A Day at Eagles Camp

I think it’s been a while since I wrote about a sport other than baseball, but as a friendly reminder, I do enjoy other sports. Football is one. About a week ago, I put my love for the NY Football Giants on mute for a few hours when I went to Eagles training camp at Lehigh University, right around the corner from where I live. Despite having been on the campus of SUNY-Albany for Giants camp and Hofstra for Jets camp back when I was looking at colleges, I didn’t get the opportunity to hang around and watch practice, so this was really my first foray into training camp football.

My first impression was that it’s a pretty damn commercial experience. In order to get into the area where camp was being held, I had to walk past about a dozen vendors hawking anything from credit cards (Eagles, of course) to a Dunkin Donuts vendor handing out coolata samples (which was nice since it was 90 degrees that day). I half expected Billy Mays (RIP) to come out from behind a table and ask me if I wanted to buy some mighty putty. After “vendor row” fans were hoarded into the gift tent to buy Eagles souvenirs. As a Giants fan, it was easy for me to walk right through this huge tent without even blinking. On the other side of the tent were three fields. When I first walked in, the defense was on the big field right in front of me. The other two fields were off to the right. The offense was on one and special teams on the other. I think I saw the Eagles punter kick about 10 balls that afternoon, while spending the rest of his time sitting on the ground. No wonder other plays always consider kickers and punters second class citizens.

I went over to watch the offense first. I always respected Donovan McNabb as a player, so it was fun to watch him. First round pick Jeremy Maclin had yet to sign, so I missed him, but did get to see second rounder LeSean McCoy, the pride of Pitt. McCoy looked pretty good the whole afternoon, actually, so the Eagles have a lot to be excited about with him. It didn’t take too long, though, for me to realize that this was actually practice, so technically, we were all watching drills. Fun. Initially, there was no contact and Donovan was throwing balls to an open receiver… and then the fans applauded on cue like they were in the studio audience for a sit-com and the “Applause” light turned on. I completely forgot about this, but Hank Baskett (you know, the guy who married Kendra the Playmate) was on the Eagles. I think you forget how many people are actually on a football team until you watch a team that isn’t your favorite and have a hard time finding names you know. I could name a bunch of Giants role players, but I struggled at Eagles camp.

After spending some time with the offense, an airhorn sounded and the players all moved over to the big field where they practiced some down situations with both the offense and defense on the field. This was pretty fun to watch. They players weren’t wearing pads, so there was no contact, but it was still a pretty cool experience watching them play from about 20 feet away. These guys are huge – and really good. I thought the D looked great for the Eagles and the O left a bit to be desired, except McCoy. There were a couple big plays for the O, but the D really stole the show, picking McNabb and the other quarterbacks several times. Oh yeah, the punter got some work in, too.

The airhorn sounded and the players retreated to some building nearby (maybe the locker room). On the way out, the credit card vendor tried to get me to sign up for one of his Eagles cards, but I told him I was a Giants fan and he gave me this confused look.

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