Eagles Training Camp Notebook: McNabb's Targets Are Dwindling
UPDATE 3:20 PM -- Eagles coach Andy Reid just informed us that rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram has a torn ACL in his left knee. This likely means Ingram is done for the season, though Reid said he was just getting the news and didn't even know when Ingram would be having surgery. "Obviously it's a shame for the kid," Reid said. "He's a great kid and he was doing some good things. He was working his way in. He was a factor."
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Everybody's mood was light on this postcard-perfect morning, but Donovan McNabb's was downright goofy. He chattered, he giggled, he joked as he slid around in the pocket and fired passes in the vague direction of various receivers. He bantered with fans who razzed him about not stopping to sign autographs. The Eagles' quarterback was as happy as anybody on the practice fields at Lehigh.
The question is, with receiving options dropping all around him, why?
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was dazzling in the early part of practice and has been, by all accounts, one of the stars of this Eagles camp, left the field with a hyperextended knee. Rookie tight end Cornelius Ingram, whom Eagles coaches have called one of the most polished players in camp, had an MRI done on his knee and missed practice for the second time this week. McNabb is surrounded by question marks in advance of one of the most important seasons of his career, and with each training camp injury those question marks mount.
"No problems," Jackson said after practice was over, and I guess it's possible he could be back out there tomorrow morning. But with the Eagles' first preseason game set for Thursday against New England, they'd like to have some of these injury questions answered pretty soon. Running back Brian Westbook continues to do light post-practice running only as he rehabs his ankle. Offensive lineman Jason Peters, Stacy Andrews and Shawn Andrews remain in various states of recovery from various injuries and have yet to engage in full-contact practice.
Either Donovan McNabb knows something we don't know (like, that these injuries are all minor and will be fixed by the start of the season), or he's real happy about those new contract terms of his.
· First-round draft pick Jeremy Maclin could benefit if Jackson has to miss time. The former Missouri wideout could see more snaps with the first team than he otherwise would have, and it could help him make up for time lost to his delayed contract signing. Regardless, Maclin (who was a star kick returner in college) will get plenty of work on special teams.
"I think the game this week will help him," Eagles special teams coordinator Ted Daisher said. "He needs to get in a game, get in a live situation where people are running down the field toward him. I think he's going to do fine."
Maclin didn't seem overly concerned about the differences between returning kicks in college and doing the same in the NFL.
"I'm pretty sure guys are coming down a little faster, but what it all comes down to is you've still got to trust your instincts and make your moves," Maclin said. "This is all part of my dream, so of course I'm looking forward to it."
· One of the bright spots amid the offensive injuries is rookie RB LeSean McCoy, who is impressing everybody.
"He's a man," safety Quintin Mikell said. "He may be a rookie, but he plays like a man already."
McCoy has looked impressive running with the first team in Westbrook's absence, and the Eagles' coaching staff loves his ability as a receiver out of the backfield. But it's his willingness to block that has really impressed his veteran teammates.
· Kicker David Akers drew the biggest cheers of the morning from the 6,000-plus fans in attendance when he boomed a 60-yard field goal in special teams drills.
"We try to set up situations to challenge him every day," said Daisher, who thinks Akers could still kick a 55- or 56-yarder in a game if needed.
· I spent time talking with new Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who has the unenviable task of succeeding the beloved and recently deceased Jim Johnson. My story on McDermott will appear on this site Sunday morning.
· From here I drive west to Harrisburg, Pa., where I'll flop for the night before heading to Westminster, Md., for Baltimore Ravens camp Sunday. Will update you from there tomorrow evening before the Hall of Fame game grabs your attention.