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Nick Sirianni talks Eagles-Browns practices, DeVonta Smith’s development, and more

The head coach addressed reporters on Friday afternoon.

The Eagles were back for their second joint practice with the Browns on Friday and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters before taking the field. He talked about the team’s performance in Thursday’s joint practice, what he’s seen from the safety position, and also explained his penchant for defending his players.

Jacoby Brissett joked that Sirianni wanted to fight fans that boo’ed, but the Eagles’ head coach explained that he grew up with two older brothers and parents who fiercely defended each other, so it’s just what he’s used to. That’s how he’s always been. He knows his players can defend themselves, but he’s still going to stick up for them, too.

Here’s what else the head coach had to say:

On joint practice and Sunday’s game

Sirianni mentioned that you don’t really grade inter-squad practices as wins or losses, the success is based on whether they improved as a team — which the head coach said they did.

“I think [Jalen Hurts] had a good day. I really did. Again, I just continue to see him progress everyday, and yesterday I thought he did a really nice job. He had a good practice. He’s been sharp all camp and I thought he had a great practice yesterday.”

The head coach was asked whether the pre-snap penalties from the OL in Thursday’s practice was due to the center — Cam Jurgens — but the head coach denied it was because of the rookie. He explained that they were trying to do some things with the snap count and they need to be more disciplined to avoid penalties.

Sirianni was pressed about his plan for the starters on Sunday, but he didn’t want to finalize things just yet. He wanted to see how Friday’s practice went and evaluate some things before deciding whether the starters will see any playing time — that goes for all starters, even DeVonta Smith who missed last week’s game.

On Devonta Smith

Since coming back from injury, Smith has seen a lot more targets than he did early on in camp. Sirianni said that want to get all their playmakers involved, and the balls been finding him lately.

“He’s a great play maker, fantastic route-runner, has great feel about things, and, you know, there are some concepts we’re running with him that we feel like can — that he’s going to do a great job of this year, and he did a great job of last year.”

The head coach also acknowledged that Smith has gotten a lot bigger, faster, stronger since he was drafted, and he’s become an even better route runner, too — something he says is natural for Smith, who is a guy that soaks up all the information he can and puts in the work.

On the safety position

“I think we have good competition in that group, you know, led by Marcus Epps and then you have some good pieces to work with. And, I’m excited, we’ve been getting these guys in with different groups — sometimes with the ones, sometimes with the twos — and it’s exciting to watch them play with different groups.”

Other notables

  • Miles Sanders missed his fourth practice with a hamstring injury, and Sirianni didn’t care to go into whether it was bad or when he might be back, he did confirm he had some tightness and they are being cautious with him.
  • He was asked about his expectations from Kenny Gainwell, and Sirianni noted that he’s the type of player that you notice a lot more when the pads are on and they’re going full speed — like they are against Cleveland. They needed Gainwell to be a better blocker, which they’re seeing as camp continues, with Sirianni explaining that he can’t just be a 3rd down target kind of guy. If he can block and be multi-dimensional, it opens things up for them offensively.

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