Earlier this offseason, Doug Pederson intimated that the Eagles might have more scrimmages this summer to make up for the cancelation of the entire preseason.
That doesn’t seem to be the case.
In the past, Pederson has typically had two days where the Eagles go “live” and tackle to the ground. Even without preseason games, that is the plan this summer too.
I’m going to stick to that schedule,” Pederson said via a Zoom call on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m going to stick to two days of having situational, scrimmage-type practices. I feel like it’s a great way to get our guys prepared for game situations, game action. I’m going to do two of those days.
That means there will be limited opportunities to really evaluate their young players during this training camp.
Pederson also said there are in total eight or nine padded practices in the next 2 1/2 weeks.
The Eagles are right now in the Gradual Ramp Up Period of training camp, which allows non-padded practices. Padded practices begin Monday (Aug. 17) when the Eagles enter the Contact Integration Period.
If those “live” periods indeed remain similar to what Pederson has done in the past, don’t think of scrimmages as just 11-on-11 offense vs. defense, like a game. The situational part means they’ll be in goal line or backed up, etc. Pederson likes to segment practice this way.
Pederson admitted there will be a “fine line” as the coaches try to evaluate players but also work on situational players and get ready for the season. Normally, those preseason games are huge for evaluating young players. Now, the coaching staff has to do it in 2 1/2 weeks while also preparing veteran players for the upcoming season.
Because of that, will these practices be any more intense?
“I don’t know if they’ll be any more intense,” Pederson said. “Training camp practices are grueling anyway.”
That’s true. And Pederson also brought up a great point that this current setup means fewer days off once these practices get going. Normally, when there are preseason games, teams get the day before and after off. So if you’re a starter and you play 10 snaps in a preseason game, those 10 snaps are really your only significant on-field time in the span of three days. There are obviously off days built into this schedule but not that many.
While the Eagles haven’t started padded practices yet, they have been in training camp and in virtual meetings for a while. In fact, the Eagles have completely installed their offensive and defensive schemes.
The last thing left to do is get on the field and get ready for the season.
“The only thing we’ve missed really is just the live practices that we would have had under a normal situation,” Pederson said. “Tomorrow, I think would have been our first preseason game. We’ve got everything that we need in if we were to play a game tomorrow. We’re not really playing catch up, we’re just enhancing what we have moving forward.”
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