Believe it or not, the Eagles offseason program actually started on April 27th, which was a full week later than teams were allowed to begin. Today marks the beginning of the team’s rookie program – arguably a more important phase of the offseason. But with the NovaCare Complex adhering to government guidelines as most of us are, team workouts just won’t be the same this year.
OTA’s don’t technically begin until May 26th for the Eagles, but the rookie program is traditionally one of great importance. Up to this point, participating NFL players have been paid $235 for each ‘virtual workout’, but rookies can now be paid an extra $135 per day if they take on an extra hour of tuition per day, up to five times a week until the next phase begins.
NBC’s John Clark spoke with Eagles rookie Prince Tega Wanagho earlier today to discuss what the program looks like.
The good news here is that at least for the time being, a physical presence at the NovaCare Complex can be done without. Most of the schedule is ‘classroom’ based, an environment which teams are able to replicate fairly easily with use of today’s technology.
As far as workouts go, teams are permitted to provide up to $1,500 worth of equipment to each player. They can’t help an MTV Cribs-like transformation, but they can at least provide gym gear, weights, resistance bands, and any other necessities.
As of right now, it’s not like players are missing ‘live’ reps, anyway. Individual drills and workouts are usually allowed on the field for Phase 2 of the offseason, but only against sleds, dummies, and thin air. By the end of August, this will be a very different situation and the lack of physical action against NFL talent will undoubtedly put an unprecedented value on preseason (if it goes ahead) and could well thwart their progress in year one.
As of right now, it’s eyes down on the playbook alongside virtual workouts where the team can provide all necessary equipment. There will be a greater focus on getting the rookies up to speed with the playbook so that they can hit the ground running when camp does arrive, but for the foreseeable future, the Eagles are wading through these waters to the best of their ability.
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