As the Eagles return from their first off day of camp, here are some thoughts on the first three days of practice:
• Do brief tussles in a training camp put players in the right frame of mind?
On Sunday, LeSean McCoy and Trent Cole briefly went at it. Then on Monday near the end of practice, Bradley Fletcher and Jeremy Maclin got into it. Offensive players don’t appreciate being roughed up during plays, but defensive players seem to love the extracurricular activity -- especially this defense, which feels it has a lot to prove.
Cornerback Cary Williams said he feels it sets an attitude -- a defense should not back down and be aggressive. Even though Chip Kelly frowns on fights at practice, stay tuned because Williams promised us that his turn is coming.
• Speaking of Maclin, so far so good in terms of how he's gone through practices. Maclin has been getting and out of his breaks on passing routes like the Maclin of old. Without a doubt he's one of the more closely watched players in camp, and everybody's hoping we don’t see a repeat of what happened to him in 2013.
• Right now Nate Allen has been lining up as one of the starting safeties, but how long will he be able to hold off Earl Wolff? Both had solid OTAs and minicamps, and from what I'm told Wolff is not that far behind Allen.
• So far Malcolm Jenkins is everything the Eagles' coaching staff hoped he would be and more. Jenkins has been making suggestions on slightly altering some defensive alignments, and the coaching staff has been very receptive (see story). Jenkins, who has played five years in the league, is working under his fourth coordinator and has a wealth of knowledge to share. Coaches say he's already emerged as a leader in the locker room and the meeting rooms.
• Damaris Johnson is in a fight for his life to hold on to a roster spot. On Monday he dropped the ball on a kickoff return, and with running back/return man Darren Sproles here, every mistake Johnson makes is costly. In reality, no matter what he does his future in Philadelphia doesn’t look good, because Sproles can do everything he does, and then some.