With training camp coming to Philadelphia, the Eagles decided to give their practice fields a $200,000 facelift.
The NovaCare practice fields had not been re-sodded since the complex opened back in 2001. The team had been mulling the project for a couple years, and decided this was the time to pull the trigger.
Some inconsistencies (low and high spots) developed as a result of all the trampling over the last dozen years, so Tony Leonard — the team’s director of grounds — and his crew removed two inches off the surface and re-graded the area before laying down a Bermuda grass new to the market called “Latitude 36,” which is expected to be more wear-tolerant than what they have had in the past. The Ravens and Bengals are two of the teams around the NFL currently using it.
The same grass will be installed in the Linc. The field will be stripped prior to the Taylor Swift concert on July 20, and the new turf will be put down after the show. That should take two days. The Eagles’ first training camp practice at Lincoln Financial Field is scheduled for July 28.
The work at NovaCare was a bigger undertaking. Leonard and about 20 crew members got to work the day the Eagles’ minicamp wrapped, and completed the project in a week despite battling the rainy conditions that disturbed the U.S. Open at nearby Merion.
“It was a 2-3 week project condensed into one week,” said Leonard. “It was a lot of long days but we got it done.”
Plenty of fans have been asking whether the Eagles are considering putting artificial turf down in the Linc to give the speed-loving Chip Kelly a fast track. Leonard said that if any such discussions have taken place, he has not been a part of them.
The team website posted a time lapse video of the new fields being put down at NovaCare.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Zach Ertz and Jordan Poyer are playing catch-up because of graduation rule.
Bennie Logan is getting plenty of support from his fellow defensive linemen.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tickets to the five training camp practices are a hot item. From Les Bowen:
An Eagles spokesman said about 130,000 free tickets to the five training camp dates at Lincoln Financial Field have been distributed in the first two days since they became available. Originally, only the lower bowl was designated, but Thursday the team made 6,500 upper-bowl seats available, and said it will continue opening up sections as needed in the 69,144-seat Linc.
So far, the first session seems very popular with ticket seekers, the Eagles said, as does the Aug. 11 date, which involves a LeSean McCoy bobblehead promotion.
Interesting comments from Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, via coachingsearch.com.
“The best part of our team right now is just the attitude of the team, the culture of the team. Our team gets and understands what we want to do so well that, after Chip left, I swear the team could have run itself. We have all those pieces in place, we have pieces moving in the right direction, but things have to go right for you during the season.
The Eagles hired former Soul coach Brett Munsey as a scout.
A Twitter Mailbag, and whatever else pops up.