Eagles’ rookie minicamp is officially underway and the players took the field for the first time on Friday. Head coach Nick Sirianni spoke with reporters about what he’s seeing from some of the young guys and what his expectations are for both the players and coaches.
The head coach was asked several times about Jalen Hurts and what he had to do to be the starter and the future for the franchise, and several times Sirianni emphasized competition and staying in the moment to make sure that the QB — and the whole roster and staff — is getting better every day.
“It’s competition at every position. Competition is great. Competition elevates everybody’s play. Everybody’s play. If you come in and you have somebody that’s competing with you every single day, it makes you better.
This is all part of the strategy of we want everyone to feel that they’re competing for their jobs. I’m competing for my job. Shane [Steichen] is competing for his job. [Jonathan] Gannon is competing for his job. Like every single day, there are so many people that want to do what we do in the NFL, right? So we’ve got to compete — we’ve got to fight — everybody on this team has got to fight every single day to get better and to compete, and competition is never a bad thing. In my mind, competition is never a bad thing. It doesn’t matter the position. It’s never a bad thing.
Here’s what else the head coach had to say:
On rookie minicamp goals
The head coach talked a bit about the goals that they set for the rookies during camp:
- Go out there and compete
- Learn the offense/defense and special teams — get the basics down
- Get 1% better everyday
- Connect with their teammates
- Go out there and show us what you can do
Sirianni mentioned that his message to the coaches was to let the rookies show off what they can do — use simple installs so the players could really exhibit their abilities.
He talked about how he’s stressed fundamentals and technique a million times with his coaches, and it’s something he’s not going to ease up on. Working on those things was something they had time to do on Friday during their individual time with the rookies.
“We know that through fundamentals and technique, that’s how a player gets better. And, that is our job. Our job as coaches is to put them in the best positions they possibly can be in so they can excel, and to get them better as a football player every day. And we know the lifeline of that is technique and fundamentals.”
On the rookies
Sirianni said that it’s only been a couple of days, but he can already tell DeVonta Smith is a lead-by-example type guy. “He just seems determined at all times,” the head coach said, pointing out that Smith is always eager for more information and to learn, which is a contagious trait.
He went on to say that Smith and Landon Dickerson have different leadership styles, but that there are so many different ways to be a leader in football. He did, however, note the similarities between the two.
“They both love football, and they both work really hard. They’re both ultracompetitive, and they both got a lot of talent. And those are important parts of leading as well.
The only rookie quarterback at minicamp is Jamie Newman, and Sirianni said that he’s a big man and he’s really sharp in the classroom. Newman’s tape shows that he’s hard to bring down and the head coach said the QB has qualities that you want to develop.
Wide receivers Jhamon Ausbon and Trevon Grimes showed up to camp a little bigger than their pro day measurements, and Sirianni was happy with the size these guys bring to the field, saying that he was impressed with the way they moved around.
Later, Sirianni circled back to DeVonta Smith and talked about what he saw from the rookie receiver on Friday.
“He showed his unbelievable hands, and he showed — I just thought he showed excellent, excellent ability to change directions at the top of the route. Even better than what I saw on tape, to be 100 percent honest with you. So again, a lot of things that I expected, because we spent a lot of time watching him, all his catches the last couple years, but it was great to see him in person. He’s got a lot of talent to him, and look forward to working with him.”
- Sirianni was asked about losing the 10 days of voluntary practices, and he noted that every day you lose matters, but that just means they have to make every day they do have count.
- The head coach was emphatic that the way to build a good offense — and defense and special teams — is by adjusting to the talents of the personnel.
- Regarding Jalen Hurts, Sirianni said that the QB has been impressive during virtual walk-throughs and knows what he’s supposed to do in most situations. The head coach said that he’ll be excited to see what Hurts can do on the field.
“I’m really excited about working with this team. And of course, our hopes are high, and we’re going to do everything we can do to get better every single day. That is our messaging. It’s a process. It’s a climb. We just love to climb. We love the process of trying to get better every single day in all that we do, in our core values, and then on the football field, as well.”