It's supposed to be business as usual for the Eagles in Week 17 — aside from the special circumstances that led to practice being held at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday.
In a surprise twist ahead of a "meaningless" game against the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday, the Eagles announced practice had been moved to the Linc on Friday morning. The reason, coach Doug Pederson revealed during his media availability, was the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex were frozen.
“Just want to be outside," Pederson said. "(Lincoln Financial Field) is heated, is warm. The field out here is a little bit frozen, so I just want to make sure we get a chance to be outside.”
The Delaware Valley has been locked into a sustained period of freezing temperatures for days, with a high of 26 degrees forecasted for Friday. It was 22 degrees around 11:50, when practice got underway and felt much colder on the field.
The temperatures weren't an issue for the Eagles the past two days, as walkthroughs were held inside the practice bubble at the team facility. Pederson said plans to go to the Linc began coming together on Thursday as he considered the logistics of moving outdoors.
"Actually woke up yesterday and thought about it," Pederson said. "It's easy. The stadium is right there. You get four busses, you get coaches and players, and let's go. It's as easy as that.
“(Director of Grounds) Tony Leonard and our field crew do a great job of preparing the field for us. It's not covered at this time, so it's a great opportunity to be outside and get some good work in.”
While the Eagles will hold practices at the Linc during training camp for fans to attend, it's never been done in season. The practice was also closed to the public, and media was ushered back up the tunnel after five minutes.
Pederson made the call to practice outside even though the outcome of Sunday's game is irrelevant. The Eagles have already clinched the top playoff seed in the NFC, while the Cowboys were eliminated from postseason contention.
If Pederson decided to hold practice in the bubble again, nobody would've thought twice. Instead, he made the unprecedented call to go down the street.
“I just think it's important that you get outside," Pederson said. "It's great to be outside in the fresh air. Sunny day, the wind's not blowing. It's a little chilly, but it's a great opportunity to get some good work in.”
While the outcome might not matter, Pederson has insisted he's treating the game with the same importance as any other during the regular season. Though many starters are not expected to play the full 60 minutes, the Eagles are trying not to alter their mentality too much.
“I'm not using the term 'preseason' with our guys," Pederson said. "It's still a regular-season football game, the Dallas Cowboys.”
One way to maintain that edge is to prepare for the elements. The high temp forecasted for Sunday, when the Eagles host the Cowboys at 1 p.m., is 22 degrees, with a low of eight.