Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Eagles sign Kafka's top receiver

       Kafka didn't look for
 Brewer here.
The Eagles signed Andrew Brewer to replace wide receiver Ron Johnson, who dislocated and fractured an ankle Monday.

Johnson was waived-injured. The USC product had surgery Tuesday to put the ankle that popped badly out of line back into place.

Brewer (6-3, 215) played two seasons in the United Football League with the Omaha Nighthawks, where he was acquired by Rick Mueller, now in player personnel with the Eagles.

At Northwestern Brewer switched from quarterback to wide receiver finishing with 76 receptions for 1,118 yards and nine touchdowns.

In 2009 Brewer set a school single-season record averaging 16.2 yards per catch with 57 receptions for 925 yards. Brewer caught nine of Kafka''s 16 touchdown passes that year.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Injured Johnson, Eagles tried to put severely dislocated ankle back in socket

Eagles injury list growing.
Ron Johnson’s season is over after the scrappy wide receiver’s left foot caught in the grass, snapping the ankle out of the socket and possibly fracturing the joint Monday.

It occurred in a seven-on-seven drill which, at the worst could be the last for the gritty guy from Southern Cal who spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad.

The ankle turned so far that Johnson attempted  to put it back in place.

"It wouldn't stay in," Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said. "And then we tried to put it back in and it wouldn't stay, either.

“He was in a lot of pain. It was an ugly sight. That’s one of those things where if you see it on TV they tell you to turn your back. But it’s a pretty straightforward injury. Fracture-dislocations happen in trauma and these docs are the best at fixing them. It looks bad when it happens but the results can turn out pretty well.”

Johnson will become the second wide receiver to undergo surgery in a matter of days, joining Riley Cooper, who had his left collarbone repaired Monday. The rest of the injury news is OK. After an MRI, Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin (strained calf) could miss only a week.

Before Johnson's misfortune the Eagles worked out wide receiver Travis Cobb (Arizona).

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Bell hints that Vick holds ball too long

'1, 2, 3...4, 5, 6...'
One of the more interesting observations with respect to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is his unconventional style.

Demetress Bell, the new left offensive tackle, made it clear Monday that Vick is anything but your classic pocket quarterback.

"You’ve just got to go block for five or six seconds and know that he’s going to get it out," Bell said. "You just can’t drop back for three seconds and expect it to be gone.”

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Lewis 'has earned role' as McCoy's backup

Dion Lewis didn't want to talk about the fire alarm he and his brother set off, resulting in their arrests. Charges later were dropped against Lewis, who Monday wanted his statement to stand and to move on.

And that's what he's doing.

Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, in his strongest comments to date, stated after practice Monday that Lewis had all but locked up the backup running back job behind LeSean McCoy.

Big Marty also blamed himself for not using Lewis more in 2011, when McCoy rushed for 17 touchdowns and caught three scoring passes to earn a berth in the Pro Bowl.

"Always wanted to go into a game using him just a little bit more," Mornhinweg said of Lewis. "Then you get into a game and every game is important, and LeSean was so good last year, it was hard to take LeSean out. And it will still be hard to take LeSean out. But certainly we would like to play the other fellows just a little bit more.

"And Dion has earned that role up to date. He's got a little hard work left."

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Spencer reveals the real Bissinger

People's Champ
Anyone who knows me understands I wasn't the biggest fan of the late Joe Paterno. Covering his team in 2003, his worst season ever, showed me a side of the guy a lot of others wouldn't  believe.

But that's not what this blog is about.

Let it go, Buzz.
It's now politically correct to bash Penn State for anything. Reading this piece by Gil Spencer, it appears Buzz Bissinger is every bit the egomaniac and control freak he accused Paterno of being. Bissinger's responses are an insight into who he really is. I'm glad Spencer shared this. Oh, and here's a kind of, sort of defense for Bissinger.

By the way, if Spencer and Bissinger ever do settle this somewhere, I'll take the People's Champion over the Pulitzer Prize winner by TKO.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six weeks, maybe longer for Riley Cooper

Running out of receivers.
Life goes on for the Eagles without wide receiver Riley Cooper, who Andy Reid says is out at least six weeks with a fractured left collarbone.

But with tight end Brent Celek (sprained MCL) also idled, another injury to the receiver corps would put Reid and the front office on edge.

Cooper (6-2, 222) had a firm grasp of the offense and special teams. He also had good speed for a big receiver. Rookie Marvin McNutt (6-3, 216) is similarly built not nearly as fast and obviously has a lot to learn about the offense. It takes at least a couple of years to get it down except in the case of DeSean Jackson, who had it after one year.

