PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It would be understandable if the Eagles of the Dick Vermeil era were snickering a bit on Tuesday.
The days of Vermeil’s camp featured a healthy amount of two-a-days and hitting which often started just after the Fourth of July. The modern NFL has more restrictive rules due to the collective bargaining agreement, so Tuesday was the first day the Eagles included live tackling in their workouts. Coach Doug Pederson was happy to see his players ramp up the hitting under the hot sun on the first day of August.
“I took the same approach as last year,” said Pederson. “I wanted to make sure the guys understood that we were going to hit and we were going to have a couple live sessions. The guys are prepared for it. They understand it. I think it’s great. It does fuel some emotion, positively. It fuels the competition. It’s good to see.”
Most of the players expressed their satisfaction with the addition of live tackling. It was an impressive day for the defense, which performed well during both live periods. Defensive End Brandon Graham says healthy hitting is part of the process of training camp.
“It’s very important that you focus in and make sure you get a couple of hits under your belt,” Graham said. “Once you get out in the game, the bullets are flying fast and you want to kind of get over the soreness of actually hitting somebody. Today was pretty good.”
It was somewhat business as usual for quarterback Carson Wentz. The second-year signal caller as well as the rest of the quarterbacks are not allowed to be tackled at practice. However, Wentz could see the intensity rise to another level during Tuesday’s workouts and believes the younger Eagles were able to benefit from a more physical round of practice.
“I think it’s big for some of the young guys,” said Wentz. “It’s been a while since they’ve gotten used to that contact, so I think that’s good. It also builds some competitiveness as well. It’s good for them to show what they can do.”
The workouts also helped veterans such as Malcolm Jenkins. The safety was happy to welcome the heavy hitting, but also pointed out there is still a long way to go before the Eagles are getting more detailed with their game preparation.
“Nothing is schemed,” Jenkins said. “Everything is very, very vanilla. Most of our periods don’t even have an emphasis on what the situation is. We’re just bouncing around on first down, second down and third down. I think once we get to more situational periods and actually get to start scheming things up, I think it obviously puts us in a better situation on defense.”