Maclin enjoys challenge of facing Revis in practice

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jeremy Maclin walks off the field after practicing against the Patriots.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jeremy Maclin walks off the field after practicing against the Patriots.
Posted: August 14, 2014

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Throughout the early stages of Eagles training camp, Jeremy Maclin has probably grown accustomed to seeing No. 24 lined up opposite him. But yesterday, instead of teammate Bradley Fletcher, it was a veteran clad in nautical blue and widely regarded as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, if not the best.

For nearly all of his reps during the 11-on-11 portion of the first of three scheduled joint practices with the Patriots, Maclin matched up against Darrelle Revis. Not a bad test for the Eagles' top wide receiver, coming off a season missed because of a torn ACL.

And unlike many other No. 1 wideouts since 2007, Maclin didn't find himself swallowed up by "Revis Island." He actually beat him on one deep ball, but then again, it is worth remembering that this is merely practice. The most encouraging thing for Eagles fans is that Maclin continues to look good running routes out there on the field, even against arguably the best opposition the game can offer.

"He was on my side the whole time," Maclin said of Revis. "We had some pretty good battles today. It was pretty fun."

Revis, who missed nearly all of the 2012 season to an ACL injury, didn't offer much of an assessment of Maclin - "He's out there, so, obviously, he's out there for a reason and he's out there to play," he said - but the five-time Pro Bowler did note he finds it beneficial to compete against new faces during training camp.

Revis, like Maclin, is playing on a 1-year contract, though a second year was added, for salary-cap purposes. The Patriots signed him in March for a reported $12 million after Tampa Bay released him and his $16 million salary. The 29-year-old from Aliquippa, Pa., will enter the 2014 season with 21 career interceptions in 95 regular-season starts. The Eagles also saw him last season when they defeated the Buccaneers in Week 6.

"Just trying to work the kinks out," he said. "It's a new team. Last week, we played against the Redskins [also in a joint training-camp setting], so we're just trying to get acclimated. Today's the first day. We'll watch the film and make the corrections and move forward."

Before practice, Revis reconnected briefly with former Jets teammates, now with the Eagles, in Mark Sanchez and Brad Smith. On the field, he again encountered fellow Pitt product LeSean McCoy. Shady and Revis didn't overlap in college but certainly know each other.

"He broke one out and I told him I'd track him down," Revis said with a smile. "That might've been a footrace because he's so fast. He's a Pitt [product] and we went to the same school, so it's good to see him."

Though the thousands of fans gathered around the practice fields next to Gillette Stadium didn't get to witness a McCoy-Revis showdown, one of the highlights of the afternoon did involve Revis, and it came at the expense of the perennial All-Pro.

A down after connecting with Nick Foles on a wide receiver screen, Maclin beat Revis on a post route and hauled in a 40-yard strike for a touchdown. It must be noted that, for whatever reason, Revis was not running full speed for the latter portion of the play. A veteran managing his reps, perhaps.

"I've been doing this for a while," Revis said when asked whether that was the case. "Sometimes you do that and sometimes you don't. It depends on how everything's going. But like I said, they're reps. Even though I'm not maybe running that fast, or whatever, they're reps and I know what I need to do during that play."

Later in practice, Foles and Maclin almost connected again for a touchdown, this time in the back corner of the end zone. Revis won that battle.

"[Maclin] looked good," Patriots safety Duron Harmon said. "I watched him in their last preseason game [against the Bears], and it looks like he came and he's been flying, man. He looks really, really good running the vertical routes. I'm just happy for him for his health that he's back and able to compete again."

And what about that post route against Revis?

"I don't know, man," Harmon said, laughing. "I think I was in on that play and I just turned around and saw the ball in the air. I'm not too sure, but, I mean, if you get behind Revis, hey, good job.

"Good job."

On Twitter: @jakemkaplan

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