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Nick Sirianni talks Jalen Carter, Reed Blankenship, and Eagles roster moves

The Eagles head coach spoke to reporters ahead of their joint practice with the Colts, and talked about injury issues on special teams, Jalen Carter and Reed Blankenship’s development.

The Eagles had one final practice — which ended early in wild fashion — before their third preseason game on Thursday night, and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters before hitting the field. He talked about Zech McPhearson’s injury and how it affects special teams, his thoughts on Myles Jack’s retirement, and hoe Reed Blankenship made the most of his opportunity at this time last year.

Sirianni also finally admitted that Cam Jurgens is their right guard, joking that he’s been in every snap, so of course he’s the guy. On why he didn’t make it official earlier, Sirianni simply said it’s because he didn’t have to.

Here’s what else the head coach had to say:

On Zech McPhearson’s injury

Sirianni was asked about how Zech McPhearson missing the season, and the head coach empathized with the versatile player, recalling how difficult it is to miss a year due to injury.

“First and foremost, you feel for the kid, because you know what he’s about to have to go through. But, as far as, you know, he’s been a key contributor to this team for the past two years, and so obviously, miss those contributions that he gave to us — not only as depth at corner, but also on special teams.”

The head coach later mentioned that they have some options to fill the role on special teams — from both McPhearson and LB Shaun Bradley — with corners and linebackers.

“The sad part is when a guy gets hurt, right, and then the exciting part is somebody else has an opportunity.”

On Myles Jack retiring

“Sometimes it’s just time. Obviously, won’t get into any private conversations we have together, but felt like it was his time to not play anymore. And so, you always have to respect that decision, as disappointed as we may be.”

On Jalen Carter’s transition to the NFL

“I think he’s [Jalen Carter] fitting in really well with the team. It obviously helps that he’s got guys that he came here with that he knows well. He’s done a good job so far. Haven’t played any games yet, but we’re looking forward to the contributions that he’s going to make because I think that he’s shown that he’s really going to be able to help us. But he’s just got to put his head down and keep getting better every day, which I know he will because he’s done it the last two months here.”

On Reed Blankenship’s development

Sirianni said that he was working on his talk for Wednesday’s team meeting, and had been putting a lot of things together about where safety Reed Blankenship was at this point last year. Heading into the third preseason game of 2022, Sirianni pressed Blankenship about what he was going to do to make the team, and now, he’s up for a starting spot. The head coach touted Blankenship — and Britain Covey — making the most of his opportunity.

“But Reed has always had this playmaking ability, going back to the 419 tackles at Middle Tennessee State. He just keeps developing.

One compliment you can give a guy that in our locker room is like man, he’s just a good football player, and he’s just a good football player, and that’s how I feel about Reed, and he’s continuing to get better. He’s continuing to see everything as a safety and make strides there in his football IQ.

I’m obviously pleased with where he is right now and the growth that he’s had in the past year.”

Other notables

  • He had a chance to catch up with Shane Steichen, noting they had a staff get-together on Monday, to sort out practice. Said it was good to see him, and recalled how meticulous Steichen has been throughout his career. Sirianni also noted that since the Eagles don’t play the Colts this year, he’ll always root for Steichen.
  • Sirianni talked about what he’s seen from his team these past few weeks, and said that this time is for evaluating things they do well, things they want to focus on, and what they might need to scrap. It’s a constant evaluation of players and the scheme, and making sure it fits the talent they have.

“One thing that we were really good at last year was being a team, and you feel the same things here, and I feel like they’re just working hard not only in the process of football but also hard off the field creating those relationships.”

  • On cutting punter Ty Zentner, Sirianni said that Arryn Siposs had done enough for them to feel comfortable, with some of the injuries, it was a numbers game and they needed roster spots elsewhere.

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