PHILADELPHIA – The short practices have been noticeable.
At least short by what the norm as the past several years, with Doug Pederson running practices for about two hours, and sometimes longer.
The longest one under new Eagles coach Nick Sirianni has been 100 minutes, and only once.
The players, of course, don’t mind.
“They are shorter, but they are more detailed and more effective for us,” said WR Quez Watkins.
On Thursday, the Eagles didn’t wear pads. They had them on for two days then were out of them again, which was a bit surprising since they are off today.
The shorter practices are a nod toward trying to remain healthy, something the Eagles have had difficulty doing the past few seasons. Maybe this will help.
“We have so much ability on the field, how do we keep them available, right,” said Sirianni prior to Thursday’s practice. “If they are not available, that ability is worth nothing. That's just a part of the design as far as the length of practices, but when we are out here working, the standard is set very clear of how we want practice to be.
“We feel like we're out here and enough of what we want to be out here as far as to keep the guys healthy, but when we're out here, we're going and practicing hard. Practicing hard, which we talk about as a group all the time, is how you get better.”
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The flip side is conditioning. Are the players doing enough to be ready for the Sept. 12 opener?
After Thursday’s practice, some players were running springs from one side of an end zone to the other.
“Every day we talk about the conditioning of our team and what we need to do,” said Sirianni. “That's always a topic of conversation. … I have to make the decision of how to get the football team ready the best, too. It's not always like, ‘Hey, we are doing this, this is what we should do.’ My job as the head football coach is take all the information in. … I have to handle what I think is best for the football team.”
Speaking of doing what’s best for the team, Sirianni likes to teach using video.
The Kobe Bryant collection is extensive, but linebacker JaCoby Stevens, on Wednesday, talked about Sirianni showing a hot dog eating competition designed to illustrate core principle number 5 – fundamentals.
“He gives a point then tells a story,” said Stevens. “The videos are new. I never met a coach that plays a video through team meetings.”
“At some point, my voice, they are going to hear me and I'm going to talk a lot but at some point, it can't just be my voice saying it, right,” Sirianni said. “So, I have these things, these messages that I want to get across. So how do I get those messages across? I think it's the art of storytelling. I guess I'm a good storyteller. So you can have this storytelling, but then visual is so big in our profession.
“If I'm going to teach a quarterback how to read a play, what are we going to do? We are going to go to the video. If I'm going to teach a receiver how to run a route, what are we going to do? We're going to go to the video. I'll set the stage of a message a lot and then we'll go to a video.”
Sirianni said the hot dog eating video he showed was of Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut.
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Then the coach went into deeper detail, to the point where, since it was the last question, he continued with the answer even as the horn sounded to start practice.
“They (the players) go, ‘Why is Kobayashi so good at eating hot dogs?’” said Sirianni. “The details and fundamentals he puts into it. He has to have the right temperature of water to dunk the thing. He has to break the hot dog perfectly in half.
“So my point on that is, yeah, we are all seeing it and watching it, and it’s like, ‘What's the point of that?’ My point is, if you want to be the best in the world at what you do, right, on the football field, it comes down to the little things and that right there was a fundamental talk.”
A day after seeing Nick Sirianni get after Jalen Reagor to make a coaching point in a very verbal way, Greg Ward was asked about it on Thursday.
"I feel like that’s exactly what we need," he said. "We need to be held accountable. It’s only going to make us better, make us grow as a unit. It’s definitely pushing us to where we all want to be."
FUN AND GAMES
There was another Boston Scott moment when he played security guard for Greg Ward when Ward took the podium after practice. Last week, Scott stood by Milton Williams' side doing the same thing.
This time, after a few minutes, Jordan Mailata snuck out and picked up Scott like he weighed about 20 pounds and air-lifted him out of the media tent.
Check out the scene here:
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He’s very chill. He’s chill, laid back, he don’t really say much. He’s very smart. He knows the game of football. He’s actually a funny guy whenever he does talk.” – Greg Ward on fellow WR DeVonta Smith.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.