PHILADELPHIA – Thunderstorms and heavy downpours threatened to make the second Patriots-Eagles joint practice a muddy, dangerous mess. So, head coaches Bill Belichick and Chip Kelly decided to bump practice up by two hours.
Wednesday's session got going around 10 a.m. Eastern and ran till nearly 12:30.
Some noteworthy observations from the action:
…Rookie TE Brandon Ford joined the list of Patriots not practicing, which has now swelled to 13 – Ford, plus the same 12 players missing from yesterday's practice.
…Former Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil, who led the organization to its first Super Bowl appearance during the 1980 season, watched practice from the end lines encompassing the NovaCare Center's four fields.
…The first half of practice had the potential to be devastating for New England, injury-wise. Cornerback Kyle Arrington needed to get his right ankle taped over his cleat after being accidentally kicked in the shin by a falling Eagles receiver in 7-on-7 action. After some brief medical attention, Arrington went back out and took part in the rest of practice.
…Rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson also had a scare in that same period. His looked more serious, especially when the medical staff spent several minutes stretching his left calf. Eventually, Dobson was back up and running on the sideline, and later returned to full-speed action in 11-on-11 scrimmaging, where he had several spectacular catches.
…The NFL officiating crew was back for a second day to help orchestrate the crisp, highly structured practice. A female line judge, believed to be Sarah Thomas, was among the group.
…With the top four players on the depth chart at right guard not suiting up yet again, veteran tackle Will Svitek continues to get reps with the starting offensive line at that spot.
…Rookie safety Duron Harmon saw considerable reps with the second defensive group, in place of Tavon Wilson, who appeared to struggle noticeably the day before. Harmon was lined up next to veteran Devin McCourty.
…The offense got off to a slow start, after hitting on nearly all cylinders yesterday. Particularly difficult for them seemed to be the deep pass, but late in practice, something clicked. Quarterback Tom Brady hit rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Dobson on back-to-back touchdowns of 50-plus yards, and that sparked an offensive outburst by New England that saw them complete several long passes and execute sustained long drives.
…Cornerback Aqib Talib was particularly vocal today, but only while on the sideline. He was hooting and hollering whenever the Patriots offense made a big play, and several times, he ran onto the field to congratulate his teammates.
…Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes teamed with Arrington to make the best defensive play of the day during 11-on-11. Eagles running back Chris Polk was running through a large hole in the red zone before being met by Spikes, who delivered a perfectly timed karate chop to knock the ball loose from Polk's grasp. Arrington recovered the fumble and advanced it a few yards before the play was blown dead and New England took over possession.