BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Eagles' first practice in Minnesota was held Wednesday without pads, and head coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles won't be padding up at all this week.
“We’re in the last week of the season,” Pederson said. “And if they don’t know how to hit by now, you know?"
Practice is closed to the media other than a league-designated pool reporter, who watched practice and filed a report that is issued by the NFL.
The Eagles arrived in Minnesota on Sunday but didn't begin their practice week until Wednesday — their usual first day of practice. It followed three days of media obligations.
The team practiced indoors Wednesday at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex on the campus of the University of Minnesota, about 12 miles from their hotel.
The Eagles practiced with a 30-minute intermission, which Pederson said was designed to replicate the extended halftime they'll experience in Super Bowl LII against the Patriots Sunday.
“I think it’s important that the guys get it in their minds how much time that is,” Pederson told pool reporter Kimberley Martin of the Washington Post.
“We’re normally working on 13-, 14-minute halftime and now it’s twice as long and guys’ bodies cool down. So I want to make sure they understand that we have to go in, we’ve got to stay focused, but at the same time we can refuel and kind of recharge.
"Coaches can coach and then get our guys warmed back up to come back out. So on Sunday they know exactly what they can do.”
Pederson said the halftime break was a one-time thing. The Eagles will also practice Thursday and Friday. Pederson said practice didn't have the same sharpness after the extended break.
“I thought it was a little sloppy, which is good, because this is something that I can address in our meetings tonight,” Pederson said. “Again, it’s another teachable moment so we’re not doing it on Sunday.”
The Eagles focused on first- and second-down situations Wednesday, according to the pool report.
“This is just like we were back in Philly,” Pederson said.
Running back Jay Ajayi (ankle), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) were all full participants Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan missed practice with an illness, which Pederson called “a 24-hour deal.”
Wednesday was Pederson's 50th birthday and his players and coaches sang him Happy Birthday to end practice.
Pederson said he has no plans to celebrate though.
“I am a big ice cream guy, but no, we’re going to be stuck in meetings tonight, so there’s no rest for the weary," he said.
"We’re going to keep grinding and cranking as coaches tonight."