MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – No joint practice, no problem for Head Coach Nick Sirianni and the Eagles on Thursday, as the Miami Dolphins cited an "abundance of caution as a result of a non-COVID illness" when they announced that the morning practice would be canceled.
The Eagles went ahead and had an intrateam practice at the Dolphins' facility – offense wearing white jerseys and the defense wearing green jerseys – and finished with a 35-minute walkthrough as the team turned its attention to Saturday night's preseason finale against Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.
"I hope everybody with the Dolphins is OK," Sirianni said prior to the start of practice. "We don't have any symptoms on our side. That's why we're out here practicing today. Again, I'm not a doctor to know all these things, but after discussing with our trainers and doctors, we're good to go and good to practice and hope everybody in Miami feels good.
"Our guys know how to practice. They know how to come out here and compete. We'll talk through it right before practice starts, 'Hey, this is a high-intensity practice.' A lot of work with the 1s. We're going to get more work with the 1s here today and get after it, get better from this practice, like we try to do every time we come out and practice."
While the Eagles weren't able to have two joint days with Miami, Sirianni believes the intensity and tempo from Wednesday's practice was a benefit for the Eagles in many ways. It was the third such practice, including two at Cleveland a week earlier, the Eagles have had this summer.
"It helps, because you don't go out there every single week and play the same defense every single week. It's good to get against different schemes and that's one of the benefits of these joint practices. Obviously, we're bummed today that we can't go out and compete with them," Sirianni said. "But it really helps. Again, in Training Camp, you want to be able to play your rules on each individual play and handle any of the things that pop up. That's what I felt like our players did a good job of yesterday, is handling some of the unknowns.
"You have their whole playbook that they can throw at you. We just have to handle some of the unknowns by playing your rules, which will just get you better at your plays that you do and you want to execute."
The takeaway for the head coach in the context of the big picture? He certainly has one, and it isn't based on stats or X's and O's or talent vs. talent. When Sirianni became the Eagles' head coach, he said the team would be "tough" and play smart, fundamental football.
In his own football speak, he takes away that the Eagles are just that kind of team from what he's seen this summer – something that really became an Eagles trademark in the 2021 regular season – highlighted by what he's seen in the three joint practices.
"I think what we learned is that we are a physical bunch," Sirianni said. "I think that was what we learned last year as the year continued on is that this team is tough, this team is gritty and physical. I think they continue to show that through these joint practices."