The Eagles are must-see TV in 2014 as they will be featured in four prime-time games and that doesn't include other nationally televised showdowns like the Thanksgiving battle with Dallas. So, it should come as no surprise that the Patriots' practice facility was unable to hold all of the fans who attended Tuesday's joint practice between the two teams. The ramps in Gillette Stadium which oversee the practice fields were open for additional fans to stand. In all, 25,317 fans attended the training session, a Patriots single-session record.
This comes two days after over 28,000 fans attended the Eagles' final Open Practice at Franklin Field. Now, it's on to the 5 Things To Know Today for August 13 ...
1. Change In Plans
Wednesday was supposed to be another open-to-the-public joint training session, however, due to the threat of inclement weather it will be a closed workout. In addition, the practice was moved up to 9 AM from 2 PM. Head coach Chip Kelly will address the media before the joint practice at 8:30 AM, which we will broadcast live both online and on our app.
2. Defense Stands Tall
How did the Eagles perform in the joint practice Tuesday? Our Practice Notes offer a comprehensive recap, but the biggest storyline was the improved performance by the defense. Last year, quarterback Tom Brady was unstoppable in the joint practices. This year, the defense offered much more resistance. Even Patriots reporters noted that the Eagles were much more of a challenge than Washington, which squared off against the Patriots in joint practices last week.
"I guess last year we didn't understand the pace and we didn't understand our responsibilities within the defense," said cornerback
3. Rivalry Renewed For
Mark Sanchez knows all about the New England Patriots, having been the quarterback for the New York Jets in the same division as New England, the AFC East. The two franchises are bitter rivals and the Patriots fans have had their fun with Sanchez over the years.
As an Eagle, Sanchez is in a totally different spot. He's backing up
"It was what I expected. I expected them to run a sharp practice and they did. I expected them to be as good in practice as they are on Sundays and they were. I think Coach (Bill) Belichick has a great system here," said Sanchez. "Guys totally buy in and they do a great job."
4. Practices With Benefits
The Eagles did not hold joint practices in the 14-year era of head coach Andy Reid. Head coach Chip Kelly has now done it two straight seasons, both with the Patriots. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick embraces joint training sessions as well. As previously mentioned, the Patriots engaged with Washington last week. A year ago, New England also trained with Tampa Bay, in addition to the Eagles, before their preseason affair.
"I think anything we do is good. What we’re doing this week is a little different than what we did against Washington," Belichick said. "I don’t think it’s better or worse. It’s all valuable. Chip and I talked about what we wanted to do and I think we’re both comfortable with that and I think it will be valuable for us. Last week was good too."
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur explained that these practices are another tool which helps sort out who should comprise this year's Philadelphia Eagles.
"It gives us another evaluation or added evaluation. I wouldn't say anything too revolutionary," Shurmur said. "I don't want to downplay this. I think this is going to be fun for everybody. I think when we look at it, we are out here practicing against the Patriots and I'm assuming that's the approach they will take."
The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced its nominees for the 2014 Emmy Awards on Tuesday and the Philadelphia Eagles received 10 nominations in nine different categories. All three of the weekly television shows - Game Plan, Inside the Season and Unscripted - received nominations as well as the broadcast of last year's preseason games.