Voluntary offseason programs began on Monday across the NFL as limited numbers reported for work. Citing concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, players from the Philadelphia Eagles opted out from in-person workouts at the team’s practice facility.
The issue isn’t restricted to Philly since 20 different teams have followed suit, with full support from the NFL Players Association. Players from the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers were the only ones to physically report. The league announced a three-phase opening plan for voluntary spring workouts starting with virtual meetings on April 19 and ramping up to OTAs (organized team activities) starting on May 24.
The NFL has laid out its plan for a three-phase offseason program. From a memo to teams today:
Apr 19-May 14: All virtual meetings, weight rooms open
May 17-21: No contact on-field drills allowed, meetings still virtual
May 24-June 18: Ten OTA days plus a mandatory minicamp
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 14, 2021
For now, the Eagles will sit everything out. Not a big deal in a normal year. However, the arrival of new head coach Nick Sirianni and his young coaching staff could pose a problem down the line. The spring is a time for team bonding more than intense drilling. Chalk it up to fear over health and safety protocols.
“The ongoing pandemic is obviously still an issue for our city and our country, and it is unnecessary for us to put ourselves at risk in this environment,” Eagles players said in a statement. “We also know what the data shows about our health and safety.”
A statement from the Philadelphia Eagles players: pic.twitter.com/uhxjqDxVXd
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) April 18, 2021
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Eagles Offensive Coordinator Knows Defense
Shane Steichen brings extensive experience as a young offensive mind, one largely credited for helping to develop Justin Herbert in Los Angeles. But the 35-year-old offensive coordinator actually started his NFL coaching career on the defensive side of the ball. He served as a defensive assistant for two seasons (2011-12) for the San Diego Chargers after leaving the University of Louisville. Steichen credited those years for shaping his knowledge of offensive concepts.
The #Eagles have agreed to terms with former #Chargers OC Shane Steichen as their new offensive coordinator, source said. He was key in the development of rookie star Justin Herbert, as new coach Nick Sirianni has quickly moved to fill his staff.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2021
“The way defensive coaches looked at offensive football and how they dissect it from how they wanted to cover guys defensively and what offenses did, and looking at their tendencies, and how they broke an offense down was very intriguing to me,” Steichen told the Eagles Insider Podcast, via the team’s website. “Just to be a part of that for two years was invaluable because now when I flip back on the offensive side of the ball in 2013, I had a great understanding of what defenses were trying to do defensively to take away certain things and the coverage techniques they played, and how they wanted to match routes up.”
‘Fire Howie’ Chants Unleashed at Phillies Game
This could be a random act of vitriol — or it could be the new normal. A random “Fire Howie” chant — a reference to embattled Eagles GM Howie Roseman — broke out Sunday in the fourth inning of the Phillies-Giants game in South Philadelphia. The NFL draft is only 10 days away, too.
— Barstool Philly (@BarstoolPhilly) April 20, 2021
It’s no secret that Eagles fans are none too pleased with Roseman but to hear the chant erupt at a baseball game is noteworthy. The contagious E-A-G-L-E-S chant is normal at the ballpark in the summer months, but frustrations over the organization’s salary cap issues and poor drafting are starting to boil over. It could be a long 2021 if things don’t get turned around quickly.