Michael Lewis doesn't need spies in Tampa Bay, New England, Buffalo, Washington, nor anywhere else.
The Philadelphia Eagles' second-year strong safety knows the Buccaneers, Patriots, Bills, Redskins and probably every team after them on the Birds' 2003 schedule, already have his number circled.
''I think teams will try to come my way because I'm the one who isn't All-Pro,'' Lewis said.
Not only is Lewis the only member of the Eagles' projected starting secondary who does not have ''Pro Bowl'' listed on his resume, he also is the member of the secondary who has started only four NFL games.
But that doesn't seem to bother anybody in the Eagles' training camp at Lehigh University, where the defensive unit also is working with two new linebackers and auditioning replacements for Hugh Douglas as the pass-rush leader.
''The thing I've seen is his confidence level getting higher and higher,'' perennial Pro Bowl free safety Brian Dawkins said. ''He'll make the plays. We'll lean on him a little more this year.''
The Eagles liked Lewis when they picked him out of Colorado in the second round (58th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. Then they liked his play on special teams early in 2002.
And they liked him a lot more after he filled in as the starting strong safety the final four weeks of the regular season while veteran Blaine Bishop who was released last winter was sidelined by a groin injury.
Lewis made 12 tackles and hurried a pass in his starting debut at Seattle, and continued to play well against Washington, Dallas and the New York Giants. He had seven tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the latter game.
''He's a smart kid,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ''He's making all the calls back there and he's a very intense player. He will knock you out if he's given the opportunity. You saw that in the New York game when he and Jeremy [Shockey, the Giants' tight end] hit each other. That was quite a shot.''
Although the Eagles said all the right things and thanked the 5-11, 203-pound Bishop for his one year of service when they were parting ways, they clearly like the hard hitting they expect to get from the 6-1, 211-pound Lewis.
''He's a very good attacker, a very physical player,'' Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. ''He's a very productive player. When he had a chance, he made a lot of plays. I think the biggest thing he's got to get better at is his coverage ability, especially deep coverage. He's a good 'box safety' . He comes up and he's a very physical guy.''
Lewis is a self-described, knowledge-seeking ''sponge'' in training camp, watching and working with Dawkins and cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor.
''They are just so competitive, and they're always working on their skills,'' Lewis said. ''When you're around that, it makes you want to work hard to be as good as them.
''I couldn't have had a better situation, coming in as a rookie and starting four games. I needed those four games. Now, I'm relaxed and I can just go out there and play. Those four games were just a great experience. I felt I got better, but there's always something to work on. I was just fortunate to step in there because of Blaine's injuries and to get the experience.''
Eagles don't consider Lewis a weak link
They expect the second-year DB to hold his own this year.
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