The Eagles held their first training camp practice on Wednesday and a handful of players spoke to reporters following their reps. Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, and A.J. Brown talked about their work together during the offseason and establishing routines. Fletcher Cox talked about some of the young guys, including Milton Williams and Jordan Davis, and Brandon Graham couldn’t hide his excitement to be back on the field.
Here’s some of what the guys had to say:
The quarterback talked about how he and A.J. Brown got to the facility super early on Wednesday, but that’s just the kind of work ethic the two have, along with DeVonta Smith who meets up with them too.
“We put so much work in in the offseason with A.J. [Brown], Dallas [Goedert], Smitty [DeVonta Smith], everybody. Everybody putting 1,000 reps in, a whole bunch of reps, so we can come out here and play ball at a high level and continue what we’ve built. So, we’re taking it day-by-day with our preparation, our routine, trying to be consistent.”
Hurts elaborated on trying to get into a routine as they start getting the feel for the training camp schedule. He said that there’s a lot of time management that goes into it, and trying to figure out how much time he has before and after practice and meetings, and what he wants to fill that time with. The QB noted, however, he doesn’t want the guys to get too far ahead of themselves and tries to keep everyone in the moment.
He talked some more about being together as a group in the offseason, not just in Philly but around the country and doing things both on the field and off to deepen their bond. That’s all culminating in the work they are doing now, and because they have that established rapport, they’re able to have some more fun and confidence early on in camp.
Something else giving him confidence is having the same play caller and coach in back-to-back years since playing for his Dad in high school.
Cox was limited at Wednesday’s practice as part of his COVID progression. The DT noted that he’s feeling much better now than he was a week ago, but it’s been about two weeks now that he’s been affected.
He was asked about the differences in the training camp schedules now compared to his early years, and he noted that he “absolutely” appreciates shorter practices and more walk-throughs at this stage in his career. Cox pointed out, however, that they have to take advantage of the reps they get during their two-hour practices and make the most of all the walk-through time, as well.
As for some of the younger guys, Cox said that Milton Williams is practicing a lot faster and is doing things differently now that he’s in his second training camp. The DT veteran also talked about rookie Jordan Davis entering his first training camp.
“It’s going to take Jordan some time to adjust to the way we practice, the way we fly around, and he’ll get there. We don’t expect him to get there in the next week, week or so, but we expect him to get there. He’s the guy. They drafted him in the first round and everybody’s excited for him, everybody wants to teach him — and he’s willing to learn, which is always a good part.”
The wide receiver talked about heading into his second training camp with QB Jalen Hurts and how things are a little faster, and the timing and communication is better as the two continue to work together. Smith mentioned that he and Hurts got extra work in outside of team activities this offseason.
Smith also talked about the WR group, and how it was nice to have A.J. Brown in the room — someone with more experience than a lot of the receivers. He went on to explain that they are focused on the smaller parts of their game, and while each guy has his own stuff to work on, his specifically includes turning his foot at the top of his routes, and other details like that.
The Eagles’ new wide receiver has been embracing his new city and the fans, and was happy to see them at training camp.
“It was very passionate — as soon as I came out to some cheers. I definitely feel the love. You know, ever since I’ve been here in Philly, the city’s been showing me love and you know, I appreciate it wholeheartedly. And now, it’s my job to go do what I do, have fun, and play some football.”
Echoing what Smith mentioned, Brown said that he and Jalen Hurts met up “countless” times throughout the offseason to get some work in. It was very important for them to get those extra reps so when they got to training camp they were on the same page and ready to go.
The wide receiver later explained why he felt it was important to speak out on Twitter in support of Hurts after a report indicated a poor OTA performance affected the team’s confidence in the starting QB.
“It’s important because, number one, it’s the quarterback on my team. Number one. And he’s my friend, number two, you know, and the story wasn’t true. False narratives come out quarterbacks, and this and that, and guys gotta understand, it’s practice. Just like today was an interception — it was a great play by the DB. You gotta understand, like, these are the times that we try things. I’m not going to win every rep, he’s not going to make every throw, and that’s just a part of it.”
Brown said that he and Hurts got to the facility around 6-6:30 AM ahead of Wednesday’s first practice. They were some of the first guys in the building and are trying to get into a routine and get on the same page.
“I’m so excited just being back with the guys. Just a new appreciation of being gone and now having another opportunity to be back with the Philadelphia Eagles, and man, we got a good team and I want to take full advantage every day we get to spend together. Because we got something special, but we gotta put that work in everyday. It’s not just going to come to because of what it says on paper.”
Graham confirmed that he has no restrictions heading into camp, and that his recovery was actually better than when he injured his knee early in his career. The veteran lauded the medical staff, conditioning staff, and coaches all working together to create a schedule that keeps guys as healthy as possible, and that staying healthy is one of the team’s priorities.