A long offseason that followed the team's playoff loss in January is over. Eagles football is back, and the several hundred fans who attended Saturday's first Training Camp practice held out in the rain and enjoyed the action.
What did they see? They saw quarterback
More than anything, the fans saw what head coach Chip Kelly wanted to see: A faster Eagles team, with more tempo and one rep only a handful of seconds after the previous one was completed.
"It's fast, no doubt about that," said wide receiver
Everyone felt it, even as the humidity eased after some off-and-on rain moved through the area. The players know that if they aren't up to the test from a conditioning standpoint, they aren't going to thrive in Camp Kelly.
"It's a tempo unlike anything I've experienced," said linebacker
"I spent a lot of time running and working on my cardio before camp. I knew I needed to be ready to be up to speed right away."
The Eagles don't tackle to the ground in their Training Camp, but they put players in position to tackle and teach good form and positioning. The four preseason games are more than just run throughs, then. They are critical opportunities to play the game the right way at game speed.
What the coaches want to see now is players retaining the playbook information they are fed and then going out on the field and reaching the right spots. The coaches want to see the players take as many reps as they can and review the sessions on film and make corrections.
They want to see how the players respond to the challenge of playing fast on every snap of every practice every day.
"That's the thing," said defensive tackle
Said wide receiver
Fast and relentless is the only way Kelly does things. The national reporters who visit practice -- ESPN's Sal Paolantonio and TheMMQB.com's Peter King were two of the more prominent names on Saturday -- marvel at the efficiency at which the Eagles practice ("There is no wasted time," gushed Paolantonio).
It's part of the grand plan, along with the music and the mayhem of the substitutions and the move to push the envelope in any way he can.
Day 1 is in the books and the Eagles are just taking the day-to-day approach. There is no looking ahead here. Kelly wants to accomplish so much in the span of 24 hours. Playing fast football is the top of the lst. It's a Kelly trademark that's become an Eagles lifestyle.
It was a solid first day, although to make too much of it is a foolish thing to do.