Eagles Put Finishing Touches on Preparation for Super Bowl LII
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (973espn.com) - The Eagles practiced with their entire 53-man roster on Friday, the final full session of the week before Super Bowl LII.
Veteran defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, who has been struggling with an illness since last week, was able to get back to work after missing sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, the others dealing with injury or illness issues: running back Jay Ajayi (ankle), cornerback Ronald Darby (illness), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (calf) and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) also were full participants in what was a typical Friday practice for the Birds, focusing in on red-zone drills while also adding a refresher to the game plan implemented earlier in the week.
“That’s kind of the main focus every Friday,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson explained, “Just to tie-up any loose ends maybe from the week.”
The coach was happy with the way his team handled the week at the University of Minnesota's practice facility.
“I’ve been around these guys all year and I can tell by the way they practice — the speed, the tempo, assignment sound, the energy level. Things like that lead me to believe because I’ve seen it all season,” Pederson said. “Now, that doesn’t tell you how they’re going to play. But it just tells you that they’re prepared and ready to go into this game.”
After an 80-minute session, Pederson stood at midfield and delivered a lengthy speech designed to stress the importance of seizing an opportunity but also having fun.
“Play loose, have fun, enjoy the moment,” Pederson said when asked what he told his players by pool reporter Kimberly Martin. “These opportunities, as you know, don’t come around every year. Also, make sure just to reflect on this season, reflect on the journey that got us here. But just play for one another, have fun and enjoy it.”
The next speech delivered to the Eagles will be from Pederson’s former Green Bay Packers teammate and friend, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, on Saturday morning. From there the Eagles will hold a 30-minute walkthrough at U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LII.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen