Eagles Simulate Extended Halftime Break
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (973espn.com) - Doug Pederson's brilliant second year as an NFL head coach is perhaps best defined by his preparation.
The mentor who was infamously called the “less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL” by former NFL GM Mike Lombardi has spent his year outcoaching all those qualified, the latest being highly-regarded career coach Mike Zimmer in the NFC Championship Game.
Pederson, who turned 50 on Wednesday, gave another example of just how prepared he has been on Wednesday in Minneapolis when he took his team off the field inside the Gibson-Nagurski Complex at the University of Minnesota.
Calling it quite early during Super Bowl week?
Nope, Pederson took his players into the locker room for 30 minutes to simulate the lengthy Super Bowl halftime break. The only thing that was missing was Justin Timberlake in a suit.
“I think it’s important that the guys get it in their minds how much time that is,” Pedersen explained to a PFWA pool reporter Kimberly Martin. “We’re normally working on 13-, 14-minute halftime and now it’s twice as long and guys’ bodies cool down. So I want to make sure they understand that we have to go in, we’ve got to stay focused, but at the same time we can refuel and kind of recharge. Coaches can coach and then get our guys warmed back up to come back out. So on Sunday they know exactly what they can do.”
Pederson found his players returned a little sloppy after the break something that further hammered home his point about the extended halftime break that is upcoming on Sunday.
"I thought it was a little sloppy, which is good, because this is something that I can address in our meetings tonight,” Pederson said. “Again, it’s another teachable moment so we’re not doing it on Sunday.”
Beside the intermission tweak, the Eagles conducted their regular Wednesday practice, which focuses on first- and second-down situations primarily. Thursday will be third downs and Friday red-zone situations.
“This is just like we were back in Philly,” Pederson explained.
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan missed practice with an illness that first cropped up last Friday in Philadelphia but all the other available Eagles were able to practice fully.
The other notable development was Pederson scaling back and saying his team would not practice in pads this week. Conversely, Bill Belichick put the pads on the Pats Wednesday.
“We’re in the last week of the season,” Pederson said. “And if they don’t know how to hit by now, you know?"
As for the birthday celebration, that will have to wait a few more days.
“I am a big ice cream guy," Pederson said. "But no [celebrating], we’re going to be stuck in meetings tonight, so there’s no rest for the weary. We’re going to keep grinding and cranking as coaches tonight.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen