- Jake Elliott thrived in pressure situations as a rookie last season. Head coach Doug Pederson came up with a way to challenge him in Friday's practice.
As practice wrapped up on Friday for the end of the week, ahead of an off-day Saturday and a nighttime practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, the team huddled together presumably to break before stretches and end practice.
But practice was, in fact, not over.
Head coach Doug Pederson made an offer. If kicker Jake Elliott could make a 45-yard field goal, there would be no team or position meetings Friday night. Everyone could go home early and get a head start on their day off.
Elliott, fresh off a 2017 season filled with clutch kicks, nailed it.
"It was all good, it's realistic," Elliott said in the locker room after practice. "Doug always throws in crazy situations like that so just trying to put a little more pressure on like a game situation. It's fun. It definitely puts you more in a game-like mode, so it's good to have extra pressure on."
Pederson stopped the music when the team initially huddled. Then, as Elliott lined up to kick, Pederson had the music turned back up. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who ran under the goalpost in anticipation, threw his hands up and pleaded for the music to stop.
It didn't matter. Elliott kicked through the noise and Cox, along with the rest of the team, sprinted at him in celebration.
"Yeah, man, everybody loves Bieber," Cox said, using a nickname affectionately given to Elliott by punter Donnie Jones last season. "Bieber always comes through. I had a little talk with him right before because I knew coach might throw some bones and that he might be included. And coach threw him some bones and Jake nailed it man."
Elliott became the team hero of the day, as did holder Cameron Johnston and long snapper Rick Lovato.
"I was like, 'OK, let's go do this thing,'" Lovato said. "It's a windy day today. Jake wasn't happy with the left-to-right winds. But the pressure was on the line but we got the kick done and everyone was pretty happy. Not too many people would be too pleased if we missed that kick so we had to go out there and make that kick."
The team was able to go home Friday after walk-throughs ending at 4:40 p.m. instead of going to meetings until 8 o'clock. With an off day tomorrow, everyone will regroup Sunday for the public practice at Lincoln Financial Field.
The kick is just one highlight of what has been a stellar camp for Jake Elliott. He also executed an onside kick on Friday, one he said was called surprisingly by the coaching staff.
"Jake is very comfortable," Lovato said. "He's very quick to the ball. We're very comfortable as a kicking group. I think we maybe missed one kick during team drills in the last three or four practices, if that. I'm pretty sure we've been perfect every time else. I'm pretty happy with the way things are going."