Aug 062010

August 6 Philadelphia Inquirer

“You hear it at the start of every training camp.

So-and-so rededicated himself to football in the off-season and is finally going to put it all together this season.

This year at Eagles camp, Trevor Laws is that guy.

And thus far, the third-year defensive tackle appears to be backing up the talk.

“Trevor is one of the guys that’s had a very good camp so far,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said Thursday. “His quickness and balance seem very, very good. He really bought into [strength and conditioning trainer Barry Rubin’s] off-season program. He worked like crazy, and you’re seeing the results now. I’m happy for him, and obviously it makes us a better team if he continues to play like this.”

The “if he continues to play like this” part of Reid’s quote is the important one. The coach has been down this path before with high draft picks who hang around year after year – because of the team’s investment – never to deliver. (See: defensive ends Victor Abiamiri and Jerome McDougle and linebacker Matt McCoy.)

Often it has been injuries that have kept top prospects from contributing right away. Abiamiri, still on the team, has yet to play a full season since being drafted in the second round in 2007. He is trying to come back from always potentially career-threatening microfracture knee surgery.

Laws, selected in the second round a year after his former Notre Dame roommate, Abiamiri, said he was stunted by hamstring and foot injuries in his first two camps with the Eagles.

“I’m big, strong, fast, and healthy,” Laws said. “It’s the first camp I’ve really been at where I’ve come in full speed, and it’s working for me now.”

Laws is still playing for a spot on the roster, however. Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley are once again the starters at both tackle positions. The Eagles usually carry only four tackles, and three backups – Antonio Dixon, rookie Jeff Owens and Laws – are competing for two spots.

Last season, Laws went from third on the depth chart to inactive on game days when Dixon, an undrafted rookie, supplanted him. He said he didn’t need any hints that the past off-season was make-or-break time.

“You can tell,” Laws said. “When you ain’t out there making plays on the field you know that you need to be doing better, especially when you have confidence in yourself.””

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