BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — After days of interviews and a lot of silliness the Eagles finally got on the practice field on Wednesday, but they didn't bring their pads.
The team hit the field at the Gibson-Nagurski Complex on the campus of the University of Minnesota for a lighter practice than they've had in recent weeks. In fact, the team won't strap on pads all week.
"We had a great week last week, honestly, back in Philly," head coach Doug Pederson explained on Thursday morning. "Had all our prep last week. This is about just fine-tuning, keeping the guys fresh for Sunday. We had a great practice yesterday from a tempo standpoint. Guys were flying around and doing what I've asked them to do this week. I just decided to back off this week and keep them fresh for Sunday."
This week's practices are closed to media aside from one designated pool reporter.
During Wednesday's session, the Eagles simulated the extended Super Bowl LII halftime break when Justin Timberlake will take the stage. They broke for 30 minutes during practice, but when they started up again, things were sloppier than Pederson would have liked.
"I think just addressing it early in the week before the game is huge," quarterback Nick Foles said. "The guys are aware of it. Coach does a great job of teaching in those moments. Glad it happened now."
The head coach noted that it was a few days since the Eagles' last practice, suggesting that could have been one of the reasons for the sloppiness. Pederson said he didn't start "browbeating" his players but simply talked to his veterans.
"We're so late in the season now, we know how to practice," Pederson said. "Just making sure that we understand the importance of (it), that's why I put us in that situation. Now we understand it. So it's a very teachable moment for our guys, our coaches for how to prepare for the second half of the football game."
When asked about the sloppiness coming out of the simulated halftime, tight end Zach Ertz definitely didn't seem concerned. He noted that Wednesday practices in the NFL are typically sloppy and he never feels great after one day of work.
Really, no one seemed too concerned.
"We're not going to put too much stock into it," Ertz said. "I expect a better practice today."
The Eagles finished up their media obligations for the week on Thursday morning before practice. Because of the schedule during the week, they'll get their last two practices after their obligations are through. The Patriots practiced Thursday morning, but still have one more media session on Thursday afternoon.
After days of a bunch of hoopla, the Eagles were just happy to finally get on the field and begin to narrow their focus to Sunday's game alone.
"We were really excited to get back out there, get moving around," Foles said. "The first couple days here were great. A lot of obligations, but we enjoyed them. Just being back out there playing football, going through walkthroughs, that's what it's about. Just getting the work in, it took a little bit to get warmed up, get things flowing, but I feel like we got a lot of good work. As coach said, the second half of practice after the halftime wasn't as clean as we wanted, but at the same time watching practice, learning from it. I felt like there was a lot of improvements going into this game, so that's great."