Postcard from camp: Eagles
Eagles are worried about AWOL guard Andrews
Booker has inside track to become No. 2 RB
Rookie returner Jackson can't stay on the field
SI.com has dispatched 10 writers to report on the 32 NFL training camps across the country. For the complete schedule of postcards, click here.
Setting the Scene
On the hilly (no, mountainous) campus of Lehigh University, an hour north of Philly in Bethlehem, Pa., for Eagles camp. It's a broiler here, 90 degrees with what feels like 95 percent humidity for the afternoon practice of a two-a-day deal. It was so oppressive Tuesday morning, though slightly cooler, that disoriented defensive end Chris Clemons was whisked off in an ambulance after the workout with what appeared to be dehydration. (He returned to camp Tuesday night, fine.)
This is always a good spot to gauge fan reaction in what's always an enthusiastic, bleachers-filled environment. "Love you Brian!'' one fan yelled to Brian Westbrook this morning after he caught a long ball from Donovan McNabb. Followed by "Can I have your autograph?!''
1. Donovan McNabb is throwing the ball well and looks like he's not remotely ready to cede his spot to Kevin Kolb. Kolb, the second-round quarterback pick from Houston last year, worked with the second group this morning, as he has been doing; Andy Reid isn't handing him the starting job, but because he knows A.J. Feeley is a competent backup, he wants to give Kolb the bulk of the work with the twos.
McNabb is entrenched as the starter here and will not be challenged for the starting job unless he gets hurt again, which, of course, is always possible. This is his 10th season. He turns 32 this year. He has missed two, six, seven, one, zero, and six games due to injury in the past six seasons, so it's no lock he'll make it through 16 games.
2. Shawn Andrews is AWOL. Andrews, one of the best guards in football, is at home in Little Rock, Ark., and his absence is worrying the Eagles, who are fining him $15,000 a day. This is not a contract holdout, I've been assured. It has to do with personal problems and Andrews' mental state, I'm told.
In his absence, backup Max Jean-Gilles is getting all the work with the first team offensive line. The Eagles don't seem concerned about Andrews playing the season, but when he'll be back has cast a small pall over camp every day. "Shawn will be back,'' McNabb said today. "We've been playing phone tag, missing each other, but [he left me a message and] assured me things will be fine and he'll be back.''
3. The Eagles are still in search of a defensive end to be a force opposite Trent Cole. Bad day for that today. Bright young prospect Victor Abiamiri, the second-year end from Notre Dame, had wrist surgery and the team said he likely would be out four months. Sounds like an IR case to me. And with Clemons getting carted off, who knows if he'll be set back. Clemons was a situational rusher in Oakland mostly, and Philly needs him to step up to more of a regular presence.
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