The Eagles are back to work on Wednesday and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson spoke to reporters about having to prepare better for blitzes, something they’ll see a lot of on Monday, as well as a look into how Jalen Hurts has developed on and off the field. He also was asked about reports he was up for the Panthers head coaching job, but didn’t offer much on the topic.
Johnson said they always take into consideration the health of their players when preparing for a game, but at the end of the day, playing those 17 regular seasons game was all to get to this point. Their spot in the postseason is all that matters right now, and they’ll need to have a great plan and execute at a high level, so they all recognize the urgency to get that done.
Here’s what else the OC had to say:
On reports he is up for Panthers HC job
“I have no comment. All of my focus is about this week and we got a great opportunity, with a special group of people, to go out there and put on a great performance against Tampa Bay. And, that’s where all of our focus and energy is at the moment.”
When pressed, Johnson wouldn’t say anything about the potential interview and just reiterated that he’s focused on this Monday night game.
He did later talk about how head coach Nick Sirianni has been a great resource for him, and is someone that he can bounce ideas off of. Johnson highlighted how great his relationship with Sirianni is, especially considering that before the OC came to Philly, they didn’t know each other.
On preparing for the blitz
The OC noted that first and foremost, it’s on the coaches to give the players the tools and answers they need to go out there and execute their jobs. He also gave credit to the Giants for doing some unique things against them in Week 18, but Johnson called it a moment they can learn from.
He later talked about how Todd Bowles has coached blitzes at a high level for a long time, and they have a lot of different fronts, different personnel groupings, being able to mix and match, and being able to package it in a way where it looks similar to other things they can present. So the Eagles will have to be on top of it with their identification system.
On Jalen Hurts
Johnson was asked if Hurts’ experiences have hardened him, both making him physically stronger, but also harder to open up. The OC noted that Hurts has had a unique journey and very unique experiences in his football life.
“But, I think he’s a guy whose teammates have a ton of respect for, and he’s a guy that’s extremely consistent, day in and day out. Being the same guy every day, holding himself to the same standard — to the same foundational goals that he’s had since he’s been a youngster.”
Later on, he was asked about what may have changes for Hurts since the beginning of the season, with the offense not really firing on all cylinders.
“To be completely honest with you, I think the last couple of weeks, Jalen [Hurts] has been playing some really, really clean football in terms of what he’s seeing, what he’s processing, how he’s looking at it. We just gotta continue to make the most of every possession, and put ourselves in the situations where we’re not getting behind the sticks, where we’re not putting ourselves in some unfavorable situations.”
- Johnson noted that defense’s vary each week, but across the league, you’re probably seeing more shell coverages with teams looking to limit explosive plays. So, he doesn’t see teams using more Cover-4 and Cover-6 against them the past couple weeks exclusive to the Eagles.
- He talked about the Bucs defense and how they’re different now compared to when they played each other in Week 3, and Johnson acknowledged that they’re definitely healthier, they’ve got a great veteran group, and are well-coached.
- The OC noted that his role is obviously different this year, and with that, he’s still in some of the QB meetings, but Alex Tanney runs those, and Johnson spends time with other position groups. He also explained that with the experience that Hurts has, in addition to Marcus Mariota, the QB room has become more discussion-based and less lecture-based. Johnson said that’s what happens when you have guys who understand the vision, and know what’s going on, and they’re able to contribute great ideas, as well.