The 2021 Philadelphia Eagles took the field for the first time at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night for practice in front of thousands of fans. Prior to hitting the field, head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters and talked about how they’re handling the remainder of training camp and what he’s seeing from the offense.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On practicing in front of fans
“Just happy to be apart of the best fan base in the NFL. I’m just really looking forward to going out there and being around the fans, but whether it’s practice in front of nobody or practice in front of 40,000 people, or a game in front of 70,000 people, the way you go and approach your business has to be the same. And that’s been my messaging.”
On the training camp schedule
Last week, Sirianni noted that Thursday marked the final day of installs at practice, and he went on to explain on Sunday that there were going to be more scripted plays and coaches would refer to a call sheet — so things will be more game-like during practice moving forward. He explained that it’s a good thing for players to have to react to calls quickly, and for coaches to begin practicing making those calls.
On the offensive struggles
It was widely reported that Saturday’s practice was one of the worst for the Eagles’ offense this training camp, including for quarterback Jalen Hurts. Sirianni admitted that coming off the field on Saturday he felt like practice was pretty neutral between the offense and defense — noting that throughout his career the difference in how you might feel after practice versus after watching the film —, but after scoring things out, things were even for the most part.
“The thing I was disappointed on, as far as the offense goes — because like I said, the plays, the win-losses on plays were pretty even —, the third down was a little low, about five percent lower than what we look for, and then the turnovers. We had a turnover in a critical period, that went for a pick-6, as an offense, and then we had, Jalen [Hurts] had a turnover on a scramble drill, and then we had another snap that went over [Joe Flacco]’s head — or Joe mishandled. So, that’s what I wanted back from that practice.”
He went on to say that defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon challenged him on a few of the scoring calls, with Sirianni explaining that despite the defense getting into the pocket, Hurts has a unique skillset to scramble around, so he didn’t call some of those sacks.
As far as what Sirianni is looking to see from the second-year QB both on Sunday night and through the rest of the preseason, the head coach said he’s looking for Hurts to grow in the offense and to throw in rhythm.
- Sirianni spoke a little bit about the use of RPOs in the offense and said that some of their system comes from his experience and past offenses, but that it’s also a collaborative effort among some of his assistant coaches who also have experiences calling RPOs.
- The head coach said that it’s good to have Alex Singleton back from the reserve/COVID list and the trainers did a good job of getting him ready to return to the field. He’s someone that Sirianni could feel on the field Saturday, Singleton’s experience and play-making ability were on display when he returned.
- He noted that he’s happy with the left tackle competition between Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata and they are in the business of winning football games, so regardless of draft position, Sirianni is going to put the players on the field that gives the team the best chance to win.