PHILADELPHIA - Eagles coach Chip Kelly introduced yet another new wrinkle to training camp today by announcing the team will only be tackling to the ground in preseason games.

"We're going to tackle, just not to the ground," Kelly said after practice. "When two guys go to the ground, it's usually not the guy who did the tackling. It's usually a pileup.

"We just want to focus on players getting their feet under them when they tackle."

Kelly indicated that he was seeking to reduce the risk of injury, but their only serious one to date was suffered during a non-contact drill. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Saturday while simply planting his foot to change direction.

The Eagles were in shoulder pads and helmets for the second straight day Monday at the NovaCare Complex, but there were no live periods. Plays were supposed to stop as soon as the defensive player made contact with a running back, wide receiver and/or tight end.

Occasionally, players got carried away, however. Defensive tackle/end Cedric Thornton was so anxious to hit somebody that he drilled running back Chris Polk, knocking him to the turf.

It seems like a strange strategy, given that tackling was one of the Eagles' top defensive problems last season, especially in the secondary.


Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, currently in my 24th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.