Elise Person worked with PhiladelphiaEagles.com as our Junior Reporter during the Eagles' Training Camp practice on July 30. Person took special interest in Chip Kelly's efficient use of practice time ...
At a recent closed practice during the 2014 Eagles Training Camp, the high energy circulating throughout the NovaCare Complex was undeniable. As the players ran out onto the field, offense in green, defense in white, and quarterbacks in red, their excitement and anticipation for the season filled the air. The question on my mind as an observer was "Can the Eagles use their excitement and team chemistry to have another successful season under Coach Chip Kelly's offense?"
It was very noticeable that a key theme to the practice was positivity. During Chip Kelly's press conference, he was asked about some of the players having their children at the practice.
"It's positive that fathers and sons can be together in the work environment," Kelly replied.
There is very little to say negatively about the Eagles practice. Every player looked to be giving 100 percent out on the field. About the rookies, quarterback Nick Foles, said "They are stepping up. They can't be playing like rookies and none of them are."
During Kelly's practice, efficiency is paramount. The practice is set up into periods of four minutes and during these periods the players have a specific drill they work on. When the period is over, each player runs to the next station. Kelly has the players sprint both so they can use the full four minutes and to condition. Once the players are at the next station, they can take a quick water break. Kelly makes sure each player can get as many touches as possible. For example, in one offensive drill, they had all four quarterbacks passing to four wide receivers at the same time. At one point during the drill, Kelly was throwing to the wide receivers as well to make sure each player could get the maximum amount of touches. All the coaches make the drills as game-like as possible. When the offense is running pass patterns, coaches simulate a defensive line by wearing large black screens on their shoulders to give the quarterback a realistic look of a defender's hand blocking the pass.
The one aspect of practice that's not quite game-like is tackling, or the lack thereof. If the coaches want to practice tackling, it is in a slow and controlled drill.
While the players are practicing, loud music plays throughout the NovaCare Complex. This music serves a dual purpose because it gets the players enthusiastic while also providing a loud, game-like environment. During a live game, the stadium plays music and there are screaming fans. The music forces players and coaches to project their voices to be heard by every player on the field.
By simply watching practice, it is clear to see how well the players are jelling together. This team chemistry can get them far in the season. An example of this is when the offense and defense are scrimmaging and the defense knocks down a pass or gets an interception, the entire defense is cheering for their teammate that just made the play. It's not only the team out on the line of scrimmage that's cheering, but the entire sideline of players. After a great play, the players will jump on each other or leap for a high five. The team chemistry is very strong and this alone could take them far.
After practice, I interviewed Nick Foles and Connor Barwin about their goals personally and as a team.
"My personal goals are to help the guys around me become better players," Foles said. "And as a team, of course you want to win, but I think the big thing is growing together as a team, growing together as guys, and making the most of every moment."
"I think my personal goals and the team goals are the same and it's just to be better than I was and we were last year," agreed Barwin.
Can the Eagles use their excitement and team chemistry to have another successful season under Coach Chip Kelly's offense? The team's high energy and tempo put them in a position to be competitive. Add the raw talent this team possesses and, if all goes well, they could be unstoppable. Believe the hype that Chip Kelly and the Eagles are bound for another amazing season.