After hosting the New England Patriots at the NovaCare Complex for joint practices last year, the Philadelphia Eagles returned the favor, spending the past couple days scrimmaging in Foxboro, Massachusetts ahead of Friday’s preseason encounter.
While I wasn’t able to attend myself, I was a spectator in 2013, and it was really something else watching two squads work against one another in that type of format. Of course, this year was much different in that Tuesday’s practice was open to the public rather than just a few hundred season ticket holders and corporate sponsors.
Patriots opened up gates 2 Gillette Stadium so overflow fans could watch from ramps overlooking practice fields. Never seen anything like it— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 12, 2014
Birds eye view of Eagles-Patriots practice: pic.twitter.com/fssLKsysgc— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) August 12, 2014
Unfortunately, inclement weather closed Wednesday’s practice to the public. Despite heavy rain, the two squads managed to get another session in this morning.
Aside from the fact that there are two entirely different teams on the field, the practices run a lot differently than what Eagles fans might be accustomed to seeing or hearing about.
Eagles practicing out of a huddle, with no music, not at fast pace. Different for a Chip Kelly practicing. Huddling avoids showing signals— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) August 12, 2014
The big story last year was how much further ahead the Patriots were than the Eagles in almost every aspect. Of course, the Pats are a perennial Super Bowl contender with three rings under the current head coach/quarterback combo. The Eagles hadn’t played so much as a single preseason game under Chip prior to last year’s joint practices.
Still, Tom Brady was really something to behold. Pretty much the only time a ball would touch the ground is when it was dropped by the intended target.
Based on reports, that wasn’t the case this time around.
Brady up now. He was unstoppable last summer in joint practices— Dave Spadaro (@davespadaro) August 12, 2014
Practice over. #Eagles D looks so much better than it did last year— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) August 12, 2014
Will say this: Tom Brady isn't lighting up the #Eagles defense like he did last year.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 12, 2014
For Nick Foles’ part, it sounds like he held his own against the future Hall of Fame signal-caller. Some are even saying the third-year passer out-dueled Brady.
That's it. Foles was surgical today #Eagles— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) August 12, 2014
Perhaps the most interesting battle to follow was Eagles No. 1 receiver working against Darrelle Revis, widely considered one of if not the best cornerbacks in the NFL. From the sound of things, Maclin was getting along just fine, although he did leave practice early on Wednesday with an injury. The hamstring is said to be unrelated to the knee that cost him the entire 2013 season.
Maclin said he pulled left hamstring on long TD. Did not return. Said feels OK now. Hoping to play Friday. Was having very good couple days.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 13, 2014
Jeremy Maclin continues to toast Darrelle Revis in 1 on 1s. Looked right at us after beating him as if to say, "You reporters catch that?"— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 13, 2014
Should point out: I am not under the impression that Darrelle Revis is giving anywhere near 100 pct in these drills. Has little to prove.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 13, 2014
It’s always interesting to see what kind of methods another team uses, and apparently in New England, kickers have a much smaller margin for error. This goal post appears to be roughly half the width of the traditional size—and apparently it really exposed Carey Spear, aka Murderleg, the Eagles’ undrafted rookie who will not be taking Alex Henery’s job.
Think Chip Kelly would approve of this field goal post: pic.twitter.com/QzppCQyaZK— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 12, 2014
Carey Spear is the worst kicker I've ever seen.— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 13, 2014
The Eagles and Patriots will hold a walkthrough tomorrow before resuming their rivalry in Friday’s preseason affair. Until then, we’ll leave you with the lighter side of training camp.
Media tent located 10 yards behind goal posts. @SheilKapadia almost impaled as he types away on his laptop, unaware of incoming helicopter.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) August 12, 2014
Vince Wilfork looks like two XXL men sharing a XXXL jersey.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) August 12, 2014
LeSean McCoy just gave an unsuspecting @Jeff_McLane a very hard butt slap.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) August 13, 2014
Have fun climbing across your center console, Masshole. pic.twitter.com/Lc75e72qtz— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) August 12, 2014