The Eagles were off on Wednesday, but they were back for another practice in pads Thursday, and head coach Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters before taking the field. He talked about Jalen Hurts’ consistency, his relationship with OC Brian Johnson, and what he’s seen from the running back group.
Here’s what the head coach had to say:
On padded practice
“Our guys, when they’re out here, they’re grinding and they’re working their butts off, so it was an intense practice. It was a physical practice, and that’s who we pride ourselves on being, is a physically tough football team, and you saw that in our practice. The way our offensive and defensive line went against each other each period, and also the way our defense tried to take away the ball, and our offense tried to protect the football. So, I just thought it was physical — a physical practice to start off with pads, and we look to build on that.”
On Jalen Hurts
“I just think his consistency is showing. You’re gonna make splash plays in camp. You’re gonna make some plays that you want back in camp, and that’s all part of the process of getting better every day, learning from your mistakes, also getting better from the things you’ve done well. I’ve just seen his consistency over, and over, again.”
Sirianni said that of course Hurts has made some pretty big plays during camp, noting one particular pass to A.J. Brown on a vertical route was awesome to see, but overall the QB’s consistency has stood out.
“I think he’s operating at a very high level as far as within the offense, just understanding even more so why we do things, how we do things, and he’s really like a coach on the field.”
On Brian Johnson
Sirianni was asked how his relationship with Brian Johnson has evolved now that he’s in the offensive coordinator role. The head coach explained that they’ve developed a relationship the past few years, so there hasn’t been much change in how that’s progressed naturally.
“When you’re a quarterback coach, you’re in all the discussions that a coordinator and head coach are in together. So, Brian’s been there through all our discussions and it just so happens he’s got a different hat on this year. But, really value the relationship we have.”
The head coach pointed out that he didn’t know Johnson when he got to Philly, other than from the interviews and what people had said about him, and he’s happy to have him on the team.
“He’s just done an outstanding job since the day he set foot in here, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him and be his colleague, and also his friend.”
On the RB position
The head coach wouldn’t say whether he expects the Eagles offense to have a pure by committee approach to the running backs. He explained that they’re just now getting in pads, which is when the RBs typically shine, so there’s still time to see how they can utilize their different talents.
Sirianni mentioned Trey Sermon among those he’s excited about this year, and was later asked what he saw from Sermon last year to elicit his frequent attention. He explained that Sermon was someone they were interested in drafting out of Ohio State, so they were excited to get him last year, and he was able to get some playing time despite another talented depth chart. When Sermon did get on the field, they felt like he did a good job with his opportunities.
“We saw it every day in practice. The consistency, the athleticism, his quickness, his physicality. He’s a big, good-looking guy, and we really value that style of run that he has.”
The head coach was later asked about DeAndre Swift, with Sirianni said that the RB is a playmaker and he can create mismatches. He said that Swift is not only talented, but also put in a lot of work to be able to catch the ball as well as he does, but it really makes him a dual-threat back and he can be moved around to multiple spots.
- Sirianni said that he doesn’t consider there to be any kind of contract situation with Haason Reddick, in light of his injury. The defender has been there every single day, and he’s working to get back out on the practice field and making sure he’s healthy so the injury he’s working through doesn’t linger all season. But, Reddick is engaged in meetings, engaged in the training room.
- Sirianni admitted missing having Shane Steichen and Jonathan Gannon around, saying that they were great coaches and good friends, but he tries to stay in touch. He joked that he called Gannon on Wednesday, but the new Cardinals head coach didn’t answer, assuming he’s busy.
- He explained that K’Von Wallace has earned some first team reps. Wallace has gotten some good special teams experience the past two years, and now that there’s some availability at the safety position, he’s someone who is in the mix.