Nick Sirianni is a firm believer in the less-is-more philosophy when it comes to practice.
Training camp practices this past summer were fast-paced and efficient but short. Days off were plentiful. Once the season began, older players got most Wednesdays off. Practices remained short.
It’s all part of Sirianni’s belief that over a long season, most preparation can be done while keeping players off their feet, reducing the chance for injuries, keeping them fresh for Sundays.
So far, so good.
The Eagles are fairly healthy as they approach Week 11, and with their bye week so late – the second week of December – and coming off a physical win over the Broncos, Sirianni made sure to give his players plenty of rest this week.
First, he gave them off Monday, when they usually come in to watch film of the previous day’s game. Then he cancelled practice Wednesday, replacing it with a no-pads walkthrough.
“We're later in the season, we have a late bye, I want to take care of these guys' bodies and make sure they're ready to be 100 percent fresh on Sunday,” Sirianni said.
“The message is that we're not going to be out there running around and moving around, but we need to make sure we're getting better in the sense of, ‘Let's make sure we're mentally ready to go here.’”
The Eagles are 4-6 and have won two of their last three games after a 2-5 start. They sure looked crisp and fresh in their 30-13 win in Denver.
Since training camp began the first week of August, the players have really been going virtually non-stop for 3 ½ months.
They face the Saints at home Sunday, then the Giants and Jets back-to-back in East Rutherford before finally reaching the bye week following the Jets game on Dec. 5.
Linebacker T.J. Edwards said things like a full day off Monday or a walkthrough instead of a full practice can really help this time of year.
“Big-time, especially coming off a physical game like the last one we had,” he said. “It was awesome for coach to give us Monday to let our bodies heal and (Wednesday) has been a huge mental day.
“We still had a couple walkthroughs and things like that where guys are super locked in because we know that just because we’re not practicing it’s still something we need to make sure we’re on because we have a really good team coming in on Sunday.”
Sirianni emphasized that just because time on the field is reduced doesn’t mean the players are off.
It just means more time off their feet, watching film, meeting with their coaches, studying their playbook.
And even the walkthroughs are important work.
“You're going to the walk-through, you're full speed to the snap,” Sirianni said. “That means your mind is working, break the huddle in the same aspect, your mind is working full speed, boom, the snap happens, now we go to a walk-through.
“Just a reminder of how important walk-throughs are to us, being ready mentally and that your bodies are going to be ready physically because we are taking this break.”
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