Practice Makes Perfect

Posted: January 3rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 89 Comments »

Doug Pederson took it easy on his players the last two weeks. The results were not good, to put it mildly. Even though the team isn’t playing a game this week, Pederson has flipped the script. The Eagles had a tough, physical practice on Wednesday.

“That was a very intense practice,” Jason Kelce said. “We haven’t had one like that since training camp. On the verge of too intense.

“No fights, but whenever you go really, really hard, guys fall down, and you never want guys on the ground because you can get guys hurt, but I think we got a lot of really, really good work in.”

This wasn’t some exercise in fake toughness.

“It was intense, for sure,” Zach Ertz said. “Most intense practice we’ve had probably in a long time. Full pads, 1’s against the 1’s. Since the season started, we’d only have a couple plays here and there during Wednesday and Thursday practices, 1’s against the 1’s whereas today the whole practice was.

“We did a lot of situation work, trying to get those situations with Nick (Foles), give him the opportunity to go through them with us. I thought it was a great practice. It was really intense. A lot of trash talking, as you would expect when the guys are heated like that.”

If the Eagles are going to get back to playing good football, things have to change. The offense must play better. Nick Foles must play better.

You aren’t going to accomplish that by hoping it happens. I’ve hoped for years that Megan Fox would realize that she was in love with me. Or that Jimmy Bama would be brought up on charges of crimes against journalism. Neither has happened so far.

Pederson decided to be pro active and put his players through tough, competitive practices. Iron sharpens iron, as the saying goes. He wants his players to push each other and to get this team back on track.

You might wonder about having a tough practice during the bye week. What’s the point in having the week off if you’re going to go hard in practice? Games are a whole other level of intensity and wear and tear. A tough practice can help you improve, but isn’t going to exhaust you to the point where you need several days to recover. There is a huge difference.

The players are on board with the tough practices and that’s important. They know things have to change. They’re embracing the challenge of the postseason and doing whatever they can to get back to playing good football.

*****

The media asked Pederson whether Foles was his starter at the press conference on Tuesday. That was a fair question considering how poorly Foles played the last two weeks.

Of course, Pederson laughed the question off. Coaches don’t replace QBs lightly. And while Nate Sudfeld did some good things against Dallas, he’s never started an NFL game. He’s never thrown a TD pass. Heck, he’s never led a scoring drive.

Foles has played well, even in some big games. You have to stick with him, hoping the good Foles shows up.

Pederson did acknowledge that this is the playoffs and that changes things. You lose, you’re out. If a player really struggles, you’d have to consider your options.

*****

Zaruba is the name that got my attention. He is the rugby player who joined the team late in the offseason and then showed some potential. He’s big, physical and athletic. With a full offseason, he could be a player to watch.

Wilson is a big, talented receiver who has gone 56-777-3 in his short NFL career. He had multiple foot injuries and didn’t play at all in 2017. Wilson is just 25 so he’s definitely worth taking a look at.

_


  • BlindChow

    Read up about Marquess Wilson. Apparently he broke his foot three times in a year (2016). Yikes. Hopefully he’s healed and he turns out to be a Free Agent stud next year…

    • Masked Man

      Broke both feet once or twice each? Broke the one foot three times?

      That sounds like a lot of foot breaking in one season. How’d that happen?

      • Vink

        Kicking trash cans?

        • Masked Man

          Dude needs Anger Management…

          And a Calcium Supplement!

      • FairOaks

        Sounds like it was the same foot three times, same basic injury, probably re-aggravating the same injury.

        Fractured his left foot in November or December 2015, went on IR for the rest of the year. Re-injured it June 2016, and went on PUP. Came back in November, played a month, then injured it again in December. Did not play at all this season.

        Also broke his collarbone in preseason his second year (2014), but came off IR that year and was fine until the foot.

        • Masked Man

          Dang! Dude needs a Calcium Supplement! Seriously!

          • CrackSammich

            More like he needs to stop coming back from injury too soon.

      • Ryan Rambo

        I heard it was from break dancing.

        • Masked Man

          Sign him up!

    • CrackSammich

      INJURY PRONE CUT HIM

      Sounds like he rushed himself back from injury 3 times. If he hasn’t actually had a chance to PT that foot/ankle, he *will* injure it again. If he’s good to go, then he sounds like a good guy to take a flyer on the back of the roster.

