Under a perfect sun and the splendor of an early June day at the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles concluded their Organized Team Activities on Wednesday, highlighted by back-to-back Jalen Hurts deep throws down the right sideline in 7-on-7 drills – right on the money, perfect, against good coverage, completed for "touchdowns" to wide receivers John Hightower and Quez Watkins and with that came some fun posing and hooting and hollering and the kind of team chemistry and building camaraderie that carries a team into the dog days of Training Camp.
It's been that way throughout the spring, throughout this sparkling offseason for the Eagles who have done the job on and off the field to build from where they were last season – a playoff team that had a chance to see just where they were in a loss at Tampa Bay – and ramp things up in Year 2 for Head Coach Nick Sirianni and his coaching staff.
A team that enjoys everything that is coming its way on a daily basis.
"Nick and the coaches, they make it fun to come to work," running back Miles Sanders told me after practice on Wednesday. "We all go out there and work hard and have a good time. I think everybody is fired up to get back here for Training Camp."
That's really the main takeaway from the spring workouts and the two weeks of on-field, competitive work. The Eagles had a blueprint they put together heading into the roster-building phase of the offseason and they nailed it. Howie Roseman was aggressive and patient and creative and resourceful and the result was a roster that added key pieces throughout the defense and an offense that landed top wide receiver A.J. Brown and more depth (in second-round draft pick Cam Jurgens) at the line of scrimmage.
The coaching staff returned largely intact, which means the world to quarterback Jalen Hurts and the offense. Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon spent the spring integrating the new players – potential impact additions like cornerback James Bradberry, edge standout Haason Reddick, young and speedy linebackers Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean along with No. 1 draft pick Jordan Davis.
When the players gathered for the offseason program, they returned to the same energy Sirianni and his staff introduced in 2021 – an infectious brand that features connecting and competing and creating a collegiate atmosphere in an NFL setting.
"It works because the coaches are genuine, and they live that way. They bring it every day so we bring it every day," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "We've got all these young guys here and it's fun to see them all enjoy putting in the work. The young pups know how to get it done."
Four weeks on the field ended on Wednesday, with a long pause until Training Camp begins on July 26 in South Philadelphia. The players know they need to report ready to go because the breaking-in period is over.
Sirianni talked about the growth in the basics – technique, the little things – that he saw throughout the four weeks on the field, and more than any individual talent or group philosophy, that's his teaching point from the spring: It worked the way he wanted it to work because the coaches drilled down to the finer points and the players responded.
One of those core principles, fundamental football, occupied center stage this spring in South Philadelphia.
"The fundamentals should be being built right now," he said. "When you have a practice when you have five, six periods of 'team' periods, well naturally your individual time is going to shrink. We were able today to have 35 minutes – or whatever it was, I don't have the exact time here – we were able to have 35 minutes of time perfecting our fundamentals. And really, at the end of the day, we're going to call a good play, they're (opponent) going to call a good play. This player is going to be pretty good and this player is going to be pretty good. ... Well, what gives in a scenario like that? Fundamentals.
"This is why I love this time of year so much. We've had these long periods of 'individual' where we're perfecting our fundamentals. That's what I noticed most – the fundamentals. I could see guys getting better and better."
At the end of the spring, the Eagles pause on a very, very high note. They're a healthy team. They're a deep and talented team. They're a young team with a great blend of experience and that taste of the postseason last year, well, it just makes the entire team want more.
"We're all going to do our work and come back and compete in Training Camp," linebacker Davion Taylor said after he met the media. "We connected as a linebacker group this spring. We all helped each other have success and I know what's going to happen when camp starts – we're going to push each other and that will only make each one of us the best we can be. That's what you want as a football player. You want to be your best and I feel that's where we are right now."