Looking Up For Mays

Joe MaysInqy staff writer John Gonzalez has a nice piece out today on Eagles rookie Joe Mays, who has really impressed in camp and made an impact in the two pre-season games. He’s getting plenty of compliments from teammates:

“He’s making plays,” said Gaither, one of the Eagles’ starting linebackers. “You see him in on a lot of plays out there, so I think his progression is going well. He certainly makes it hard for offenses when you have a guy like that who’s strong and who can run and who can hit.”

Mays is currently listed as the backup middle linebacker, though that probably isn’t how it would play out if something happened to Stewart Bradley (Gaither to the middle, Jordan to Gaither’s spot). Nonetheless, Mays looks like a shoe-in to make this team at this point. He be counted on to make plays in special teams, something the Eagles desperately need.

And if the guy brings the kind of energy and passion to the special teams unit that we’ve seen from him this summer he’ll become a favorite in this town.

Eagles Notes

Todd Herremans is starting at left tackle tonight, and he’s going to be seriously tested by Julius Peppers. Peppers is faster than he is strong, so look for Todd to get quickly out of his stance and keep Peppers in front of him.

I’m also going to pay close attention to how Andy Studebaker and Joe Mays perform tonight. In my opinion one of these guys could make the active roster for week one because the coaching staff feels they’ll make an impact on special teams. The other is likely headed to the practice squad.

The Eagles generally kept four or five linebackers on the active roster last season (Gaither, Gocong, Spikes, Bradley, Jordan, Togafau) — it changed a bit as the weeks went on, and obviously Spikes was out by the end of the season.

The team is certain to have Bradley, Gocong, Gaither, and Boiman on the active roster for week one. It’s highly likely that Jordan will be there. That’s five. So Mays and Studebaker have to really impress the staff to be there too.


The Eagles have officially ended their stay at Lehigh University. And they released official attendance numbers for camp:

… from a record 139,123 spectators at 11 practices in 2007 down to 80,227 at 13 practices for which the Eagles announced attendance this year. That is a 42 percent decline overall and a 51 percent decline per session, a shocking drop.

I’ve gotta believe a combination of factors are leading to this. There is, of course, the economy. A trip to Eagles camp could easily cost twice as much as it did last year — and folks already have lighter wallets than usual. No matter what Hoffman claims in that article, it is having an impact.

On top of that, there wasn’t a new “must-see” attraction this year. Asante was a big money signing, but if the Eagles had brought in some sort of high-priced offensive talent they might have been able to mitigate other factors at least a bit.

Eagles Draft Picks: Status Check

With all of the hysteria and analysis that surrounds the lead up to the draft and the aftermath, I don’t want to forget about a single one of these guys as we march towards the start of the regular season. So let’s take a look at where these fellas stand as we inch slowly to September.

Trevor Laws
After an ominous start to camp on the PUP list, Laws was able to recover and actually performed quite nicely in the game against the Steelers (4 tackles and a sack). This guy is clearly going to be in the DT rotation, though he won’t be starting unless there is an injury.

DeSean JacksonDeSean Jackson
Like Laws, Jackson didn’t exactly have the best start to camp. He strained his hamstring and got on Andy Reid’s shit list. There were a couple of articles written questioning his work ethic. But all of that was quickly forgotten when he had quite a performance on Friday. Nothing overwhelming, but Eagles’ fans have every reason to be pleased the speedster constantly open and catching the football. So far, so good.

Bryan Smith
Doesn’t look like he’ll immediately be a factor in the DE rotation, but he was on the special teams units on Friday. He recorded two tackles. Never liked this pick, and I still don’t see how he can be a major factor for the defense at his weight.

Mike McGlynn
Played guard for the third-string offense on Friday and was rather feisty. Gotta believe the coaches like to see that. The official depth chart has him listed as the backup LG, though that is simply a technical requirement of the chart. Jean-Gilles is the first backup guard if Andrews’ can go. But if McGlynn is performing well enough to be second string anything, he’s done well.

Quentin Demps
He’s already solidified a reputation as a big hitter in camp. The guy has the right attitude for the position, that’s for sure. Given the Eagles’ complex coverage and blitz schemes it could be hard for him to move ahead of Considine/Reed on the depth chart by the time the season starts. But by the time the season is over, expect him to be a contributor. Oh, and he’s also making his mark on special teams — something the team desperately needs.

Jack Ikegwuonu
IR. See you in 2009.

Mike Gibson
A solid bet for the practice squad. McGlynn has outperformed him, and the Eagles look like they are going to keep Scott Young around.

Joe Mays
He made plays all over the field on Friday as part of the second/third team defense. The guy looks like a player, and might find his way onto the special teams unit for the opener.

Andy Studebaker
The stories are nice, but this guy is going to be on the practice squad. The Eagles have enough young guys at LB, I don’t see them keeping Studebaker around instead of someone like Boiman.

King Dunlap
Now this guy looks like a find in the seventh round. The coaching staff has been really impressed with him, and he played well at tackle against the Steelers. Reports suggest Herremans would be the “real” backup LT, but that isn’t so much of a slap at Dunlap at this point — the guy is 4 weeks into his career.

In the short term, there isn’t anyone making a push for a starting position. But that doesn’t mean these guys aren’t going to impact the 2008 season — something none of us were sure of at the conclusion of the draft.

Runyan Is Not Pleased

It seems like most Eagles have been asked about “the situation” with Shawn Andrews, and to this point everything has been positive. Well, not anymore. Big Jon is tired of this nonsense:

“It’s not helping us and it’s not helping him sitting out.”

Asked whether Andrews can miss most of training camp and step back in to his right guard spot and start, Runyan said, “Coach Reid isn’t going to let that happen. So I’m not worried about it.”

Runyan is always a refreshing quote, isn’t he? And you’ve got to wonder then if Reid has been making promises to the rest of the O-line in Andrews’ absence, or if Runyan is just speculating.

And in other news… the team may be adding this new wrinkle to the red zone offense:

–Donovan McNabb never has been a big fan of the fade pass, which is why the Eagles don’t throw it much. But he completed two nice fades to wide receiver Hank Baskett and tight end Matt Schobel in 11-on-11 goal line work.

The fade pass has been surpassed in popularity by that “wide receiver pushoff- catch outside of the defender” pass that Randy Moss and TO are so good at. I doubt the Eagles have a receiver capable of executing the move, which requires a high degree of physicality, so I guess the fade may have to do. They don’t have much else working on the outside in the red zone.

Different Brand of Dramatics

There’s no such thing as a calm off-season in Philadelphia anymore (if there ever was). But I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty refreshing for the media to be focused on somebody other than McNabb.

Hamstring issues are spreading like the flu bug? Wow that sucks. But it’s not another story about Donovan’s love-hate relationship with the city.

Shawn Andrews is crazier than a sack of weasels? Well, that long-term contract looks a bit dicier now. But at least I’m not spending my summer consulting WebMD about some part of McNabb’s anatomy.

See, everything is relative. And even though this camp is off to a bit of a bumpy start, I’d take this road most any day.