The Eagles’ offense got off to a slow start against the Lions in Week 1, but ultimately got things goings and came out with a strong showing. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen spoke to reporters on Tuesday and talked a bit about Jalen Hurts’ performance and what he brings to the ground game, as well as explained how focused they are on spreading the ball around to their many offensive weapons.
Here’s some of what the OC had to say:
On Jalen Hurts’ performance
“I thought he was really efficient. When you look at him, when he ran the ball, he was efficient. When he was throwing it, I thought he was really efficient. To average 7.2 yards on the pass game is pretty good. He made some tremendous throws. His accuracy was on point. I think he had about four throwaways, but overall, just a really strong performance from him.”
Steichen said that Hurts was able to overcome the 0-for-5 start because he has a next-play mentality. It’s something head coach Nick Sirianni talks about all the time, and that’s where the QB’s mindset is even if he’s struggling.
The OC later talked about the pass to A.J. Brown on 3rd and 4 right before the half, and said it was both impressive for Hurts to put the ball right on the money, and for Brown to catch it in stride. He emphasized how huge it is to be able to score before halftime and then come back out with the ball afterward, and they were able to double-dip because of it.
Steichen mentioned that Hurts’ ability in the run game helps open things up for Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, because he is someone the defense has to account for, even if they are expecting a run play. He also credited the offensive line, and specifically Lane Johnson, for being dominant against the Lions defense.
“When you have the threat of a running quarterback, and those guys have to be aware of it, whether you’re in the shotgun or whatever formation you’re in, those guys got to be aware of it. So it always has that threat. If you are in that shotgun and those guys are playing the zone read and you hand it off, it can get a good gash in there, and it was good to see.
Like I said, our offensive line did a heck of a job. All those guys played well. [Jason] Kelce led it and then Lane Johnson — I’ll just say this about Lane. Lane is unbelievable. This guy is one of the best offensive linemen I’ve ever been around, and he was dominant on Sunday. I know sometimes those guys don’t get enough credit, but that guy is unbelievable. He’s a freak show.”
On spreading the ball around
The OC admitted that he is thinking about ball distribution during the game, but he’s also thinking about the flow of the game — so even if there’s something specific he wants to call, it might not be the best time for it, and they wait.
“Obviously, DeVonta [Smith] is a premier player in this league, and did I think in a million years he wouldn’t have a catch? Absolutely not. I did not think it was going to go that way. But that’s my job, I’ve got to get him the ball. Same with Dallas [Goedert], same with Quez [Watkins], Zach [Pascal], all those guys. I think that’s the great dilemma we have. We have a great offensive line and we run it well, and we have the ability to throw it, too. So you have to get all those guys touches, and that’s our job to get that done.”
He went on to credit the group for being so selfless, and not having to do much explaining about how it shakes out, because the biggest focus is on winning.
Steichen later said that he doesn’t need Jalen Hurts to worry about the ball distribution. They just want the quarterback to go through his progressions and make decisions based on his reads.
On the Vikings’ defense
“Watching them on tape, they’re flying around now. This is going to be a heck of a challenge. I say that every week, but looking at those guys, Za’Darius Smith, he was something else. He was a monster on Sunday against Green Bay. Then [Eric] Kendricks inside, he’s been their leader there in the middle for a while. He’s a good player.
Then on the back end they’ve got the Pro Bowler Harrison Smith. He’s a rangy guy that can make a lot of plays. He got an interception, obviously, but he’s strong in the box, too. He can come down and hit you. Then Patrick Peterson, a veteran corner out there, that just really understands route combinations, has really good vision. He’s been playing for a long time.
It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us, but we’re definitely looking forward to it.”
- Steichen disagreed that they were late getting out of the huddle a couple times, but did point to their communication — from coaches to players — and the tempo of everything having be better moving forward.
- Steichen was asked about the most underrated part of Miles Sanders’ game, and he pointed to the running back’s vision. Citing Sanders run on 3rd and 2, he called it the play of the game, and lauded the individual effort by the RB to find the hole and make the play.