‘I keep pushing for more:’ How Vic Fangio is trying to change Eagles’ practice routine

‘I keep pushing for more:’ How Vic Fangio is trying to change Eagles’ practice routine originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Nick Sirianni has been unflinching in his belief that less is more when it comes to practice. In his first three years as head coach, the Eagles have spent less time on the practice field than any other team. Maybe any other team ever.

Training camp sessions are almost always under 90 minutes. Days off are frequent. Players spend more time off their feet in meetings and film study and less time grinding under the hot sun for hour after hour.

It’s a new-age approach to the NFL, and to a great extent it’s worked. The Eagles are 34-17 under Sirianni, the 5th-best record in the NFL since 2021, and they’re one of only six teams to reach the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.

Vic Fangio? He’s as old-school as they come. He began coaching during the heyday of full-pad two-a-days, daily full-speed goal-line drills and endless training camps on remote college campuses.

How will these opposite philosophies mesh? It’s one of the more interesting things to keep an eye on this summer.

When Fangio met with the media last week, he didn’t say much on the topic, but he said enough that you know he wants the Eagles to practice longer and harder than they have the last few years.

“You’ve got to make do with what you’ve got,” he said. “But I keep pushing for more. … Within reason. I’m not proposing we go two-a-days and do — what is it, North Dallas Forty?”

Last summer, during the 17-day stretch from the start of training camp until the first preseason game, the Eagles had nine practices, five walkthroughs and three days off.  Sirianni values walkthroughs as much as practices because the Eagles can run through more plays in the same amount of time while remaining in compliance with CBA rules. And once the Eagles get to November or so, he usually replaces Thursday practice with a walkthrough.

It’s hard to make a connection between the Eagles’ late-season collapse last year and Sirianni’s training camp and practice philosophy. The Eagles went about things the same way a year earlier and went to the Super Bowl.

But it’s also hard to imagine Sirianni won’t at least compromise with Fangio and take some measures to keep the players on the field longer and get his new defensive coordinator more time to work with his group.

Fangio said he believes athletes are coddled at a young age instead of being pushed, but he said his experience is that if you do push them and work them hard, they will respond.

“People are not expecting as much out of players as we used to expect,” he said. “These players will work and give you everything they’ve got within reason. It starts at an early age, when they’re in high school, college, everybody — less-is-more type of thing, preserve your energy. You guys hear in the NBA (about) load management. I’ve talked to coaches from other sports that I know, and it drives them crazy.

“The players are willing to work. Never had an issue with that. And they’re still willing to work. But we as the so-called adults in the room need to push them.”

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