The Eagles were back at practice on Sunday, and with training camp well underway, head coach Nick Sirianni took some time before hitting the field to talk to reporters. He spoke about developing younger talent, why he’s excited about DeAndre Swift, and how the defensive players are adapting to new DC, Sean Desai.
Sirianni rarely speaks on player injuries, and mentioned that Haason Reddick (groin) would get individual work on Sunday, and also mentioned that Avonte Maddox is still recovering with a toe injury.
Here’s what else the head coach had to say:
On young players developing
Sirianni said that there isn’t necessarily more pressure on the rookies and young guys in camp, and they take time to incorporate developmental periods at the end of practice and during walkthroughs. He explained that they’re trying to let guys build their confidence through those reps, and learn with other players in that same spot.
The head coach wasn’t quite sure when the pads would come on, admitting he was worried about the heat on Sunday, but noted that it’s hard to get a real evaluation of the offensive and defensive lines until they’re in pads. Still, he’s seen good things out of rookie Nolan Smith.
“You obviously see his [Nolan Smith] talent with his athleticism and how hard he plays. So, it’s very noticeable of not only his get-off of how he gets off the football, but also how he retraces to get to the football. Whether that’s running down a play that’s gotten behind him or what not, you see how hard he plays on a play-to-play basis.”
Later, Sirianni was asked about Cam Jurgens at right guard, and he reiterated that it’s hard to evaluate lineman until they have pads on. He explained that for now, they’re looking at his movements and how he’s communicating with the guys next to him — but Sirianni admitted being sandwiched by Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson certainly helps with that. He also was sure to point out that the right guard job isn’t just being given to the second year player.
“I think to say that he [Cam Jurgens] is there and he is there exclusively would be unfair to the other guys that are competing with him because, again, you’re going to find out more and more as the pads come on.
So, he’ll be there today again, but nothing is in stone, and we’ll just keep working to make sure that we put the right five guys out there when we go.”
On DeAndre Swift and the RB role
“He has a unique ability. He has unique ability, which is part of the reason why we wanted him to be on this football team.
So, we really like some of the things that he can do out of the backfield as a runner and also as a receiver. He is showing that he has that ability of what we thought that he had when he was in Detroit and then coming out of Georgia also.”
It was pointed out that the Eagles didn’t use their two running backs much in the passing game last season, but Sirianni said that it’s all about maximizing the talent of the guys on the roster — not to mention that the passing game goes through A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert. The head coach said he expects the offense to be similar in that regard this season, but acknowledged that Swift and Kenny Gainwell can be other options.
He was later asked about the use of the running backs in the screen game, and while it’s not something they’ve done a lot of, Sirianni thinks they have the offensive line talent to be able to do more of that. The coaches will see how the offense evolves, but he thinks the o-line gives them an opportunity to do different things.
On defensive players acclimating to DC Sean Desai
“I see them flying around and executing well and making plays. You always want to see that energy out of them.
You’re always going to have some mistakes here and there each day, but I think that Sean [Desai] has done a good job of letting them understand what the scheme is, how the scheme works, similarities in scheme that they were a part of last year to this year and the differences.
I think the defense is on the right track, and Sean has done a great job of connecting with the players and really painting the job description of exactly what he wants on every single play versus all the different looks you could get.”
- He was seen yelling at players during a ball security drill the other day in practice, and Sirianni explained that sometimes corrections happen with support and sometimes corrections happen by getting after a player. The art of coaching is knowing when to use each method, but overall he doesn’t think he’s any more animated now than before.
- Sirianni is excited for the players and fans to wear Kelly green this season. He admitted the one Eagles jersey he owns is a Kelly green Mike Quick jersey.