Because the Eagles practiced with a limited roster the first two days, they had to resort to some unconventional teaching methods.
For example, with only five offensive linemen, assistant coach Jeff Stoutland set up trash cans to simulate the defense.
Here’s (iPhone-quality) video of what I mean:
When setting the protection, Jason Kelce’s job is to identify the MIKE linebacker. During one drill, Stoutland was ready to move on to the next rep, but tight ends coach Ted Williams stopped him. Kelce had yelled out ’45’ as the MIKE, but it was supposed to be ’51.’ Stoutland hadn’t caught the mistake, but Williams did.
It’s an example of how players at all levels can gain something each time they practice – something Chip Kelly emphasizes. Kelce was one of the few veterans in attendance, and by far the most experienced, but he was able to pick something up on that rep.
Stoutland, meanwhile, spent a few minutes on a key point: Guys who don’t know what the hell they’re doing try to block everybody.
His message to the linemen? Once you engage the defender, stay on him. Don’t just start freelancing because you see someone else going unblocked. That means you don’t know your assignment and don’t trust your teammates.
THE JUGS MACHINE
I want a shot at trying this before camp is over:
That’s Ifeanyi Momah making the catches. During another drill, the assistants set up the Jugs machine so that receivers would have to reach back. It looked like they were trying to simulate a crossing pattern where the ball is thrown behind the receiver.
Wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell emphasized minimized movement. In other words, receivers were supposed to reach back to catch the ball, but immediately tuck it in front of them so they could pick up yards after the catch.
AZZINARO ASKS FOR PERMISSION
Given that there are so few players in attendance, there is plenty of open space on the practice fields.
Defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro was moving his group over from one drill to the next, near where Bicknell and the wide receivers were going over blocking.
“Got enough room, Bick?” Azzinaro joked. “Want to make sure you can hit your [bleepin'] 9-iron over here.”
Below is a shot of Azzinaro and the defensive line: