By Lindsay Jones, The Ringer
Pro Football Writers of America
TEMPE, Ariz. – Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni is trying to keep things as normal as possible for his team as it began its on-field work here in Arizona in preparation for Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs – all the way down to the musical playlist.
Last week, before the team headed here to Arizona, veteran right tackle Lane Johnson sang Creed’s “Arms Wide Open” at the start of a practice, so Wednesday morning, he texted Sirianni with a specific request for more Creed.
“I don’t know if he thinks I’m the DJ or what, but I guess he knows I can get things done,” Sirianni said, laughing.
Sirianni delivered, and Creed’s “My Sacrifice” was the first song to blare through the speakers at the Arizona Cardinals’ practice facility. The playlist – which quickly shifted away from alternative rock to current rap hits – was just part of Sirianni’s plan to make Arizona feel like home. Sirianni put his team through a 70-minute, up-tempo walkthrough Wednesday morning, a session that mimicked the structure and intensity of a typical Wednesday practice.
All 53 players on the active roster participated, including cornerback Avonte Maddox, who missed time late in the regular-season with a toe injury, and guard Landon Dickerson, who suffered an elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game win over the 49ers. Maddox, Johnson (groin/rest) and interior offensive lineman Cam Jurgens (hip/rest) were listed as limited participants; they were joined on the Eagles’ initial injury report by Dickerson, and defensive end Robert Quinn (foot), who were listed as full participants.
One other notable practice participant was punter Arryn Siposs, who suffered a lower leg injury in December. He remains on the Eagles’ injured reserve list, but the team cleared him to resume practicing last week.
Wednesday’s session was heavy on individual and position drills, and included a brief ones vs. ones situational period at the end of practice, part of Sirianni’s plan to get his team ready for any scenario they might encounter against the Chiefs on Sunday.
“We’re kind of obsessed with situations; not kind of, we are obsessed with situations,” Sirianni said. “So every day players are in the building we’re working on those, and that can be a lot of things, third downs, things that could pop up on first or second down. We’ve got a whole list of them that we want to rep and go over.”
The Eagles will increase their practice intensity on Thursday; Sirianni will not have his players in pads for that session because they wore pads one time last week, but he expects another day of serious work to prepare for what he expects to be a physical game against the Chiefs.
“We want to keep them fresh, that’s really what we want,” Sirianni said.
And, as the playlist indicated, he’s also keeping his players happy.