The Eagles were back to work on Friday for their second training camp practice, but before hitting the field, defensive coordinator Sean Desai spoke to reporters about the development of some players, how they’re learning the defense, and his opinion on Matt Patricia joining the staff.
He said that Jalen Carter is learning how to be a pro, and he’s embracing all the nuances of making the transition to the NFL and doing a great job. Desai also lauded the coaches and the organization’s development program, saying they have a team of people who are there to help rookies adapt at the next level.
Here’s what else the DC had to say:
On Nakobe Dean
“The biggest thing I see from him, is the ability and willingness to keep growing. And that’s what we’re looking for — really, out of all these guys, and him in particular, because it’s a new role for him. We’re excited about it, because he’s got that mindset, he’s been really working hard, obviously in the offseason and all summer, in constant communication with his coaches and myself, and kind of just setting himself up. And he’s gotta keep taking that mindset.”
On learning the new defense
Desai said that he thinks most of the guys have a really good grasp of the defense at this point, and it was evident that they really worked hard during the summer to develop what they started working on in the spring. The DC acknowledged that they’ll be throwing a lot at them during training camp, and that’s intentional as they try and challenge guys.
He went on to explain that he’s really upfront with his players about what the expectations are, so even though they’re getting a lot of information up front, they’re trusting that there is a reason for it. Desai said that balance of not overwhelming young guys while giving them a lot at once is the art of coaching.
The DC also pointed out that while he thinks he gives them a lot of information during installs, one player on Thursday told him it wasn’t a lot, so it’s all about perspective.
Desai later talked about how it’s only Day 2, so there’s still a lot of evaluation that needs to be had, but they want to see guys in different situations, how they handle getting tired and playing in the heat. They want to see how guys adapt.
On Sydney Brown getting play time
“It takes the same as it does for Darius Slay to get on the field, right? They gotta prove it. They gotta prove that they’re mastering the defense, they’re mastering their technique and fundamentals, and that they’re building confidence with the people around them. It’s 11 is 1.”
Desai acknowledged that guys like Slay and Bradberry have had more time to prove themselves, and also know how to prove themselves, so they do have a little advantage. He went on to explain that’s what Brown needs to learn is how to fit in and how to prove it, how to earn that respect and accountability from his peers to earn a spot on a really good defense.
“That’s on those guys and they know that. And we’re going to help them. We’re going to nurture them and develop them the same way, and coach them hard, and hold them accountable, and make sure they get opportunities to compete. But, it’s a work in progress.”
On Matt Patricia on the defensive staff
Desai said that the NFL is all about talent acquisition and that includes at the coaching level. They want as many talented people as they can get, who have no egos, and are working together toward a common cause — the DC said that’s what Nick Sirianni, Jeffrey Lurie, and Howie Roseman all preach.
“Matt’s a tremendous asset. I mean, he’s got so many years of experience on all sides of the ball and as a head coach, as a coordinator, as a position coach, coaching different position rooms. So, he’s been a tremendous asset. I think for me, obviously, and really for our staff. We’ve really integrated it well, and he’s able to help a lot of different people.”
- As far as guys getting reps, Desai said they are at a point where they need to get everybody reps, so with what part of the depth chart isn’t as important. He explained that they need to get everybody on tape, get everybody evaluated, and give them all a fair chance to compete, so he’s not a big fan of keeping depth groups together to accomplish that.
- The DC said he’s excited to go through training camp with Nick Sirianni, and so far has really enjoyed how the Eagles’ head coach goes about things and the energy he brings to practice.
- He said they have a lot of guys on the roster that can be impactful pass rushers, and it’s their job to find roles and ways for them to be efficient.
- Desai talked about the importance and benefit of having so many veterans on defense and having guys who not only can help the younger players, but also provide insight from their experience for him as he looks to learn and grow as the defensive coordinator.