    • TO BLACKS

      Who gives a FUCK

  • Ankerstjernen

    “I’ve hoped for years that Megan Fox would realize that she was in love with me. Or that Jimmy Bama would be brought up on charges of crimes against journalism. Neither has happened so far.”

    You really HAVE to love the hedging at the end there. Tommy has not given up hope yet. In these times, I believe we can all learn from his example.

    • Masked Man

      Haha. Journalism just called and said:

      “Don’t give up hope!”

      (Oooops. Sorry Jim…. 😉 Big fan. Couldn’t resist though.)

  • Gary Barnes

    Love Pederson’s approach – Eagles have a huge world changing opportunity right in front of them. #1 seed, HFA and three wins and they are champions and Philadelphia finally, after 57 years, is the best in football again. He and the team must do everything possible to make the best run here and seize that opportunity. Nothing about the future is guaranteed, we may never have a better chance than now. Get it done!

    • Rob Jarratt

      I agree, Gary. Although the best hope for winning it all is on the sidelines, somehow this team has got to take advantage of all the advantages is has at hand to go all the way. Embrace the low man on the totem pole mentality, make Foles a complementary piece, win the battles in the trenches, ride the defense, and win the takeaways.

      Finally, ride the tsunami of the 12th man!

    • Masked Man

      “Win the Week!” That’s all you can do. Go for it this week. Let it rip!

    • eagleyankfan

      no, nothing is guaranteed — but — There is Wentz. Give a team a franchise (possible elite) qb and you always have a chance. Then there is the ownership commitment to NOT build a 1 and done team. I’m ok with the Eagles not winning because I believe in the process in place. IF they don’t win it all, I believe they come back hungrier next year…lots, lots lots to be positive about and not worry about ‘we have to win now’….it’s all gravy…playing with house money…

      • Gary Barnes

        Disagree. Wentz may not be the same next year due to injury and a million other factors that regularly impact QB and team play.

        We are not promised to have other great years with Wentz nor do we know if Roseman & Co. will be able to continue building the team effectively.

        The Eagles were set to dominate for years with McNabb/Owens until TO went off the rails and they never got back to the NFCCG until 2008 with mostly a new team.

        The Flyers were going to win multiple Cups until Pelle Lindbergh wrapped his Porsche around a tree.

        The Iverson 76ers were going to master the Eastern Conference after 2001 until they never got back to that level again.

        The 2008 Phillies were going to win multiple WS until they choked every year in the playoffs and Howard popped his achilles.

        Win it all this year and none of that matters. Walk together forever.

        • xeynon

          Nothing is promised, but teams with elite QBs like Wentz are generally in the mix to win it all every year. As long as nothing disastrous happens, they should be set up for sustained success. They should of course go all out in the playoffs, but if they come up short I don’t want them to start making short-term moves for a marginal increase in their chance of winning next year at the expense of shortening their championship window. That’s what the Phillies did after 2008, with disastrous results.

          We can discuss the offseason when the offseason arrives however. For now, full speed ahead into the playoffs.

          • Gary Barnes

            If Wentz comes back fully healthy and continues to be an elite QB, that helps greatly of course.

            The point is, if we win it all this year, the future is all gravy. If we blow another chance this year, then the pressure ratchets up again and getting back to this position is very difficult.

            We all know Philadelphia fans start the clock on star players, especially QB, early and will be expecting absolute greatness from Wentz.

            Sustained success is also extremely hard; only NE has done it long term.. PITT, SEA and Reid’s Eagles have done it in short term bursts, but it is very difficult to maintain.

          • xeynon

            I think Pittsburgh has been consistently great since they got Roethlisberger, while Green Bay has been consistently very good for 20+ years with Favre and then Rodgers. The Colts were a perennial contender for years with Manning. The Ravens have been consistently competitive despite never having a great QB to build around, which is arguably the most impressive feat any of these teams has pulled off.

            It’s true that it’s very hard to win (or even appear in) Super Bowls year after year, but there are plenty of organizations which consistently field high-level teams. Having an elite QB makes this much easier.

          • Gary Barnes

            I guess it depends on your definition of “sustained” success.

            Ravens have missed the playoffs the last 3 years and 4 out of the last 5. They did have a short run from 2008-2012 with Flacco.

