New Eagles mesh in first practice
Philadelphia’s much touted free-agent class didn’t waste any time Friday.
On the field for the first time, new Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha quickly served notice, intercepting new backup quarterback Vince Young.
”It was good to get an interception on the first day,” said Asomugha, the former Oakland Raider who signed a five-year, $60 million deal last week. ”You don’t know if you have your technique down, it’s been so long. That felt good.”
Joining Asomugha and Young, signed as backup to Michael Vick, on the field Friday were running back Ronnie Brown, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive linemen Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins. The free agents weren’t able to practice until players ratified the new CBA late Thursday afternoon.
Much of the excitement on Friday was watching the new Eagles secondary – Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel – mesh.
Both Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie played in the slot position for parts of practice, with Samuel remaining in his usual spot at left cornerback.
”They did have me do a lot of different roles today,” Asomugha said. ”Everyone is talking to me, it seems, so I’m just trying to figure it all out.”
Reid said Asomugha, who played mostly in man-to-man coverage with the Raiders, would adjust to his new role.
”(Raiders owner) Al Davis loves man coverage. He drafts players that play man coverage, and (Asomugha) was the best in the business at it,” Reid said. ”But now he’s going to be exposed to all these different coverages, and he welcomes that.”
Samuel was his usual loquacious self, baiting Philadelphia wide receivers coach David Culley after several failed passes in one-on-one drills against the secondary and mocking the offense for trying a trick play after an incompletion by Michael Vick out of the wildcat formation.
Vick was excited to see the new secondary together
”It’s fun; you get to challenge yourself every day,” he said. ”You have three great corners. If you practice against the best, you’ll ultimately become the best, and that’s what I’m striving for.”
Sounding like the anti-Allen Iverson, Vick went on to say how much he enjoyed practice.
”Every rep counts, every practice counts and I enjoy practicing just as much as I enjoy playing,” he said. ”You’re going to hear coaches screaming and you might take a verbal tongue-lashing, but that’s what it’s about. That’s how you become better, how you become great and that’s football.”
Of course, it helps when you’re surrounded by so much talent.
Young looked sharp and, other than the interception, was on target with his throws.
”I try to help him each and every day,” Vick said. ”He has to learn on the fly. The best practice and preparation you can get is actually being out on the field and seeing it and doing it and being active. He’ll get more reps now, and he’ll get to go through the preseason. It’ll come.”
Notes: Philadelphia continued to practice without its top two wideouts, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Maclin, who watched Friday’s practice from the sideline, is out with an undisclosed illness. Reid gave no timetable for Maclin’s return but expects him to be ready for the season. . Defensive tackles Trevor Laws (hip) and Antonio Dixon (knee) sat out of Friday’s practice. Defensive end Trent Cole left practice after experiencing cramps. Reid also reported injuries to linebacker Greg Lloyd (ankle), and defensive backs Jorrick Calvin (shoulder), Brandon Hughes (hamstring) and Marlin Jackson (groin).