to do with that. I haven't even discussed anything with Chip. I don't think he's shown any type of agreement or disagreement with what I said."

Actually, Kelly spoke to reporters before practice and said he appreciated Williams' input, but he does see value in the joint practices. Told of this, Williams said: "He's a great dude, man. He's a great coach. I love playing for him."

Williams said when he went down the sideline alone, he was envisioning himself taking the reps.

"I wanted to have a mental day, I just didn't want to have a day off," he said.

Kelly brought the Patriots to NovaCare last year for 3 days of practice before a preseason game. Williams was tossed from the first day's practice after a dustup with New England receiver Aaron Dobson. This year, the Eagles will practice in Foxborough, Mass., next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, before the preseason game there Aug. 15.

Yesterday, Kelly said: "The value you get for every single player and every single coach in terms of what we're doing, you get a chance to go against another scheme and another team, I think it's really beneficial, as long as you and the other team are on the same page. I thought it worked out really well for us last year, we had a good understanding of what both teams were trying to get accomplished."

Friday, Williams said he didn't like having to "tip his hand" against a potential opponent, and as a former Baltimore Raven, he didn't like the Patriots, partly because of the Spygate scandal. He noted that New England hasn't won a Super Bowl since its practice of filming other teams' practices was discovered and eliminated.

"I understand where he's coming from," Kelly said. "We do a lot more huddling when we're in those situations, we don't signal as much," to avoid giving anything away.

Kelly did not address what Williams said about cheating.

He noted that the Patriots "get every single film of every game we've ever played" and are not on the Eagles' schedule this year. The only way they could meet would be in the Super Bowl.

Yesterday, Brandon Boykin and Nolan Carroll seemed to be taking the first-team corner reps, ahead of Bradley Fletcher and Curtis Marsh.

Camp sights

* Safety Earl Wolff was back after missing 2 days with knee soreness. Wolff was noncommittal about whether this problem had anything to do with his lingering knee problem last season. He did say he wasn't concerned going forward, but said he needs to be healthy to be effective.

"If I can go, I'll go," he said. "I need that full range of motion, because all I know is one speed . . . I play full speed all the time."

* Wide receivers Riley Cooper and Jeff Maehl remained in their respective walking boots.

* There were several spectacular catches, in front of a crowd the Eagles estimated at just under 25,000. The best might have been on the final play of the day, Brent Celek in the right corner of the end zone, from Nick Foles, over Connor Barwin.

* Chip Kelly said Matthew Tucker is "kind of firmly entrenched in that fourth [running back] spot right now" behind LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles and Chris Polk, though Polk continues to sit with a hamstring problem. "Then it really goes back and forth on a daily basis between [David] Fluellen and [Henry] Josey," Kelly said.

On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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