Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg says that the emphasis isn't exactly something new. "We always emphasize the running game. It starts up front, everything starts up front, and I'm talking about the offensive line. Everything we do starts up front, yet the tight ends and fullbacks are very important. They make a good run game a great one," explained Mornhinweg. After all, Mornhinweg thinks the ground game could be the most important part of the game. "The most important position in the run game is the ball carrier, the half back spot. He has to have the ability to make people miss, has to get the extra 2 or 3 yards in a physical manner."
Since the rules don't allow for contact, Mornhinweg is rational about exactly how much the Eagles can judge by what they see at this time of the year. It's also tough to start preparing for games, but Mornhinweg thinks it's never too early to prepare for divisional opponents. "Without getting too specific, we practice against their fronts and their coverages. We practice some situational periods against what we may very well see against the divisional opponents and then in preparation we go through their roster. Specifically on defense and their depth charts and what they have done, and the changing they have had on the defensive side personnel wise," said Mornhinweg.
So, with the running game on the front burner, what does Mornhinweg think of some of his backs so far?
Thomas Tapeh: "He's in heavy competition for the fullback spot. We are glad to have him back healthy. He looks like he's healthy and looks like he is performing pretty well on the field."
Ryan Moats: "Very good. He is much more comfortable, much less thinking in the play, up to the line of scrimmage. He is a very smart guy. A computer guru and those sort of things, however we ask a tremendous amount of halfbacks in this offense. And so I think he is doing pretty well, very comfortable. He is a very good runner, very good when he's got his hands on the ball, concededly very good in the pass game as well. I would expect him to help us as we go into training camp and the preseason games."
As for the passing game, Mornhinweg is happy with what he's seen in camp. With the competition for roster spots at wide receiver, Mornhinweg isn't sweating knocking out players, since he thinks it will all play out. "Those things tend to filter out in the players themselves. The players themselves tend to make those decisions very clear, and that normally happens in training camp, but as of right now there is a heated battle to receive the spot and we have a pretty good group of very good players that are battling it out. Once again, normally the players make that decision a little bit easier than it looks right now."
Mornhinweg also had thoughts on some of his receivers:
Todd Pinkston: "He looks pretty good. He has been getting some work in individual drills so he looks pretty good. We will see in training camp. We have got to get some guys healthy."
Jeremy Bloom: "He had a minor injury, so when we get him going again we'll see. He has shown some tremendous strengths. It will be exciting once we get to camp with him as well."
TE Matt Schobel: "He is very athletic. He can get down the field, has good hands normally. He's pulled his hamstring and had some spasms as of late, so we are just getting a touch with him being a 100 percent healthy and I think he can help us. I think he can help us in a few different ways."
Mornhinweg also had the following comments on his offensive line:
Shawn Andrews: "He's a guard. He's got the ability to play tackle certainly; there is no question about that. But he is our right guard as we speak."
Winston Justice: "He's got a lot of work ahead of him to do that, to solidify that spot. But, he sure has gotten a lot of reps here with the first team offense because of [William Thomas'] situation. But I will say he has a lot of work to do. We, as an offense, have a lot to do. It's going to be very important starting Day 1 at training camp. These last few days are critical as well. We have a lot of young guys who may end up playing for us on offense. Every day is important, every rep is important."