By Ed Benkin

LEHIGH, PA (CBS) – The hitting is underway at training camp for the Eagles.

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Saturday afternoon’s practice was the first for the team in pads with live hitting. This year, Andy Reid has decided to move the hitting portion of camp from the morning to the afternoon sessions.

For players such as Offensive Lineman Evan Mathis, the hitting is simply another step in the process of preparing for the season.

“Laying the foundation mentally is the first step,” said Mathis. “Being able to do it very slow is the second step, then the third step would be doing it without pads at full speed. Now, we’re in pads at full speed. You work your way up to it.”

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Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie expects the offensive players to present a physical challenge now that the pads have come on.

“Everybody on that side of the ball loves to compete,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “Anytime, no matter if it’s DeSean (Jackson), Riley (Cooper), or even Chad Hall, they’ll be ready at any given point. I like it.”

It was an important day for defensive end Brandon Graham, who was excited to resume contact drills after suffering through two injury-riddled seasons.

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“It’s a real big day,” said Graham. “It’s a real test for me and I’m hyped. I’m excited for it.”