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Will the Eagles treat preseason differently this year?

Wondering if starters might see more playing time than usual.

Baltimore Ravens v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL offseason has been anything but normal as the world navigates through the coronavirus pandemic. One of the latest precautions in These Usual Times™ is how the league isn’t allowing joint training camp practices this year.

Such a development is relevant to the Philadelphia Eagles, who’ve held joint training camp practices at the NovaCare Complex in two out of Doug Pederson’s previous four summers as head coach. The Eagles also participated in three joint training camp practices under Chip Kelly from 2013 through 2015. The organization has clearly valued the opportunity to take practice reps against other teams.

The rise in NFL joint training camp practices has also coincided with teams being more cautious about playing their starters during meaningless preseason games. The Eagles took an especially conservative approach in this regard last year by preventing Carson Wentz and other key players from making any exhibition appearances.

But one must wonder if the Eagles might adjust their preseason plan this year. With OTAs and minicamp not happening, teams aren’t getting the same amount of reps as they usually would. The Eagles and other clubs could look to fill the void by increasing preseason snaps for their starters.

History suggests this could be the case. Just look back at how the Eagles have handled their first team units during the Pederson era:

PRESEASON SNAP COUNTS

2016

Week 1 — 12 snaps
Week 2 — 29 snaps
Week 3 — 35 snaps
Week 4 — 0 snaps

2017

Week 1 — 13 snaps
Week 2 — 18 snaps
Week 3 — 20 snaps
Week 4 — 0 snaps

2018

Week 1 — 15 snaps
Week 2 — 21 snaps
Week 3 — 33 snaps
Week 4 — 0 snaps

2019

Week 1 — 11 snaps
Week 2 — 13 snaps
Week 3 — 18 snaps
Week 4 — 0 snaps

The Eagles played their starters for about 76 snaps in 2016 and 69 snaps (nice) in 2018. Contrast those counts with 51 in 2017 and 42 in 2019. The difference between those groupings is that the Eagles practiced against the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens in the odd numbered years.

While some couldn’t care less about whether the starters play in the preseason or not, others weren’t so happy with Pederson’s decision to go easy on his players. They their concerns justified when the Eagles got off to a 17 to 0 deficit against Washington at home in Week 1. Of course, the Eagles were ultimately able to overcome that slow start.

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles handle things if/when football returns.

Poll

Should the Eagles give their starters more preseason snaps than usual this year?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Yes
    (650 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (196 votes)
  • 20%
    Who cares
    (218 votes)
1064 votes total Vote Now

Eagles 2020 Preseason Schedule

Week 1 - at Indianapolis Colts — Thursday, August 13 at 7:00 PM ET

Week 2 - at Miami Dolphins — Thursday, August 20 at 7:30 PM ET

Week 3 - vs. New England Patriots — Thursday, August 27 at 7:30 PM ET

Week 4 - vs. New York Jets — Thursday, September 3 at 7:30 PM ET