Eagles Gearing Up for Live Periods, Added Competition in Training Camp

This spring at the NovaCare Complex, Eagles practices had a new look.
While the team still did all the normal position and team drills, the Eagles also had several "competition periods" during which head coach Doug Pederson would split the team onto two fields and work on certain situations like fourth down, red zone or two-point plays.
"As they say, iron sharpens iron," Pederson said in a pre-training camp media availability. "Your senses are on high alert, your juices are flowing, it makes you better as a football team. And within the umbrella of competition, it's also situational football."
Pederson has had competitions in the weight room, races throughout the spring and even a pop-a-shot video game appeared in the locker room this spring. Competition all around.
But the real competition has been on the field.
"It takes the grind of practice away and it makes it fun for them," Pederson said. "And it's just a short little blast. It's five or six plays. You saw us split the field this spring, which was new. And it helps develop our younger guys and it helps develop our younger coaches. The coaching staffs were split too. I think it's all just beneficial in development."
Pederson splits the field during these periods, sending the first teams to face off against each other under the direction of the Eagles' position coaches. The second and third teams take to a different field under the direction of assistant position coaches.
The idea came to Pederson last season and he began these competition periods about halfway through the season; these periods had nothing to specifically do with the game plan for the week.
They carried over into this spring and the Eagles will continue to use them during training camp this summer. Pederson is planning on five days in camp with those competition periods on split fields.
"It's working on a situation of football that is non-related to the game plan that week, offensively and defensively, but just being able to work a third-down scenario or a red-zone scenario during the regular season because those are critical areas we need to get better at as a team," the head coach said. "Third down needs to get better on offense and we need to get better in the red zone."
These competition periods are important to Pederson and he said he hasn't been a part of a team that has used them before. In fact, when asked about the ways he's separated himself from his mentor Andy Reid, these periods were one of the things he brought up.
One area where Pederson hasn't separated from Reid is the inclusion of live hitting during training camp. While the days of two-a-days with live periods during camp are long gone, Pederson still thinks it's important for his players to hit during training camp.
Pederson is planning on having three days with live tackling in camp, including two before the first preseason game in Green Bay on Aug. 10. In this respect, this training camp will be a lot like last year's, although it seemed like Pederson backed off the intensity once Jordan Matthews was hit in the knee by then-rookie Jalen Mills.
Still, last year hasn't stopped Pederson from wanting his team to hit.
"Injuries are a part of the game and it's unfortunate, but I feel it's important that guys hit. It's a physical game," Pederson said. "It's hard sometimes to just show up on game day and put the pads on and go hit if you haven't prepared for it. You obviously have to be smarter in the regular season, obviously not hitting during the season, but three live days I think is plenty. ... It gets them into that physical mentality you want, especially in training camp."

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