Eagles-Patriots observations: Teams endure driving rain

Eagles-Patriots observations: Teams endure driving rain
August 13, 2014, 3:00 pm
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The Eagles-Patriots joint practice was moved from 2 p.m. to 9 a.m., and the players worked through heavy rain. (AP)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Chip Kelly likes to say his team will play anywhere against anyone, even in a parking lot. On Wednesday, the Eagles' coach said his team would even play in rain gear. 

“Put some galoshes on and go play, I guess basically is it,” he said.

Steady rain doused the New England region while the Eagles and Patriots continued joint practices, slogging along on the fields outside Gillette Stadium for the second and final day of intense combined sessions.

Players from both teams endured slippery conditions and an occasional deluge for almost two hours. Some took delight in the elements.

“Yeah, old school practice today,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “Went out there, had to weather the elements. It was kind of slick. But I think we did all right.”

Kelly is always harping on preparation for adverse conditions, be it extreme noise or inclement weather. Both coaches could have agreed to have a light, isolated practice inside the Patriots’ indoor facility and come back Thursday for the second joint practice.

Instead, with forecasts calling for late-afternoon thunderstorms, Kelly and Bill Belichick agreed to move practice from 2 p.m. to 9 a.m. and push through the heavy rain.

“When I was at Louisville we had practices like this all time,” first-round pick Marcus Smith said. “It doesn’t change the outcome. Still go out there and play, whether it’s rain, sleet, snow whatever. That’s definitely football weather. It didn’t bother me one bit to be out there in the rain and going.”

Other observations from the second joint practice:

Rising stock
For the second straight day, Jeremy Maclin got the best of the New England secondary. After roasting All Pro corner Darrelle Revis for a long touchdown Tuesday, Maclin came back and scorched safety Devin McCourty on a well-executed play action from Nick Foles for another touchdown of more than 40 yards. However, Maclin tweaked his hamstring on the play.

Falling stock
Tie between cornerback Roc Carmichael and kicker Cary Spear. Carmichael got picked on in 7-on-7s by Pats rookie quarterback Jimmy Garropolo, then lost his cool against cornerback Brandon Browner in a punt coverage drill, then got torched by Julian Edelman on a touchdown pass from Tom Brady at the end of practice.

Spear deserves his own category for level of ineptitude, constantly pushing attempts wide on a separate practice field. He also blew a 55-yard attempt at the end of an 11-on11 drills, and it wasn’t even close.

On the opposite end of one practice field the Pats have goalposts that are built more narrow, about half the width of regulation goalposts. Spear missed all but one attempt on those, then missed several more on regulation ones, prompting this tweet from Reuben Frank:

Hand of the Day
Tight end James Casey needed just one hand — his right — to snare a touch pass from Matt Barkley after he beat Pats safety Duron Harmon (a Dover, Del.-area native) down the middle for a big gain.

Almost of the Day
Mark Sanchez showed poise and patience in a red zone drill, going through his progressions before finding Jordan Matthews on the back line of the end zone for a touchdown. Except it wasn’t because Matthews had one foot out of bounds.

Revenge of the Day
Pats safety Patrick Chung burned his former team with a juggling interception of a Nick Foles pass in traffic intended for Jordan Matthews. The ball was tipped and fell into Chung’s hands, but only after a few bobbles.

Wide receiver Arrelious Benn took a lot more first-team reps with Maclin tweaking his hamstring. With Riley Cooper still not practicing, the most common three-wide formation featured Benn and Ifeanyi Momah with Brad Smith in the slot. Jordan Matthews subbed in at times. ... Curtis Marsh came through with another pass breakup. ... Nose tackle Bennie Logan did everything for the second straight day and expects to play Friday. … Once again, Nate Allen took first-team safety reps opposite Malcolm Jenkins. ... Kelly wasn’t ready to announce his rotations for the preseason game.

Injury update
Rookie cornerback Jaylen Watkins tweaked his hamstring Tuesday and didn’t practice. No change for others who continued to miss practice: cornerback Nolan Carroll, Chris Polk, David Fluellen, Matthew Tucker and Jake Knott.

Up next
The Eagles and Patriots will have a walkthrough session Thursday as a final tuneup for Friday’s preseason game at Gillette Stadium.

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