ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chris Long wanted to point out that he wasn’t drinking beer.
No, the beverage of choice inside the Los Angeles Angels' clubhouse following Philadelphia Eagles' practice Wednesday was something called kombucha, which, according to organicauthority.com, is “a fermented beverage made from tea, sugar, water and a SCOBY, an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” that is apparently “rich in gut-loving probiotics and noted health effects.”
“Everybody’s drinking it,” the Eagles defensive end said. “Nobody knows what it does, but everybody’s drinking it.”
It’s getting a little crunchy around here, perhaps a sign that the team is getting comfortable in the SoCal surroundings.
Following Sunday’s game in Seattle, the Eagles (10-2) opted to fly to California and stay in Orange County to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams (9-3) rather than make a pair of cross-country trips in back-to-back weeks.
Defensive end Brandon Graham admitted the time change took a little getting used to -- he was passed out by 8:30 Tuesday night -- and it was an adjustment adapting to the “flow” of the West Coast operation, but they’re slowly getting used to living out of a hotel and practicing on a baseball field.
The weather isn't bad -- the forecast is calling for clear skies and temps in the mid-to-upper 70s, while Philly braces for the possibility of its first snowfall of the season this week -- and the accommodations at Angel Stadium are pretty plush, all in all.
“It’s nice,” offensive tackle Lane Johnson said, taking a look around the home team's sprawling clubhouse, complete with a wraparound couch and wall-to-wall TVs. “Baseball players got it made by the looks of things.”
While the Eagles are well removed from the wildfires burning to the northwest, coach Doug Pederson said it has been on his mind.
"It is obviously a serious issue with what's going on and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that are affected," said Pederson, noting that he hadn't heard anything from the NFL on the issue. "I know the Rams were affected these last couple of days and it makes it a little uncomforting and unsettling."
The Eagles' ground crew laid sod down over the infield dirt to create a 100-yard football field. Pederson credited them, along with the IT department, video department and equipment and medical staffs, for making the transition “seamless.”
“It feels like NovaCare,” he said, referencing their practice facility back home.
Baseball grass is slicker than football grass, turns out. At the opening of Wednesday’s practice, an assistant coach warned the players, “Be careful. It’s slippery.” A couple guys lost their footing and fell early in the session, according to a defensive player’s account.
“The grass is a little bit slick. That’s why [baseball players] wear the metal cleats,” Johnson said. “You can’t get too out of control. Not saying it’s a bad thing. But you’ve got to stay balanced.”
Added safety Rodney McLeod: “A little bit of an adjustment. Guys were sliding around a little bit. But it didn’t take long for us to get our feet acclimated and out there rolling today.”
That aside, the players felt good about their first full practice since falling 24-10 to the Seahawks. Pederson suggested that the team hadn’t been particularly sharp leading up to that game, and believed it to be a contributing factor in the loss. The consensus in the locker room was that the Eagles had regrouped.
There was a surprise waiting for them when they got off the field Wednesday. At each locker stall was a bobblehead of Angels star outfielder Mike Trout, who was raised in the Philadelphia area and is an insane Eagles fan. Trout isn’t going to be in attendance this week -- he’s back East hunting, according to buddy Carson Wentz -- but he let the team know that he’s there in spirit.
“Got my Mike Trout bobblehead right here,” Johnson said. “Going to have to put that up in the house somewhere.”