On the next-to-last day of training camp, tempers flare at practice

Ed Kracz

One of the concerns about Andre Dillard during the pre-draft process was that he could be too nice.

You can forget about that label after Dillard was a one-man wrecking crew during Monday’s practice. Dillard reportedly de-cleated safety Johnathan Cyprien on a screen play, knocking the veteran safety on his rear end. Cyprien wasn’t happy and rose to his feet looking to make his feelings known with his fists. Before he could get started, cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon held him back.

Later, Dillard and Derek Barnett got into a shoving match while they were on the ground. Several Eagles players joined the fray, but mostly, according to reports, to separate the combatants.

VIDEO: Treyvon Hester talks about his kick blocking ability

After practice, coach Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman spent some time talking on the practice field then were joined by Dillard, who spent several minutes talking to Pederson. Some reports said that Dillard got emotional during the conversation with his coach.

Barnett also came over and shook hands with Dillard.

It was supposed to be a laid back sort of practice – a 10-10-10 day – after a weekend of full pads and plenty of thuds.

That wasn’t the case, though.

“We’ve been pushing and pulling on each other for almost three weeks now,” safety Malcolm Jenkins told reporters. “It was bound to happen at some point.”

The Eagles have only training camp practice remaining and that will happen on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday they will fly to Jacksonville for their second preseason game on Thursday night against the Jaguars.

Next Monday and Tuesday, the Baltimore Ravens and Eagles will practice against each other as they get set to play one another in the third preseason game.

Select fans will be able to watch the practices, as will the media. Based on what happened Monday, things could get very interesting next week.

Block machine

If Treyvon Hester finds a way onto the roster – no easy feat at defensive tackle, where Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Timmy Jernigan already have three spots locked down – it will because he has a particular set of skills that are hard to come by in the NFL. Those skills are his ability to block kicks.

He got a fingernail on Cody Parkey’s playoff miss that may have led to the double-doink and in last Thursday’s preseason opener, he blocked a PAT.

“Ain’t no real secret,” said Hester, “just following the strategies that the coaches give to us, putting in the hard work and giving it your all out there. It’s just effort and attitude, you just gotta want to.”

Hester gave the Eagles some solid snaps last year when their defensive line was hit hard by injury, but he is battling with Hassan Ridgeway, Bruce Hector and undrafted free agent Kevin Wilkins for perhaps two jobs.

“Just have to continue to be consistent,” sad Hester, who attended Penn Hills High in Western PA before going to Toledo. “Go out there with the right attitude, give effort all the time. The best is still yet to come, so whatever happens, happens. Just give it my all and let people see that No. 90 is going to come to play.”

Foles influence

Cody Kessler spent nearly a month with Nick Foles in Jacksonville, after the Jaguars signed the former Eagles Super Bowl MVP and before they cut Kessler.

“Those three or four weeks I was with him, I really clung to him and followed him around and listened to the things he said, took notes, and really paid attenti’on to it,” said Kessler, who will see plenty of action in Jacksonville on Thursday night; Foles won’t. “A guy who’s had his ups and downs in this league, as a lot of us do, but, yeah, he’s been amazing. His faith and relationship with the Lord is something that is inspiring to me, too.

“He’s really talked me through the whole transition from Jacksonville to even before I knew I was coming here. He was one of the first ones to call me that day that it happened. He talked me thru everything then when he found out I was coming here he was excited for me. He’s definitely someone I look up to and excited to see again.”