            I mentioned PITT as another short term run candidate. They went from 2011 to 2015 between playoff wins for example b4 getting back on track the last two years.

            Indy again a good short term run, they’ve struggled with Luck after some initial success and had a gap between 2007 and 2013 where they won a total of two playoff games.

            GB is a good example, most similar to NE’s long term run.

            Still we’re talking about roughly 8 teams out of 32 over the last 15-20 years if we add in SEA and Reid’s Eagles.

          • xeynon

            I think a lot of this comes down to luck. It is really damn hard to win in the NFL, and 3-4 years is a small sample size – if a team like Pittsburgh doesn’t win a playoff game over that span, it could just as well be bad luck as anything.

            New England and Green Bay have been somewhat better at sustaining success, it’s true, but I think a lot of that comes down to the fact that they’ve benefited from playing in bad divisions populated by inept rivals for most if not all of their current runs. The Jets had a few decent moments in the AFC East over the last 15 or so years, ditto the Vikings in the NFC North, but for the most part neither the Pats nor the Packers have faced a serious perennial challenger for division supremacy, which gives them a huge leg up for postseason success (4+ easy games a year and at least one almost guaranteed home game in the playoffs every year). Meanwhile the Steelers and Ravens have had to contend with each other over that stretch, and occasionally with the Bengals as well.

            Indy is an interesting case because when they had Manning they were consistently dominant (benefiting from a bad division as well) but despite no pun intended lucking into a second franchise QB in a row, they’ve subsequently screwed it up with bad management decisions. That’s the team that’s a big cautionary tale if I’m the Eagles – luckily I think Lurie and Roseman are smarter than Irsay and Grigson.

        • truehaynes

          yeah all very true. its be heartbreaking but not altogether surprising if wentz is never the same

          • xeynon

            I would consider it surprising. It’s not 1970 anymore. Guys come back from ACL injuries to play as well as ever all the time nowadays.

          • Ankerstjernen

            He will be back. Think about Carson Palmer who just retired. His knee injury in 2006 was talked about as being career-ending, it was devastating. He was back the next season. Not quite himself that year, but eventually returned to play at the highest level for one and a half decade. He even came back from the second ACL tear to play great as an older veteran. Wentz’ injury was nowhere near as serious or complicated and the technology today is worlds better than in 2006. There should be absolutely no reason to fear that Wentz will not return to full form at this point. None at all.

        • P_P_K

          I wish I didn’t read your post. Brings back too many disappointments.

          • Gary Barnes

            Sorry, yea the wounds are deep unfortunately for all of us

          • P_P_K

            Iggles Blitz helps. Healthier than a bartender, cheaper than therapy

          • Gary Barnes

            Indeed

        • John Dunkerley

          Kudos to the team for taking this opportunity seriously, putting in the hard work. After Foles has to face his own defense in practice, everything else is gravy!

  • xeynon

    The thing I love the most is that the players are not only on board with a tough practice, as I understand it they actually asked for it. I heard a lot of quotes from guys like Johnson, Ertz, and Jenkins about much this team wants postseason success – they’re not just happy to be there. We’re a team with a lot of young players but we also have veteran leaders that know what it takes to succeed at the highest level in the NFL – that’s huge, and it will rub off on guys like Mills, Barnett, Hollins, and Clement as they continue to develop.

    • Philadelphian

      The players know how difficult it is to win in the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl, so after getting this close it makes sense for them to want to go all out.

  • Masked Man

    Last year, many predicted 4 wins. But Doug led them to 7.

    This year, many predicted 8-9 wins. But Doug led them to 13.

    In the Playoffs, many are saying “one and done.” But Doug is making plans…

    • eagleyankfan

      many are saying 1? wahooooooo. I’ll take it!

      • Masked Man

        Was thinking one game, not one win. I’d take one win and host to the NFC Champs. And then see what happens!

        • Philadelphian

          Especially, if the opponent is the Vikings. If everything goes as scripted, which of course it rarely does, the Vikings and Rams will face of the same week the Eagles play the Saints, Falcons, or Panthers. Playing the Rams in the conference game scares me because I can’t see how the Eagles can keep up with them offensively. On the other hand, the Vikings coming out of the dome to play in Philadelphia looks like a favorable matchup.

