Now that felt like training camp.
With temperatures in the high 80s and in full pads, the Eagles had their first live tackle-to-the-ground periods of training camp on Tuesday morning.
"It did feel good," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "It felt good to see where we're at when we're actually playing live. That was as close to a game as you're going to get."
Tuesday was the first of just three days that will include tackling during this training camp. Head coach Doug Pederson previously said he wanted to get two tackling days in before the first preseason game in Green Bay on Aug. 10.
If nothing else, the tackling added some juice to practice on Tuesday.
"Guys did a great job of coming out and being physical, making plays when they were there, and having fun with it," Jordan Matthews said. "It's football. Coach Pederson loves a physical training camp, so just embrace it and go in head first with it."
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Pederson said the key to Tuesday was protection. He didn't want anyone to get hurt and the Eagles were successful with that. Last year during a live period, a then-rookie Jalen Mills tackled Matthews low at the knees and Matthews is still dealing with the lingering knee injury. On Tuesday, Pederson said he stressed to his secondary to keep their targets high on receivers.
"That was good to see," Pederson said. "At the same time, it's part of the conditioning process of the bodies and the mind. And understanding that football is a physical game and we need to do this from time to time."
All eyes on Carson
These days Carson Wentz is part football quarterback, part rock star in Philadelphia. At least it seemed that way at Sunday's open practice, when 23,000 people showed up to cheer on the franchise QB.
"It was cool," Wentz said. "I was kind of blown away. ... You can just tell the atmosphere here, the passion here and just how excited everyone is for Eagles football this year. It was really cool being there and getting to see the fans for the first time in a while."
While Wentz is a big deal in Philadelphia, he's seemingly an even bigger deal in his home state of North Dakota. Wentz said he's had a chance to see a video of a family from North Dakota get emotional during an interview with 6ABC about the chance to come to Philly to watch him practice.
WOW! Carson Wentz Fans Cry Talking about their love for the @Eagles QB!
Anderson Family Traveled from @NorthDakota to see @cj_wentz 🏈 pic.twitter.com/4ptnseOgfy— Jeff Skversky 6abc (@JeffSkversky) July 29, 2017
"Just to know that I have that support," Wentz said, "obviously, in Philly, the fan support is unbelievable, but knowing that fan support extends back home, the same fans I've had since I was even a kid, at college at North Dakota State. Seeing how much passion they still have and how much they follow me, it's definitely humbling. It's definitely humbling. But it's also really cool to recognize that I have that influence. I'm very fortunate."
Wentz was then asked why he thinks he elicits that kind of emotion.
"I don't really know," he answered. "I just tell everyone I'm a normal dude that's blessed to play this game. I think it's cool. From North Dakota, there's not a lot of big things that come out of there nationally, so I think it's just a lot of North Dakota pride that comes with it. So it's pretty cool."
Cool with Kendricks?
Last week, veteran linebacker Mychal Kendricks, unhappy with his lack of playing time, came out and admitted he asked for the Eagles to either trade or cut him in January.
The Eagles did not oblige.
And now, Kendricks is still with the team, working during training camp. He's still not in the team's nickel package, which is setting up another season for a similar and unsatisfying workload.
"Listen, Mychal is on our football team. We're excited to have him," Pederson said on Tuesday. "We understand and he understands it's predicated by a lot of offensive personnel. You watch our offense, we're in a lot of that 11 or zebra personnel (three wide receivers) and there's only two linebackers on the field. So it is unfortunate but we're excited to have Mychal, he's working hard and in a good position right now."