Eagles training camp 2021: Did vets really need a day off after two practices?

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Did Eagles veterans really need a day off after two practices? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Did veterans like Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham really need a day off three days into training camp?

It seemed a little curious that Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni gave his veterans a day off Friday after two non-padded practices that lasted 80 and 75 minutes to open training camp.

Maintenance days for older veterans are common around the league. But this early?

The list of players given the day off on Friday included Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham, who are 33; Ryan Kerrigan, who is 32; Johnson, who is 31; and Darius Slay, Cox and Zach Ertz, who are 30.

With Brandon Brooks (hamstring) and Rodney McLeod (knee surgery), who are both 31, already out of practice, it meant everybody on the roster over 30 had the day off with the exception of Joe Flacco, who pretty much has to practice because the Eagles only have two other QBs.

Here’s the thing. You can’t complain about the Eagles’ rash of injuries over the past few years and also complain about the older players getting a day off from practice.

Trying to find ways to keep that nucleus of Pro Bowlers healthy is as important as anything to the 2021 Eagles.

“We're constantly thinking about how to keep the players healthy,” Sirianni said. “We just are always thinking about how we keep these guys healthy and so one thing that we do is … guys that are older in the league and have had some years under their belt, we took care of the other day. They are on a schedule. We have it scheduled out right now with exactly what days we know they are going to miss and (Friday) was their first scheduled day. It’s all about keeping them healthy.”

The Eagles’ injury issues have been well-documented. Graham and Kelce were the only players to start all 16 games last year, and according to Football Outsiders, the Eagles’ 126 games lost was second-most in the league behind the 49ers.

It’s been that way the last three years. The Eagles have changed doctors and training staffs, but giving the older players even more time off can’t hurt.

Sirianni was asked if he’s concerned about the amount of time the veteran guys will miss on the practice field when they’re all trying to learn a new system and connect with new coaches and teammates.

“I'm not concerned at all about the players in the new system,” he said. “They are in the meeting room and walkthrough, so they are getting mental reps, but I know their bodies benefitted from what we did (Friday) and the suggestions of our strength and conditioning staff.”

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