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As the Eagles came off the NovaCare Complex practice fields on Monday following the team’s first OTA under new head coach Chip Kelly, a few players paused to talk about the two-hour session. There were noticeable differences in the way Kelly ran practice compared to his predecessor. So how was it?
“Interesting,” offensive lineman Todd Herremans said simply, and with a smirk.
That summed it up nicely. Some notes about the new workout format and Kelly’s unique approach:
• The practice featured more than 20 distinct periods, far more than Andy Reid ran. Players sprinted from one drill to another. In between active periods, there were slower sessions dedicated to instruction.
• The periods were announced by an automated voice that boomed through a loudspeaker. “Period nine: teach.” And so on. The computerized updates were in place of staff member Greg Delimitros, who used to shout the name of each period as players separated on the field. Delimitros is now the head equipment manager and one of the coaches performing hand signals on the sideline.
• About the hand signals: Coaches and players relayed plays through various gestures. Rather than huddle around position coaches with charts and play sheets, the players looked to the sidelines to find out what came next. Often, there were at least four different people making assorted motions at the same time.
• In team drills, five different quarterbacks threw passes at the same time to five different receivers.
• There’s currently no fullback on the roster. Kelly and the players indicated that those duties will likely fall to one of the tight ends as needed.
• The media was asked to sit on concrete bleachers just beyond the sideline. Under Andy Reid, that area was considered off limits to all practice spectators. The restrictions on reporters – who weren’t allowed to Tweet about or watch practices last season – have been relaxed considerably. (Reid once dispatched a staffer to ask a female reporter to stand up after she took a knee along the sideline on a particularly hot and humid afternoon.)
• And then there was the music. There was lots of it, and it was loud. The playlist:
“On Fire,” Young Dro; “Thunderstruck,” ACDC; “Panama,” Van Halen; “Crazy Train,” Ozzy Osbourne; “Hungry Like a Wolf,” Duran Duran; “Stronger,” Kanye West; “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” Scorpion; “California Love,” 2Pac/Dr. Dre; “Chasing The Sun,” The Wanted; “Pound The Alarm,” Nicki Minaj; “Get It Started,” Pitbull; “Goin’ It,” Jennifer Lopez; “Hero,” Nas; “Good Feeling,” Flo Rida; “Shipping Up To Boston,” Dropkick Murphys; “Turn Me On,” David Guetta; “Starships,” Nicki Minaj; “What Is Love,” Haddaway; “Chasing Summers,” Tiesto; “We Will Rock You,” Queen; “Foreign Exchange Student,” XV; “Party Rock,” LMFAO; “I Love It,” Icona Pop; “Don’t You Worry Now,” Swedish House Mafia.
Kelly said there was “some science behind” the music.
"It started when we were at New Hampshire and then as I moved to Oregon. It was a little different when I was a coordinator and then changed a little bit more when I became the head coach," Kelly said. "We want to be efficient in our time. We don't want to be on the field for a long time -- want to maximize the time we're on the field, and obviously you see us go from tempo periods to teach periods. There's a rhyme or reason to what we're doing, time on task versus time teaching, and I think there's a good balance of that. We want to get them in and get them out. But we also have to get a certain amount of work in."
Quarterback Nick Foles said it helped simulate the noise and distractions they might face in a game – an assertion one reporter balked at, noting that in-game distractions don’t often sound like Nicki Minaj.
“That would be nice,” Foles quipped. “It was quite a selection.”