For anyone who's had the opportunity to watch the Eagles in action on the practice field this offseason, the team's high energy level has stood out. From the constant yapping of the defensive line and the playful trash-talk between the cornerbacks and wide receivers to the speed of practice, the Eagles are in regular season mode in many ways. The majority of the credit for that atmosphere, according to head coach Andy Reid, begins with the team's star quarterback.
"Michael knows what he needs to do and he's worked like crazy and one of the reasons that we've had the attendance here that we've had and one of the reasons ... is because of Michael Vick," said Reid after Tuesday's minicamp practice. "Michael Vick was here. He didn't miss a workout. He's the one generating that energy. He's the one that's making the players around him be here and demanding stuff from them. He's done a great job of that this offseason."
As he prepares for his third season as quarterback of Eagles, Vick has been peppered with questions about his ability to stay on the field. Reid says that he trusts Vick to do what needs to be done in the best interests of the team.
"He knows there's just a time and a place where he's got to go down or go out of bounds," said Reid. "Other than that, you go play. You go play your game."
With two days left before the Eagles break "phase three" of the offseason and enter the lull before training camp, Reid is using these minicamps to prepare the team, especially the younger players, for what lies ahead.
"Things we were trying to get out of this was an introduction to the meeting schedule and practice schedule for the upcoming Lehigh camp, along with the combination of what they're going to be doing during the season," Reid said. "So we did a walkthrough during the morning, a little bit shorter than we do in Lehigh, it was an hour long, and then we came out here for our two and a half hours. Those were all under the regulations that the NFL gives you for this camp. But really the format was still the same - a little bit shorter, but still the same. I was happy the way the guys flew around. Now, we're coming into this camp with an advantage because we've had OTAs, we've had phase one and phase two so the guys basically know what they're doing and can fly around a little bit and compete against each other."
Finally, Reid addressed the decision to flip the training camp practice schedule, moving the walkthrough to the morning and the pads-on practice to the afternoon.
"The change in the afternoon practice, I met with (head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder) to talk with him just about recovery time," said Reid. "We've been presented these new rules, so we're going to do our walkthrough in the morning. In the afternoon, it will allow the players to be hydrated coming into practice, along with getting two meals under their belt. Hopefully that with the ability to be walking around and stretching and getting their lift in, they'll come in and have a good practice and limit their injuries."
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