If Jackson, Jeremy Maclin or Jason Avant get hurt there's not much out there in free agency other than veteran Plaxico Burress. Last year the Birds offered him a one-year pact during their free agency spending spree. Now Burress is on the cusp of being 34 years old.

Celek is getting better, per Reid, although the coach wouldn't offer a timetable for the veteran's return.

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Some Joe Banner to go with your coffee

Does he stay?
Howard Eskin's tweet that Joe Banner could be part of the ownership team taking over the Cleveland Browns ignited a lot of speculation up here at Lehigh U.

With ormer Eagles president Banner part of the Jim Haslam III  group purchasing the Browns, which of Banner's charges would remain with the Eagles, and which would go? Which segment of Browns management would remain intact?

Former Eagles general manager Tom Heckert is in that role with the Browns. Pat Shurmur, once an Eagles assistant, is head coach of the Browns.

Would Howie Roseman join Banner in Cleveland? Don Smolenski? Andy Reid?

Banner is vacationing in Massachusetts according to a club source.

This drama has a long way to go.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cooper, Babin out indefinitely with injuries

Jason Babin celebrating...in healthier times.
Defensive end Jason Babin, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon and wide receiver Riley Cooper all were shaken up at practice Saturday.

Cooper is out indefinitely with what the Eagles are calling a fractured left collarbone, landing hard  after getting tangled with defender Curtis Marsh.

"I think it's a bump in the road," general manager Howie Roseman said. "He'll recover from it. He's had a good offseason. Because he's had that offseason he's gotten a lot of reps and gotten stronger and got more knowledge of our system. And that will benefit him when he's ready to come back."

Roseman contends he doesn't have enough information to determine if it's a season-ender.

Babin strained his right calf in one-on-one pass rushing drills against the offensive line. He's scheduled for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test Sunday morning.

Dixon limped off with heat cramps.

All were carted off the field.

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DRC 'killing it' at training camp

Big season means big bucks for DRC.
Back on the island where he's most comfortable, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie quietly is having the best offseason of any Eagles defensive player.

If it translates into the season, look for the 26-year-old Rodgers-Cromartie, who intercepted 13 passes in three seasons before moving inside last year to cover slot receivers, to get a happy meal from the Eagles.

The 6-2 veteran in the last year of his contract. If Rodgers-Cromartie's work translates into the type of season the Eagles have in store (and remember, Nnamdi Asomugha is on the other side and the line coach likes the pass rush), he's looking at a megabucks extension. The franchise figure for cornerbacks this season was $10.6 million. Multiply that by five years and, well, it would put a smile on DRC's face.

"You think about it but then again you don’t think about it," Rodgers-Cromartie said Saturday. "Because you know at the end of the day if you don’t perform, you know how it is. At the end of the day it kinds of put that pressure on you to make you want to go out and do better. But you want to do that anyway. So, it’s going to be a good year for everybody."

Follow @BobGrotz on Twitter.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

DJax vomits at practice

 The heat is a lot more tolerable here.
Now we know how DeSean Jackson feels about flipping the training camp practice schedule.

Jackson heaved during the Friday afternoon practice, the effects of the heat according to 10NBC.

The star wide receiver was upright  and cleaned-up by the end if practice.

Citing the CBA, Andy Reid determined it best to have the more rigorous practice in the afternoon rather the morning this season. The walkthrough is in the morning. In past camps the reverse was true.

Obviously the hotter part of the day is in the afternoon. The morning practice Friday lasted less than 90 minutes. The afternoon session went 2-hours, 45-minutes.

If players continue to have issues tolerating it, Reid is going to be second-guessed. Right now it's safe to say some players and employees working the camp are anything but fans of the change.

Follow @BobGrotz on Twitter.

Graham to prove he's not a first-round bust

Too small, too slow, first-round bust or whatever.

Brandon Graham says he's leaner, stronger and meaner than at any time in his life. And the defensive end hopes to prove just that when the hitting begins Saturday. Hard to believe he emerged from camp in 2010 as the rookie starter, until you factor in the knee surgery.

"We’ll see when them pads get on," Graham said Friday. "It’s always a different beast when the pads get on. And I think I’m ready, I think I’ve prepared myself.

"We’ll see tomorrow if everything paid off."

Graham says he's dropped from 290 pounds to 270. There's a video of him on YouTube bench pressing 500 pounds. Says he's going to hit the field "With a big old chip" on his shoulder.

"Anything I can go get I’m going to go get it," Graham said. "I’m going to let the coaches decide which spot they feel I can be in."

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