The Philadelphia Eagles have typically had joint practices during training camp over the past few years, but those plans will change in 2018. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed the team will not set up joint practices with any team this season, giving a “because” answer (literally).
“I don’t think it’s an every-year thing,” Pederson said. “I think last year it was great for us. It was a great change up for us to go against Miami. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Teams are already booked. Teams are already full. Teams are doing other things. For us, it’s just let’s just get better as a team.”
The one team the Eagles could have conducted a joint practice with was the New England Patriots, who the team will face in Week 2 of the preseason. New England doesn’t have a joint practice scheduled with any team yet and it likely wouldn’t be the best idea for the two teams that faced off in Super Bowl 52 just six months later, even though the attendance in Foxboro would have been massive.
The Eagles have had joint practices with a team at the NovaCare Complex over the last couple years. Last season, Pederson hosted the Miami Dolphins at the conclusion of training camp, while the Eagles have also hosted the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots over the past few seasons. Philadelphia has never had a joint practice on the road.
The Eagles are beginning their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions with minicamp underway! Make sure to stay in the loop for all Eagles news throughout the offseason — take five seconds to sign up for our FREE Eagles newsletter now!
This year’s preseason schedule made things difficult for the Eagles to host a joint practice as the team travels to Foxboro to face the Patriots in Week 2 of the preseason and the Cleveland Browns in Week 3, the weeks joint practices are usually held. Philadelphia hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 and the New York Jets in Week 4, which is too early to host a joint practice and Week 4 is the final week of the preseason (training camp is far over by then).
Another reason the Eagles may not want a joint practice is Carson Wentz and his recovery from a torn ACL and LCL. The last issue Pederson needs is a team taking shots at Wentz in a live contact drill and risk further injury. A joint practice could hurt his rehab back and his progress toward starting the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons on September 6.
A quirk in the Eagles schedule has Pederson and the team traveling to Dallas in Week 14 for a 4:25 p.m. game then heading out to Los Angeles to face the Rams on Sunday Night Football in Week 15. Last season, Pederson had the Eagles spend a week out in Los Angeles when they traveled to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13 and played Los Angeles in Week 14, instead of going back East in between games.
This season, Pederson may have the Eagles go home in between Dallas and Los Angeles, which could play a role in deciding not to have the joint practices. Regardless, Pederson made one decision for the team’s 2018 schedule, but still have plenty of small issues to work out in the weeks ahead.
“I haven’t really thought too much about that. Just the way everything’s fallen right now, the times of the games and different things,” Pederson said in May. “We’ve had success going out to the West Coast the day before. You think of the Chargers game and stuff like that. We’re processing all that right now. We’ll have more answers probably later in the summer.”