The Eagles were back at practice on Monday and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters before taking the field. He talked about the development of the passing game, Jordan Davis’ conditioning, and the defense disguising looks. He also mentioned that they would practice in full pads on Tuesday, followed by a walk-through on Wednesday, but they won’t be having any live contact, to the ground, practices.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On the passing game
Sirianni thinks the passing game looks pretty good right now, with the football going to the right places and guys making contested catches. However, he acknowledged that they, “absolutely,” need to eliminate some of the turnovers.
“That’s where my biggest concern is. But spacing has been good. I’ve said it a couple times in the meeting room, ‘this is exactly how this play is supposed to look, this is exactly how this play is supposed to look.’ I think about that, and how much further ahead we are than we were last year at this time.
But, with that being said, you’re always working to get better at this time. You know, right now I’m pleased just because, again, like I said, the timing of the quarterbacks, the contested catches by the receivers. And you know what? The defense is making us work to get everything that we can get because they look good right now as well.”
The head coach went on to talk about some of the WR/CB matchups in practice, and thinks the combination of guys like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith against Darius Slay and James Bradberry will help everyone improve. Smith is working to get open and Brown is working to get up, and vice versa with Slay and Bradberry.
On Jordan Davis
“I think that he came to camp ready to go. Our guys in the training staff and the strength staff and sports science staff have just done a great job of knowing what our guys are supposed to play at. That’s something I’m always obsessed about is are you playing to the correct weight. I’ve had experiences throughout my career of guys being heavy and their play suffering. I’ve had experience of my guys through my career of them losing weight of what they were the year before and having phenomenal seasons.
So that’s always going to stick in my mind. I know that’s in Ted’s [Rath] mind, that’s in our staff’s mind as well of playing at the right weight. So, we are going to be on him about that. I know he came back where he needed to be, but that’s going to be something that we’re focused on. That’s not just Jordan, that’s everybody. I think he’s been running around well. Like I said, his weight was where we wanted it to be and his body fat was where we wanted it to be.”
On the defense disguising looks
Sirianni was adamant that the defense does disguise looks during practice. When the offense knows the coverage, they are able to set the protection accordingly, but things are a little slower post-snap when they don’t know what the look is — and that’s what they need to practice. It’s also important for the defense to work on that part of their game, something DC Jonathan Gannon mentioned they want to do more of this season.
“They’re doing a good job of disguising, and really it’s everybody. It’s not just the defensive backs. It’s everybody. It’s the linebackers, and they’re really doing a good job being in sync, all the guys. I know that’s something that our defensive staff has stressed.
That is one thing we talked about a lot, like ‘hey, we know what this might be here because of what you showed here.’ So, that’s a lot of the off-season evaluations that we just get better from, and the defense has done a great job of putting it into action, and the players have done a great job of that.”
- Tight end Grant Calcaterra is out with a hamstring injury. Sirianni doesn’t have a timetable for his return, but anticipates they’ll play things conservatively in terms of his recovery. He noted that the TE was have a good camp and was making plays.
- The head coach didn’t have any updates as far as Milton Williams’ elbow injury or for how long he’ll be out. The DT is sore, but Sirianni thinks Sunday’s off day should have been good for him.
- Zach Pascal went to the hospital on Sunday with food poisoning that lingered longer than he or the team liked, and while there’s no timetable for his return, Sirianni said the WR is on the up.