PHILADELPHIA — Back in 2013, Chip Kelly’s customized training camp smoothies were a harbinger of the breathlessly covered scientific revolution to come in Philadelphia.
Five years and one Doug Pederson Super Bowl later, the drinks are still here (as is Kelly’s director of high performance). Players are seen plucking them off trays or out of coolers that sit caddy corner to the locker room. Like all coaches swimming against the grain, Kelly’s methods were always going to be panhandled, with the best ones sticking around for the next team to scoop up.
But a closer look at the Eagle diet these days reveals that the post-practice spread isn’t all blended powders and fruits. In fact, players can nab Uncrustibles peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bananas, Rold Gold pretzels, beef jerky, Honey Stinger organic energy chews, 100-calorie almond packs and trail mix.
On this particular Wednesday, there was also dessert in the form of Rita’s Italian Ice.
A mobile stand at the Novacare Complex meant that rookies were relegated to locker-side service specialists, carting a variety of flavors into the complex for the veterans to enjoy.
“Had to grab everyone some water ice,” rookie wideout Tim Wilson said, laughing. “I gotta do my rookie duties. It’s cool, though—I grabbed some for myself too.”
Wilson, an undrafted free agent from East Stroudsburg University, has been enjoying a strong camp, but that didn’t stop him from having a conversation interrupted by two-year vet Bryce Treggs, who wanted to ensure that he didn’t miss out on the frozen treats.
“It’s in the freezer,” Wilson said. “I got two different flavors.”
The Eagles won a Super Bowl last year by effectively blending the high tech and gritty. There will always be smoothies, but a cold Coors Light after a game doesn’t hurt either. Likewise with the second greatest frozen dessert known to man after a hot, muggy practice.
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TRAINING CAMP TIDBITS 8/1
Robert Klemko in Denver ...
Case Keenum hasn’t disappointed in his first week of meaningful action with the Broncos. For the first time here since Peyton Manning commanded the huddle, there's a clear-cut QB1, which is music to cornerback Bradley Roby's ears. “He’s a great quarterback, from what we’ve seen so far,” Roby says. “We haven’t had a QB of this caliber here in the last few years. Just being honest; no shade. He’s next level, definitely worth the money. He’s very accurate, he’s a leader. He commands the huddle. He diagnosed what we’re doing, makes checks and everything. We’re gonna rally around him this year and make that push. We haven’t had anybody with that kind of experience since Peyton.”
• THE MMQB AT TRAINING CAMP: Our writers check in from the road with what’s new and what’s the buzz at each camp. Read all the reports here.
Andy Benoit in Cincinnati ...
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor made the interesting point that RPO and read concepts have not quite made their way to the AFC North yet. The Steelers, Ravens and Browns did not run a bunch of them last season. So the Bengals have had to dedicate a little extra work and that area. In their late practice live reps, deep slants in post patterns were very prominent, and there was an emphasis on high-lowing zone defenders with different routes. AJ Green caught a post over the middle and split the safeties for a touchdown. On the sideline, a fan stood with a sign that said I AM 6' 11 COME A THROW ME THE BALL. Joe Mixon struggled to see how those two things connected and told the fan he was pursuing the wrong sport.
Jonathan Jones in Latrobe, Pa. …
Antonio Brown sat out of practice on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury, though Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made no indication it was anything serious. Fans who braved a bad weather report to visit camp had to be displeased that they wouldn’t see one of the league’s most exciting players on the field, but Brown made up for it by making the rounds throughout practice, always with a football in his possession. He would intermittently sign autographs with his left hand or pose for selfies throughout practice, he probably managing no fewer than 200 autographs.
Kalyn Kahler on the highway somewhere between here and there…
Never understood the obsession with luxury cars until Hertz upgraded me to this bad Jag. The Hertz employees were very sad to learn I would not be returning it to Indianapolis. Maybe I can sneak into the players’ lot now. Hehe.
Jonathan Jones in Pittsburgh: On the recommendation of Mayor Bill Peduto, I walked over to the heart of the city’s Cultural District to dine at Meat & Potatoes the other night. It opens for dinner at 5 p.m., and with no reservations I figured getting a seat at the bar around 6:45 wouldn’t be a problem. Jam-packed. Apparently Beauty and the Beast was playing across the street. I waited for an open seat with a 360 IPA by Sly Fox Brewing out of Phoenixville, Pa., before I had the pub burger (I was craving a burger and this one had pastrami pork belly). I wanted one more Sly Fox after dinner, but the keg had kicked.
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