PHILADELPHIA - Former Eagles linebacker Ike Reese left Sunday's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field feeling frustrated.
Reese, who is now a sports talk show host in Philadelphia, had watched new coach Chip Kelly put his players through a two-hour workout in full pads.
But there was no tackling.
"This is supposed to be football," Reese said. "When is somebody going to tackle somebody?"
Not until the Eagles' first preseason game against New England on Aug. 9.
Kelly announced after Monday's full-pads practice at the NovaCare Complex that the Eagles will not be doing any complete tackling for the duration of training camp.
In other words, nobody will have any grass stains on their practice uniforms.
"We're tackling now, we're just not taking them to the ground," Kelly said. "We won't be doing that (during camp). We have four preseason games for that."
Kelly explained that he was trying to avoid injuries, though the Eagles have suffered two serious ones in the last three days and both were occurred during non-contact drills.
Linebacker Jason Phillips, who was expected to be a heavy contributor on special teams, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Monday while participating in a special teams drill. Starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin suffered the same injury to his right knee Saturday while trying to change direction during a seven-on-seven drill.
"When a guy has a non-contact injury, it's kind of tough to rationalize," Kelly said. "That's hard. It's hard to put into words for him. You feel for him. It's sadness."
Tackling was a major weakness for the Eagles last season, however, especially in the secondary. Safety Kurt Coleman was benched at one point for missing some tackles. Safety Nate Allen also had some problems, as did cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Allen is expected to be a starter this season while Coleman is vying for a roster spot. Both Asomugha (San Francisco) and Rodgers-Cromartie (Denver) are playing with other teams.
Presumably, the no-tackling order will also be in effect during the Eagles' joint practices with the Patriots on Aug. 6-7 at the NovaCare Complex, though it's hard to imagine two teams going at it without much hitting.
"When you get guys on the ground, it usually isn't the tackle or the tackler," Kelly said. "It's usually the rest of the guys coming through. If I'm blocking my guy and two guys fall in front of me, that's where the biggest (risk of injury) occurs. It's the pileups. You have a lot of big bodies moving out there.
"There's a fine line between what we have to get done from a work standpoint and also knowing we have to (keep the players healthy). It's a dance everybody's got to dance, but I think our guys are doing a good job right now. Our guys are being real competitive with each other, but they also know there's got to be a little cooperation that goes on."
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