As the Eagles are getting ready for their season opener against the Lions, offensive coordinator Shane Steichen spoke to reporters on Tuesday about some of the different position groups, their development, and also what he wants to see from the offense against Detroit.
Steichen wouldn’t talk about what their plan is for replacing Andre Dillard as the back-up for Jordan Mailata, and said that’s something they plan on keeping in house — even refusing to name the candidates for that role.
Here’s what else the OC had to say:
On the QB group
Steichen was asked about the biggest difference in Jalen Hurts heading into Week 1 compared to this same time last year.
“I think it’s just the confidence and the smoothness of everything he’s doing. Like I said, it’s Year 2 in the system. I think with anything you develop some confidence being in Year 2 in that same system. So, you can see by the way he’s playing, the way he’s going through his reads, all those things we’ve said before. It’ll be exciting to see on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it.”
The OC talked a bit about Ian Book, as well, who was brought in on the practice squad. He mentioned that Book did a lot of good things coming out of Notre Dame, and said that he’s a good leader, tough, smart, throws a good ball, and comes out smooth. He also explained why having a third QB on the 70-man roster is beneficial.
“I think with anything, that’s the most important position in all of sports, right? So anytime you can add more quarterbacks, whatever it is, you want to try to find the best one, you know what I mean? So, you’re always looking to develop those guys, whether it’s the third or the fourth guy, and you go from there, because obviously that position is so important that if something happens and you need that third guy to step in, he has to be ready to go.”
On Dallas Goedert’s development
On Tuesday, Howie Roseman spoke to 94WIP and named Goedert as someone who is being overlooked heading into the season, and Steichen elaborated on how the tight end is developing as a leader.
“He’s really stepped up into that leadership role in that room by the way he plays, by the way he goes about his business. He’s a hard worker. He grinds every day. He’s ready. He’s mentally prepared, all those things you want in that position, he’s been doing that and proving that day in and day out, so we’re excited about his performance so far.”
On the running back room
The OC said that he likes where Miles Sanders is at and emphasized several times that he’s their No. 1 back, and their “guy.” Steichen acknowledged that they have two other backs in the group — Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell — and then the recently added Trey Sermon. so they feel good about the depth at the position.
“[Trey Sermon] was a really good playing coming out of college. Did a lot of really good things in San Francisco, as well, so excited to add him to that room. Like I said, Miles [Sanders] is our guy. We feel really good about that group, but to add another talented player like that, it’ll be good for us.”
Steichen noted that there will be a learning curve for Sermon and he’ll have to get up to speed, but if there are certain plays that he’s comfortable with, they can start with those and then go from there.
On the offense’s evolution
The OC talked about how it was awesome to have three guys — A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert — who are all so explosive, they could score anytime they get the ball. he noted that he’s been around some good skill players, but those three are really impressive. As for only having four wide receivers on the active roster (Brown, Smith, Quez Watkins, and Zach Pascall), Steichen said they are confident in that group, but they also have players on the practice squad who will be ready if they are ever called up.
On facing the Lions Week 1
He mentioned that more than anything, he wants to see execution when the offense takes the field on Sunday.
“The consistency, day in, week in, week out, day in and day out, it’s every day. You live in the moment, and you take one day at a time, and you go from there. It’s just execution and consistency. That’s what I want to see.”
Steichen looked back to last year’s game against Detroit and mentioned how it was a significant turning point for the offense, particularly with the run game. He noted that it was a game that they continued to grow from throughout the rest of the season. However, the OC was sure to point out that every year is a new year so both teams are going to look different than they did in 2021.
He was asked about how they prepare for a player like Lions’ rookie DL Aidan Hutchinson, who doesn’t have any NFL film. Steichen (again) mentioned not wanting to give away any secrets, but talked about watching him in college and throughout the preseason.
“He’s explosive, he’s long, he’s powerful. You saw in the preseason him coming off the edge, just the explosiveness he plays with. So, we have to be ready for him.
I think in whole their defense, you watch them in the preseason game, just the way they’re flying around with energy and effort, it’s showing up big time from last year to this year.
In the NFL, right, every game is going to be a challenge. I don’t care who you play, where you play. You have to be ready to go.”
- In addition to being tight-lipped about who will fill Andre Dillard’s spot, Steichen also wouldn’t discuss Jim Bob Cooter’s involvement in the game management aspect of their planning or whether they are planning to motion pre-snap more often.
- Steichen mentioned how defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has done a really good job with the defense and has tested the offense a lot during training camp.