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Eagles training camp observations: Hurts takes tough coaching from Sirianni


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Eagles training camp observations: Hurts takes tough coaching from Sirianni

Some tough love from Nick Sirianni, a possible serious injury and some 1-on-1 highlights in the latest Eagles practice observations

By Dave Zangaro  Published August 4, 2023


A light rain began to fall on Friday morning at the NovaCare Complex as the Eagles held their longest practice of the summer. It lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes.

This was the second day of their first back-to-back sessions of training camp.

A few injury tidbits, a fired up head coach and some highlight plays in today’s observations:

1. As always, housekeeping:

The Eagles might have suffered their first significant injury of training camp, when outside linebacker Patrick Johnson went down on Friday. Johnson was tended to on the field and some teammates stopped by to wish him well before he was carted to the trainer’s tent and then eventually inside. It didn’t look good. That’s a shame because Johnson was off to a very good start in camp, making splash plays almost daily. You could see how disappointed his teammates were to see him get hurt.

It sounds like the Eagles and Johnson dodged a bullet:


James Bradberry (groin) and Nakobe Dean (ankle) are listed as day-to-day after suffering injuries in Thursday’s practice. Both were on the field Friday as spectators.

Here’s the full injury report from the start of practice:

Will not practice: Bradberry (groin), Dean (ankle), Deon Cain (ankle)

Limited: Derek Barnett (knee), Avonte Maddox (toe), Haason Reddick (groin soreness)

2. Some depth chart notes from Friday:

• Cam Jurgens again began the day as the first-team right guard. But during some 11-on-11 situations, the Eagles pulled Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson before the completion of the period, which led to a shift with the first team. When that happened, Jurgens went to center and was replaced by Tyler Steen, while Jack Driscoll filled in for Johnson at right tackle. Steen began the day as the second-team left tackle for the second straight day, which is the best sign yet that Jurgens has won the right guard job.

• Without Dean, the Eagles are pretty light on linebackers, so keep that in mind. But the first two off-ball ‘backers with the first team were Christian Elliss and Nolan Smith. Smith also got some off-ball linebacker snaps on Thursday and that’s worth monitoring. It could be a unique way to get him on the field more as a rookie instead of just his normal reps as an edge rusher.

• Saw some big nickel from the Eagles again on Friday with safety Terrell Edmunds playing in the box. That is a tool in Sean Desai’s tool belt.

• Reed Blankenship still gets every first-team rep at safety. Edmunds began the day next to him and K’Von Wallace rotated in. Rookie Sydney Brown got more second-team reps. Josiah Scott got his first safety reps of camp; he got a ton of work there last summer.

• Without Bradberry, second-year cornerback Josh Jobe got work with the first team.

• Jake Elliott made all six of his field goal attempts in a competitive setting early in practice. It was notable that Arryn Siposs held for the first three and Ty Zentner held the next three. The operation looked pretty smooth with both of them.

3. One of Sirianni’s five core values is accountability and that applies to every player and coach, including the $255 million franchise quarterback. During a 2-minute drill late in practice, the Eagles were practicing with a running clock. When Jalen Hurts didn’t manage the clock properly, Sirianni really gave it to him, shouting about Hurts' mismanagement of the clock.

Hurts walked to the sideline and then a few minutes later, dropped to the ground and did some pushups, seemingly punishing himself.

We’ve heard a bunch about how coachable Hurts has been in his career and this is the latest example. Hurts was coached by his father in high school and then got a healthy dose of Nick Saban at Alabama. Hurts has even said he likes to be coached hard and responds to it.

4. Hurts has been pretty great all training camp but finally threw his first interception of the summer in that same situational drill that ended with Sirianni screaming. Hurts tried to get a pass to Dallas Goedert on the right sideline but Darius Slay had dropped back underneath and picked him off. It has been a quiet training camp for Slay but he finally got on the board.

5. The offensive highlight from 11-on-11s was a play where Hurts rolled left, reversed course and sprinted all the way back to the right side of the field and unleashed a bullet to Goedert. The Eagles’ star tight end threw out one paw and snagged the pass for a first down.

6. I watched 1-on-1s between receivers and corners today. Here were some highlights:

• Olamide Zaccheaus (who has had a quiet summer) dusted Kelee Ringo with a quick double move and made a nice catch. A double move in a 1-on-1 is tough, especially for a little receiver vs. a big corner. Zaccheaus also got free on Mario Goodrich later.

• Quez Watkins might have had the overall play of the day with a leaping grab over Avonte Maddox in the corner of the end zone. A bit later, Watkins beat Mekhi Garner with a little double move for a touchdown.

• Goedert had a highlight rep grab over Eli Ricks in the right corner of the end zone. Tough duty for Ricks.

• Greedy Williams had solid position on Tyrie Cleveland but Cleveland rose above him to grab a perfectly thrown ball from Marcus Mariota.

• The last rep of 1-on-1s had the potential to be a big play for Ringo but the Eagles’ rookie cornerback didn’t make a play. He had good coverage on Charleston Rambo but when the ball was in the air and Rambo was reacting to it, Ringo never turned his head or even put his hands up and Rambo made the grab. Gotta do more than he did. More on Ringo later.

7. With the injury to Bradberry, Jobe was out there with the first-team defense and had a notable matchup against DeVonta Smith in 7-on-7s. Jobe had extremely tight coverage on Smith and was able to knock down a pass with one hand on a ball that was well placed from Hurts.

But a bit later, Jobe slipped on the field (it was misting at that point) and Smith broke free on a curl, catching a ball in the front corner of the end zone near the pylon. Like we’ve seen a million times from Smith, this was elite body control.

8. Of the three top running backs (D’Andre Swift, Kenny Gainwell and Rashaad Penny), it’s probably safe to say Penny has had the quietest training camp. But the Eagles ran a stretch play to the right with Penny on Friday and he got to show some burst, busting it down the sideline. I had been waiting to see this from him.

9. Let’s get back to Ringo. He had a great pass breakup on Thursday and had another nice breakup on Friday on a pass to Britain Covey in the middle of the field. Ringo bullied him.

But after failing to turn his head or even get a hand up in that 1-on-1 drill, he did it again late in a team drill and was flagged for an obvious defensive pass interference. We’ve seen some good flashes from Ringo but he has been handsy at times and isn’t a finished product yet.

10. Undrafted receiver Joseph Ngata is standing out a bit. He beat Ringo on an inside move for a touchdown from Mariota in a red zone drill during team drills. Ringo is a big guy but so is Ngata and he was able to use his body to shield Ringo from the ball. Of all the depth receivers, Ngata has probably looked the best this summer.

Stupid Observation of the Day: During receiver drills early in practice, Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson was throwing passes and looked great. Johnson last played at the University of Utah back in 2008 but he was a very good college QB. He’s 36 now but can still spin it.


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