NFL officials visited NovaCare to brief the team, then reporters, about rule changes for 2018. The catch rule has been made less arcane, kickoffs will look different because blockers and tacklers will have less of a running start, but the big focus is that more helmet-first hits will be penalized.
Side judge Mark Perlman said that offensive and defensive players will be assessed 15 yards for hits to any part of an opponent using the helmet, if the transgressor lowers his head to initiate contact, in the officials' judgment. If the helmet is lowered to brace for contact, that isn't supposed to be a penalty. We'll see how it's called, but discerning the difference might turn out to be more art than science.
To reporters, Perlman stressed that he and his cohorts were "only the messengers," they didn't make the new rules. That was after the presentation to the team, in which Perlman said defensive players got "a little fired up."
Perlman and the other officials present said that Malcolm Jenkins' hit on Brandin Cooks in Super Bowl LII "was very close" to what will draw a 15-yard penalty this season
The Eagles running back who made the sharpest cut and the most impressive burst through the line on the first day of padded training camp practice was a familiar face.
Darren Sproles, who turned 35 last month, is recovering from knee and arm injuries that ended his 2017 season after three games. Tell that to the guys who were trying to hit him Saturday.
>> READ MORE: Darren Sproles gearing up for one more run
"It's fun to see 43 out there with the ball in his hands, I know that," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. "People on defense got to be conscious of where he is. He's a weapon for us, somebody that we haven't seen in the huddle in a long time. So, every time he gets the ball in his hands, I know I get excited."
Mike Groh and Eagles players seemed happy to put the pads on, and to do some realistic run game drills for the first time in camp.
"Now you can get a real evaluation, particularly on run game, pass protection," Groh said. "We're talking about real football … I know guys got to get used to carrying their pads again. It was warm. Day 3, always the legs get a little heavy. But it's part of training camp.
The Eagles finally have a full 90-man training camp roster, after adding wide receiver DeAndre Carter. Carter is a veteran of the Ravens, Patriots, Raiders and 49ers practice squads who wore David Akers' old No. 2 jersey Saturday.
Backup center Isaac Seumalo has been high and wild with a few snaps. Mike Groh talked about that Saturday.