One of the elements Eagles head coach Chip Kelly focuses on most is sports science and so far it has paid off for his team.
Beyond the high octane offense the most discussed facet of Chip Kelly's hiring as Philadelphia Eagles head coach was the sports science aspects he was bringing to the NFL.
Through four games, it appears that the custom blended smoothies, sleep monitors and other sports science elements are paying off for the Eagles.
"The little things we talk about," Kelly pointed out Thursday. "Are we getting enough sleep? Are we eating the right things? We don't do those things just to do it, we do it to make sure we're doing all of the right things."
By this time in the season it isn't difficult to find an injured player hobbling through the hallways of an NFL team's headquarters or spot a group of players working out on the side of the field with trainers during practice. However, those instances have been an endangered species at One Novacare Way with a quarter of the Eagles games already in the books.
This week only Patrick Chung and Brandon Boykin have appeared on the injury report with shoulder injuries.
There hasn't been a torn ACL since August and only Chung, Boykin, Jason Peters, Brent Celek,Bradley Fletcher, Jason Kelce, Dennis Kelly and Mychal Kendricks have suffered injuries significant enough to even be listed on weekly injury reports this season.
"What you want to look at are the soft tissue injuries," Kelly said. "We haven't had a lot of those things. If you break a bone, you can't really control that. But what we do like is that we don't have a lot of those soft tissue injuries and that comes down to recovery but you need to have something to recover from. That's why the weight lifting aspect is so important and that's why we practice early in the week on a Tuesday when most teams are off because there's a method to all of the madness."
With only eight players having suffered what can be deemed minor to moderate injuries so far this season, it isn't difficult to see the impact of Kelly and sports science coordinator Shaun Hul's efforts.
"I think lot of credit has to go to the players. I think the best ability is durability." Kelly said. "I think our players embrace practice and the preparation of things. Our studies show us that you need to participate. If our guys are out, they're not just standing on the side, they're out there with their strength and conditioning coaches doing something so if they can come back early there isn't a big gap in terms of time lost."
Kelly certainly has experienced his fair share of growing pains in terms of coaching at this level. Yet it seems one thing that certainly can be chalked up as a win in his favor is the fact that the first-year head coach has found a way to limit significant injuries to his football team despite a historically difficult start featuring the grind of playing three games in 11 days to begin the season.
Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.
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