NOW that the Eagles have gone back to practicing like a professional football team again, there has been a rash of contact related injuries. Some to key players. While these injuries have been minor and run of the mill for NFL teams during Training Camp, they have many fans here (and some young players) spooked. To my fellow fans, let me say calm down. The hitting is back. And so are we.
Years ago, former Eagles RB Brian Westbrook said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said “No one is really healthy after that first hit in Training Camp.” He may have been half joking when he said it, but it was only half joking. What he was doing there was dispensing some time-worn wisdom. Under Andy Reid it was standard procedure to hit in Camp. If you recall, Westbrook played on some pretty good Eagles teams. No fan seemed concerned about hitting back then.
After three years of tea-dance practices, (held by a coach who never won an NFL playoff game, and whose teams fell apart EVERY YEAR), fans are now questioning the time-worn wisdom that used to make us a successful franchise. Putting aside the utter and complete contempt that emanates from the core of my soul for (TIK), the empirical data of how his approach has worked out, should have fans dying to go back to doing what we’re doing, because we’ve all seen it work.
Worse than fans panicking, players like TE Zach Ertz, who never went to camp under another NFL head coach, are irked by the nature and ferocity of the hitting. Specifically, he took issue with a DB going low to take him down. This is hilarious when you consider that this been the way that 190 pound DB’s generally tackle 250 pound TE’s. (This also serves as another example of the prior regime’s poor developmental management of it’s draft picks.)
Head Coach Doug Pederson didn’t invent hitting in camp, but he trusts it because he has seen it work. If you’ve been an Eagles fan for longer than 7 years, you are likely also familiar with the results that those methods yield. Getting away from those methods led nowhere that we wanted to be. It led to a soft team that lacked a killer instinct when we needed it most.
I’m not saying that Pederson should go as far as ^Buddy Ryan^ did, and encourage mayhem at his own practices, but ferocity is not a switch you flip on and off. If you want to see it at all this season, then it needs to be instilled at camp. Especially among the young players.
I can’t speak for you, but as a native Philadelphian, the only things I want soft are my pretzels and my Amorosos. I have no desire to keep rooting for a soft football team, and it seems like our new HC has no desire to present us with one. So I for one, am glad the hitting is back.