          • Ankerstjernen

            We can run it down the Rams throat. Last time we played them, our defense kept them to 7 points in the first half. It gives us a chance to win a low scoring affair. The Vikings on the other hand will shut our offense down completely. They are a cold weather team too, playing in that division and all. And they have better man-beaters on the outside. I don’t see any way we beat them. Rams is a better matchup for this team.

          • Philadelphian

            I get your point, but my biggest concern is scoring. Where I can agree that our offense will struggle, I think the Vikings offense will likely struggle against our defense.

            On the other hand, the Rams defense is much better than one might think. Wade Phillips, who I feel might be the best DC in the league, made adjustments that seemed to slow down our offense in the second half of the game we played this year.

            Also, it seemed as if the Eagles struggled stopping the Rams offense after the Eagles took a 21-7 lead. It wasn’t until the defensive line started putting constant pressure late in the 4th quarter that we clinched the win, however I doubt they could put that must pressure on the QB the whole game.

            Also, as far as cold weather goes, I believe dome teams tend to struggle late in the year and the playoffs more so than other times.

            Let’s just hope you and I can continue this discussion in two weeks because that will mean the Eagles won the first game.

    • ChoTime

      Man proposes, Dug disposes.

      • Masked Man

        Cho, you have confidence in Doug!

        So do I. Especially with two weeks to get ready.

      • xeynon

        Pederson has gradually won over many in the fanbase, but even now there are doubters. I wonder how many SBs he’d have to win before people realize he’s a very good coach?

        • BlindChow

          Only one if he does it without Wentz.

          • xeynon

            Even if you have a great QB, it’s not as simple as plugging him in and letting him play. Conversely, it’s really hard to win big without a great QB, even if you’re a great coach. Belichick has never won squat in the postseason without Brady for example.

          • BlindChow

            Thus my point: everyone would realize he’s a great coach if he wins one without a great QB.

          • xeynon

            Fair enough.

            I tend to think if he wins one with Wentz, people will say “why wasn’t it two?” though.

          • BlindChow

            Who cares?

          • xeynon

            I’m not talking about imaginary people or hypothetical arguments. I’m taking issue with actual people who (1) haven’t given Pederson credit for what he has accomplished so far and/or (2) seem itching to turn on him if he doesn’t win big right away.

            Case in point: David Murphy of the Philly Daily News (who’s usually very rational and measured) wrote a column the other day that basically intimated that Doug could be on the hot seat if the Eagles don’t win a playoff game this season. That is nuts, but the argument clearly appeals to a certain part of the fanbase or he wouldn’t have written it.

            This sentiment coexists with the sentiment that the Eagles can’t be expected to win anything this year because Wentz is hurt and Foles stinks.

            I don’t see how it’s possible to have it both ways and to believe both of these things at the same time, but some Philadelphians who want nothing more than to be able to bitch about the Eagles no matter what they do or how they perform will find a way.

          • BlindChow

            What? What does all that have to do with anything??

            You said, and I quote:

            I tend to think if he wins one with Wentz, people will say “why wasn’t it two?” though.

            “The Eagles just won a Super Bowl in my head and people who don’t exist weren’t satisfied with it!!!!”

            You are whining about things that no one said about things that didn’t happen.

            If the definition of a Negadelphian is someone who complains about stuff just to complain, I have news for you buddy…

            https://i.imgflip.com/225nga.jpg

        • ChoTime

          I don’t see what more you could ask for the guy at this point. The team has a good D, has made great strides on offense, he doesn’t make many awful Reid-ish errors, and he’s properly aggressive (as most coaches are not).

          • P_P_K

            Truth that.

          • joe

            Nitpicking here but on challenges, a little more thought into the pros/cons. On more than one occasion, I think Doug (or the guys in his ear) may have been correct that the officials screwed up the call on the field… however sometimes know you’ll be wrong even when you’re right*. A few of the spot challenges, a few non-challenges, etc. Perhaps the guys watching the live tape should have a framework already in place so they can give Doug situational advice as well as what they see on the screen.

            (* discounting the possibility of using a challenge as a timeout or somehow motivating your team)

        • Gary Barnes

          Can we wait until he wins one playoff game? I already think he is fine as HC, but winning something does matter.

          • xeynon

            Of course he’ll have to take the next step and prove himself in the playoffs to be put in the upper echelon of NFL coaches. But in two seasons he’s turned the Eagles from a bad team with the worst collection of offensive talent in the league into the league’s highest scoring offensive team, while developing a Div I-AA QB who looked very shaky at times in his rookie season into an MVP candidate.

