Over 23,000 fans came out to see the Eagles take the field at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday morning for the team’s first Open Practice, which was also Military Appreciation Day presented by Dietz and Watson. Following the practice, players gave their jerseys to military members in honor of their service.
“It's great. ... This is a great experience for our players our coaches, our young players, to experience this atmosphere before we start playing these preseason games coming up in a week,” head coach Doug Pederson said prior to practice.
“Great environment. It's great to have the military here today. Appreciate everything that they do, the men and women who serve our country. It's exciting to get a chance to meet them and have our guys on the field for the first time.”
Pederson also provided injury updates on cornerback Randall Goforth, defensive end Alex McCalister, and defensive tackle Elijah Qualls. He announced Qualls (groin) would be unavailable for practice while McCalister (hamstring) was listed as day to day. During Friday's practice, Goforth went down while making a play on the ball against wide receiver Paul Turner during the team’s 7-on-7 drill resulting in a season-ending knee injury.
“It's unfortunate, but it is a knee. It is an ACL injury. It's a disappointing injury for him as a young player,” Pederson revealed.
Here’s what else Pederson shared with the media.
On what he hopes to see during live practice on Tuesday: "Well, again, the biggest thing and the main thing is we want to keep conditioning our players with the physical nature of contact. Obviously, come away healthy, but at the same time being in proper position to make tackles, let our running backs feel that extra hit. I think it's a short-yardage and goal-line day, so that's the only way you can do those periods, is live, to get the proper work out of it and work those situations."
On how impressive Carson Wentz’s performance was during Saturday’s practice: "Day one of camp, listen, we got a lot of camp to go. I've been around this game a lot, a lot of Training Camp practices. The defense is going to get theirs just like the offense is going to get theirs. It goes back and forth.
"It was an exciting first day in pads to see the guys run around. I'm not going to get overly-hyped on one practice."
On seeing a different Lane Johnson this year: "Well, he's gone blonde. (Laughter) But, yeah, I just think he's a little more relaxed. Again, like you said, he doesn't have that cloud over his shoulders or over his head. Just playing a lot more loose, a lot more relaxed, a lot more comfortable and confident."
On the severity of Nick Foles’ elbow injury: "Not serious at all. Just soreness in his elbow. He'll be fine. We'll just monitor that day by day."
On what Marcus Johnson has shown him thus far: "Well, just go back to the first part of OTAs. He's made an impact. He's shown up. He's making some plays. He's one of the guys that will continue to kind of give some reps from time to time with that first group and see where he's at. He's a young, talented receiver that filled in well yesterday."
On how much Training Camp will determine how he will use the running backs: "Well, you know, we want to get them all touches. We want to get them all reps during camp. Again, we're in an evaluation process. We've got to see what these guys can do. We want to see LeGarrette (Blount) obviously in our system running our plays. We know with Darren (Sproles) and Wendell (Smallwood) coming off the injury from last season, so getting him back out there. Just a matter of getting them equal time.
"But at the same time, seeing how this time of year how they will play out and how they will fit into our offense going into the regular season."
On C.J. Smith being in the mix at cornerback: "Yeah, again, one of our young players. Excited to see him in camp. Now that we get the pads on, I thought he did a nice job yesterday. He's physical. Again, a second-year player coming in and having a lot of confidence in his ability, and we'll see where he's at as we keep going."
On what he’s seen out of Dillon Gordon: "Well, he was a tight end in college. Brought him in. Athletic guy. Big guy. Someone we felt could kind of get in that mold of the Jason Peters. Jason Peters, tight end guy, college. Started his first couple years as a tight end in the National Football League before converting to a tackle. I'm not comparing him to Jason, but that's the path that Jason took. It's very similar to Dillon. He's learning. A young player. He's just got to get better each day. Every rep that he gets is a valuable rep for him. Comes down to just the focus and just detailing his work. But he's done a nice job for us."
On the presence of LeGarrette Blount: "Well, I think just knowing and kind of watching him last year, what he did with New England on their Super Bowl run, just the impact that he had in the red zone. I constantly find myself going back and watching those touchdown runs that he had. He's a big, physical, downhill runner. I saw that yesterday in some of that inside-run period, the explosiveness. He's got great vision, great vision to make the jump cuts and read defensive linemen. But just that big body in the backfield I think can, for a defender, present a big problem, from a one-on-one tackling standpoint. Exciting to see him as we get going now in these games."
On if he watched all 18 touchdowns: "I did. I watched it a couple times this spring. Actually went back and watched it the other day."
On coaching players about the new crackback block rules: "Yeah, it's just a block that they want to take out. It's a player safety issue obviously. You can't block low, below the knee, back towards the football. It doesn't take the crack block out of it. You can still crack from the shoulder, you know, to the hip. You can still attack that area of the body. So all your cracks and things that teams do, you can still do that. You just can't block back towards the football below the knee, those backside cut blocks."