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Nick Sirianni cites Jalen Hurts’ instincts for his big role in the Eagles’ run game

The Eagles’ head coach talked about the safety position without C.J. Gardner-Johnson, what he’s learned about A.J. Brown, and more.

Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters on Wednesday and talked about the safety position with C.J. Gardner-Johnson, what he’s seen from A.J. Brown since they traded for him this spring, and also explained why they feel comfortable with Jalen Hurts having as many carries as he did on Sunday night against the Packers. Sirianni also talked about the Titans defense and how much he respects the coaching staff in Tennessee.

Here’s what the head coach had to say:

On the safety position

The head coach didn’t have any other updates on C.J. Gardner-Johnson, but said they’ll obviously be cautious with him returning because a lacerated kidney can be a dangerous injury. At this point they don’t have a timetable for his return, but are just hoping he continues to feel better. He also didn’t have an answer about whether CJGJ would end up on IR, saying they really just don’t know yet.

As for the position group as a whole without CJGJ, Sirianni said that he feels really good about the group they have. He also credited DB coach Dennard Wilson for doing a really good job with the room and making sure all the depth guys are ready to go — like Reed Blankenship was on Sunday night. The head coach acknowledged that they’re always looking to make their team better, but he has a lot of confidence in the room as it is now.

On A.J. Brown

WR A.J. Brown will face his former team on Sunday when the Eagles play the Titans, but Sirianni mentioned that it’s a big game in a sense that it’s their next game and they don’t want to let each other down. Those motivation factors are bigger than any sort of personal feelings about an opponent.

“He doesn’t have to do any more than just go out there and be himself. He doesn’t need to press, just gotta go out there and do his job to the best of his abilities, with attention to detail.”

After Sunday night’s game, Brown explained a bit about what he went through with his stomach bug, noting he lost seven pounds and even popped a blood vessel in his eye from throwing up. Sirianni confirmed that Brown pushing through that to play didn’t surprise him and that the WR is “tough as hell.”

When the Eagles made the trade on draft night for Brown, Sirianni had mentioned that he didn’t really need to watch much film on the wideout to know what kind of player and talent he was.

“First of all, as a person goes, I mean, we just got a top-notch person. I can’t say enough about A.J. the person. Obviously, his play speaks for itself, but he is a great teammate, he is a great person. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know A.J.

So, that was obviously a good thing. And then, as far as the play, as advertised, right? Didn’t have to watch a lot of film on him. Obviously, knew a lot about him and he was as advertised, and then you get him out here and there’s obviously things you think to yourself, ‘Man, well he can do that too and that’s going to be a nice addition to this offense.’”

On Jalen Hurts as a runner

Sirianni said that Hurts instinctively protects himself when he’s running the ball. As far as coaching points, they tell him not to take hits, don’t lower your shoulder when heading to the sideline, slide when he needs to and start the slide early. But, things they can’t teach, is how Hurts adjusts his body so that the defender can’t get a clean hit on him or stick the foot in the ground to make a guy miss.

Sirianni admitted that Hurts’ instincts do give them a little more comfort with him carrying the ball 17 times. If he were a quarterback who was constantly putting himself in danger, it would be up to the coaches to help him and protect him.

Other notables

  • Sirianni wouldn’t give a timetable for when Jordan Davis might be ready to go, but said the rookie is doing well and he will be part of the walkthrough on Wednesday.
  • He also talked a bit about what it’s like for coaches playing against former colleagues, or in this week’s case, playing against former Eagles DC Jim Schwartz who is now with Tennessee. Sirianni said that while he wasn’t in Philly with Schwartz, there are some guys on the defense who were, and so they’ll talk about things. But, he also pointed out, that they know that Schwartz — or whomever they’re facing in a particular week — is also thinking about what they might talk about in-house.
  • In addition to his respect for the Titans coaching staff, Sirianni mentioned that the defense is well-coached, disciplined, and really physical. He named players at all three levels and noted how many playmakers they have on that side of the ball.

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