The Eagles are down in Miami for a couple of joint practices ahead of their final preseason game against the Dolphins. Before they took the field on Wednesday, offensive coordinator Shane Steichen spoke to reporters about Jalen Hurts and his development, what he’s seen from Cam Jurgens, and a bit about the running back and tight end groups.
Here’s what the OC had to say:
On Jalen Hurts
It was pointed out that Jalen Hurts hasn’t thrown an interception during practice in awhile, and Steichen noted that the QB has been making good decisions and doing a nice job going through his progressions. Hurts has utilized the opportunities for big plays from the pocket, but when the throw isn’t there, he’s getting rid of the ball.
Steichen also talked about Hurts being in the same system for a second year — for the first time since high school — and how there’s a comfort level with the terminology. You can then build on that, add more wrinkles, and they are doing those things.
While the Eagles offense doesn’t run much from under center, Steichen said that doesn’t mean they can’t, and that it really depends on who they are playing and what they are trying to accomplish. As for whether Hurts is more comfortable in the shotgun versus under center, the OC noted that it depends on the play.
“Honestly that’s really what it is. Under center you get some pull. Depends on what type of play action you’re trying to run without getting into too many details what you’re trying to accomplish from the gun or under center.”
On Cam Jurgens
“I thought he did a hell of a job. First play of the game he got out on the edge and put that guy on the ground. He’s doing a really nice job with the calls, the points, the protection stuff, and then you can see the athleticism getting out in space. He’s a really good get for us. We’re excited about his future.”
The OC didn’t want to compare Jurgens to Jason Kelce, but said that the rookie has shown some really good signs of athletic ability and they are excited about that.
On the running back group
Steichen talked about Kenny Gainwell’s performance against the Browns, noting that the RB ran the ball hard and continues to improve every day. More than anything, the coaches are looking for growth from players going from Year 1 to Year 2, and Gainwell has been doing a nice job.
The OC also acknowledged that Miles Sanders is still their RB1, but they are excited about Boston Scott and Gainwell and the unique skills they each bring to the table. He feels really good if any of those guys are needed in specific situations.
“All three of those guys bring something unique, they all do something really well. They see it well, they hit it well and they can catch the ball in the backfield. Feel really good about the group in general.”
Scott saw a lot of carries early against Cleveland because he hasn’t practiced a lot and they wanted to get him going a little bit, and they thought he did a nice job.
Steichen also scoffed at the idea that they need a prototypical power back, citing Scott and Gainwell as having the stature to find little creases, and Sanders having the speed to power that can hit the holes. The OC mentioned that Jalen Hurts can kind of fill the role of a power back, too, but that all four of those guys can run between the tackles.
On the young tight ends
Now that Grant Calcaterra is getting back in the fold, Steichen pointed to the in-line blocking as an area he’ll need to focus on. They want to see more of that from him this week and see where he is with that. They feel really good about his receiving skills, how he runs routes, and he’s proven a lot early in camp.
As for Noah Togiai, Steichen has seen a lot of development:
“I think it’s being in the system for year two, and he’s been in the system in Indy. But he’s been doing a nice job blocking, running routes, catching balls and it’s been showing up in the preseason games. He has great growth right now and he’s doing a nice job.”