BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- All of the excitement around the new acquisitions is nice, but when I spoke with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid I asked him how concerned he is that neither of his top two wide receivers is practicing yet. DeSean Jackson continues to hold out of training camp in a contract dispute, and Jeremy Maclin is still watching from the sidelines after missing the first five days because of a still-undisclosed illness.
"Well, thank goodness they've played with Michael [Vick] the last couple of years, at least," Reid said. "I understand that's a concern. I'd like them to be here, I can't tell you I wouldn't. Number one, with Jeremy, I want to make sure he goes through all the tests he needs to go through, that's the most important thing. And when DeSean gets here, we coach him. And until he does, we go with what we have. That's how we roll."
It's odd -- and disconcerting -- that no one has said what's wrong with Maclin. The Eagles aren't projecting any worry about not having him for the season, though, and Reid said during a news conference earlier in the day that he expects to have him for the opener. So at this point we'll have to take them at their word on that. Jackson is likely to be in camp as soon as the contract gets worked out. And if he's not in by Tuesday he puts next year's unrestricted free-agent status in jeopardy. So there's a feeling around here that Jackson's situation will get worked out, though the people I've spoken with on the other end indicate it could be more complicated that the team thinks. We'll see. But when they lined up to do punt return drills, it felt as though something pretty important was missing.
Defensive tackle Mike Patterson's return to camp two days after leaving in an ambulance following an on-field seizure was the surprise of the day. There's some thought that he could return to practice soon, though I have to believe that's overly optimistic, considering the frightening nature of the things for which they've been testing him. "You know he wants to play," Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said. "Heck, he would have practiced this afternoon if we would have let him. That's normal, and that's why he's a great player. But as the guy who's got to be responsible for Mike, I have to pull the reigns back on that and make sure we're thorough and we know exactly what we have before we turn him back in there."
Casey Matthews is still lining up at middle linebacker with Jamar Chaney, who played that spot last season when Stewart Bradley got hurt, on the outside. "If you ask me which one I like the best, I like the MIKE," Chaney said. "But it is what it is. I consider myself able to play all three. It doesn't matter. I'm still going to go out and get the job done." I have to think there's still a chance the Eagles bring in a veteran to address this, be it someone for the middle or someone who can play on the strong side and move Chaney back into the middle.
People who want practice observations can know that Sinorice Moss looked great and beat Nnamdi Asomugha on one deep ball, that Asomugha intercepted Vince Young once, that this guy Jason Kelce is sharing first-team reps at center with Jamaal Jackson and that, in general, the Eagles' secondary is dominating the second-string receivers. Oh, and Vick looks fine. I'm not sure how much any or all of that means or matters, but there you have it. I'll have more tomorrow.