Two weeks of classroom work and conditioning, Phase 1 of the offseason, are complete. Next up for the Eagles is a voluntary minicamp at the NovaCare Complex and a chance to see the players on the football field.
"Early on, it's all about the mental side," head coach Doug Pederson said, "but these guys have been studying, throwing quizzes at them and tests at them and they've really responded well, so I look forward to having good things happen."
While it won't be in pads, and while there won't be any contact, there will be 11-on-11, offense-vs.-defense work and the Eagles are going to take the X's and O's learned in Phase 1 of the offseason and apply them in a voluntary team minicamp which begins Monday when players report to the NovaCare Complex.
The on-field portion of the camp runs Tuesday through Thursday. No one-on-one drills are permitted during the week.
Pederson was pleased with what he saw during Phase 1, which lasted two weeks and consisted of conditioning work and classroom meetings for the players.
"I saw a lot of workouts. I saw a lot of guys that were energetic about being here, about being back," he said. "The offseason is long now with the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), but guys were energetic, guys were into it. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks."
Following this week's voluntary camp, the Eagles move into Phase 2 of the offseason.
"We had a great first two weeks," defensive end Connor Barwin said. "It's great to hear from the coaches, everybody looks good and it's been an exciting first two weeks."
Barwin likes what he knows, in the limited sample size, of Jim Schwartz's defensive scheme.
"It is without a doubt an attack scheme, and that's exciting for any defensive lineman and definitely for me to always be on the attack on defense," said Barwin, who is transitioning from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a 4-3 end. "It's exciting for me."
Phase 2 lasts up to three weeks and gives coaches and players a chance to get on the field and execute, albeit at a slower pace and without contact, the schemes and concepts taught through the first two weeks of the offseason program.
Players are still limited in the amount of time they are able to spend at the NovaCare Complex on Mondays through Thursdays with coaches' supervision and instruction. In their daily routine of conditioning, meeting time and now the on-field work, players are permitted to be at the NovaCare Complex for four days of the week.
Once Phase 2 is complete, the Eagles move into the final offseason block, called Organized Team Activities. During that four-week period of time, the Eagles can line up in 11-on-11, offense-vs.-defense drills, still without contact and minus pads (the players wear helmets, shells instead of shoulder pads and shorts) but the tempo is faster and more competitive.
Before all of that is the voluntary minicamp and a chance to see the players on the field.
"The objective, No. 1, is just learning the offensive and defensive schemes and then mixing in a little special teams and then really getting a chance, coaching wise, of seeing our players out on the football field going through the drills, seeing who understands the playbook that we've installed the first two weeks and just get a feel for our football team," Pederson said. "Everyone is looking forward to take the next step."
Helmets go on, the players line up and knock some of the rust off their bodies and the first real sign of football, on the field, happens from Tuesday through Thursday. Jobs aren't necessarily going to be won in these three days, but the Eagles' coaching staff has a chance to get an up-close, on-field look at the roster. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has shown his defensive players film of the schemes he ran in Detroit and Buffalo. Now, for the first time, he can have them watch Eagles players in the Eagles' defensive scheme, albeit in a voluntary minicamp format.
"I think everyone is ready to see where we are at this point," Barwin said. "It's going to be fun to get out there and play some football."