            There is no way you can look at Pederson’s performance so far and conclude anything other than that he’s done a very good job and it’s likely he’s a very good coach.

        • RobNE

          One

    • ColorSgt

      He’s a better coach than most give credit. I hope he at least wins the NFC.

    • Man Of War

      you mean carson

  • P_P_K

    Tommy, just be careful you keep your hopes in order. You wouldn’t want to end up with ‘Bama in love with you and Megan in journalistic prison.

    • ColorSgt

      While still a very slim chance of happening, is more plausible.

  • unhinged

    In the context of going light when the division was won and holiday distractions were persistently present, the tough practice makes perfect sense. If Doug has been preaching all season about “winning the day,” a change in tone and demeanor is a big fat green light for the locker room. There is a psychological rationale at play. You can’t go balls to the wall every week, recognize a mile-marker of success and enjoy it, and then rev it up again without the intense preparation. Hopefully, the last two putrid performances were masking the strengths that the Eagles bring to the post-season, and if it enabled some injuries to heal up, so much the better. Are they allowed by NFL rules to have one or two practice in pads?

  • ColorSgt

    Stick figures are perfectly acceptable in journalism. If pictures are allowed and they say 1000 words, then stick figures that say about 10 words seems like cheating a lot less.

    • Masked Man

      A Stick Figure is worth a few words? Ha!

  • knighn

    Practice?

    • P_P_K

      Is that you, Mr. Iverson?

  • GermanEagle

    *Breaking News*

    GE is going to the game next Saturday. Bought my ticket today. Go birds.

    • Mac

      Break a tooth!

      • GermanEagle

        One already chipped actually.

        • P_P_K

          Oh, no, don’t you and your dental problems jinx the Eagles? Or is that just kids soccer games?

          • GermanEagle

            Neither actually.

          • P_P_K

            Well then, get out there and get us a win.

        • Mac

          Superbowl here we come!

  • truehaynes

    so the weather report for next saturday and sunday doesnt look to bad. highs around 40 and lows in the high 20’s. if we get an early afternoon game it should be pleasant compared to the cold weve had recently. do people think it is an advantage for us to have it be super cold? i get that this negates the opposing qb, but foles has been putrid in cold weather. maybe the slightly warmer weather brings out the rainmaker?

    • xeynon

      I don’t think cold matters much either way.

      Wind is to our advantage unless we’re playing Carolina. If the elements hamper the passing attacks of both teams, the team with the more dangerous and explosive downfield passing attack is hurt more, which won’t be us with Foles as the QB.

    • Jernst

      Games already scheduled…eagles play Saturday at 4:35pm EST for sure

      • ColorSgt

        Not ideal. For Foles and the cold.

    • Insomniac

      We’re possibly playing against dome teams so it should be in our advantage.

  • GermanEagle

    FWIW:

    Jason Kelce has made the PFF all pro Center and Patrick Robinson the second flex D team.

    Since I am not high on PFF at all Robinson’s season was phenomenal.

  • Dragon_Eagle

    But when does Jimmy Bama K get his animated stick figure exhibit at the Phildelphia Museum of Art?

    • Insomniac

      As a millennial I can safely say that we’ll get it enshrined when we take over..when we’re in our 40s 🙁

      • Bert’s Bells

        Good luck getting those Baby Boomer pricks to step out the way.

  • Ryan Rambo
    • daveH

      Awesome thank you! !
      ..
      Lotsa standing around but was a mere fraction of the day
      ..
      Really cool. .
      Yep. We talkin bout practice ( had to .. )

      • Ryan Rambo

        Sure thing man! Yep…We talkin bout practice! lol

  • Dave

    I’m loving the drama going on with Tommy 2Cheats, Bill Belicheat, and Oompa Loompa.

    Tomorrow should be a fun day.

    • RobNE

      Seems like a non story. They couldn’t afford both.

      • Ankerstjernen

        But it seems entirely plausible that BB, as probably the only coach in the world, would be the kind of person to seriously plan on getting rid of the best QB in history a year early in order to make room for the next guy. I kind wanted that to happen even more – for BB to cut Brady in an MVP season. It would be the ultimate BB-mythic thing to do.

  • Ryan Rambo