Training camp at the NovaCare Complex is three practices in now and there are plenty of interesting tidbits to discuss.
It’s refreshing to have Eagles beat writers back on the sidelines to give us their in depth notes on the happenings of each day. That insight was sorely missed at last year’s camp.
Let’s get into some of the biggest takeaways from Eagles training camp so far.
Disclaimer: I was not in attendance at camp, these are just observations from several beat writers, with my thoughts sprinkled in of course.
Jalen Hurts has improved his play throughout the first three practices
The first major talking point that most Eagles fans discussed following the first day of camp was Jalen Hurts’ lack luster performance. From inaccurate passes, to poor decision making. All the things Hurts critics harped on throughout the offseason seemed to rear their ugly head during the first day.
But, according to most beat writers at camp, Hurts looked a lot better after the first practice. His play is still not perfect, though. Which is to be expected this early in camp from a second-year quarterback.
According to resident stat keeper at Eagles training camp, Eliot Shorr-Parks, Hurts has gone 20/31 with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception in 48 reps through two days of work.
Josh Sweat could be the starting defensive end Week 1
I was a bit surprised when I saw this from the day one notes, but it appears Josh Sweat is the starting defensive end opposite of Brandon Graham at this point. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has stated that he views both Sweat and Derek Barnett as starters in his defense.
So far, the Eagles have been running a lot of hybrid fronts with their linebackers and defensive lineman. And Gannon has also stated that he wants to create a swarming, attack-style defense here in Philly. This kind of style obviously fits the personnel at the Eagles disposal, especially a guy like Sweat.
By all accounts, Sweat has had a great camp thus far. Not only disrupting the quarterback on nearly every passing play, but he’s also blown up several running plays as well. A great sign for the former fourth-round pick.
If you haven’t already bought some Sweat stock, now might be the time. It’ll be fun to see what this kid does in an expanded role this year.
Nick Sirianni’s hands-on approach
One of the most important things for a rookie head coach is to establish the tone early in camp. It appears Nick Sirianni has done that throughout the first few days of camp, and his players are feeding off it.
During the third day of practice, Sirianni halted every drill and had his players meet in the middle of the field. The head coach wasn’t happy with the way practice had gone up to that point and he let his players know. According to a handful of reporters, the team had a noticeable hop in their step following the team meeting.
It’s not revolutionary for a head coach to this kind of thing during practice. If you’ve ever played organized sports, you’ve probably been a part of something similar. But it’s great to see Sirianni not be timid with his new team. Not letting things continually slip until the end of practice seems to be Sirianni’s mode of operation, and I like that.
When Darius Slay was asked about the impromptu team meeting, he simply said, “It worked.” He continued with, ” One thing we know about this team and the coaching staff, they already harped on us, is that, ‘Man, don’t take it the hard way,’ because they’re doing it out of love, they’re doing it out of respect.”
Davion Taylor has been impressive
Probably the most eye opening storyline from the start of camp, has been Davion Taylor’s emergence as a potential starter in Gannon’s defense this year. The second-year linebacker has been somewhat of an afterthought throughout the offseason, but after steadily meeting with the defensive coaches during the summer and continuing to work on his game, Taylor seems primed to start in year two.
During the first day of camp, Taylor ran the first team defense with Eric Wilson. The next day, Wilson was relegated to second team, but Taylor remained on the field with the starters. It’s important to note that Alex Singleton has yet to practice due to his placement on the reserve/COVID list, but at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Taylor takes his starting spot outright.
Taylor’s athletic ability has been his calling card since entering the league. It’s the reason he’s such a high-ceiling player. He had a few nice reps during team drills on Friday, breaking up a handful of passes.
If Taylor can put it all together, he’s unquestionably the starting linebacker of the future here in Philly. He’ll be one of the players I watch the closest once the preseason games roll around.
Some miscellaneous thoughts
- Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard have essentially split snaps throughout the first week of camp. From most reports, Mailata has looked more consistent.
- Zach Ertz is sporting a new hair dew. Howie Roseman was asked about Ertz and he said that he expects Ertz to be on the team come Week 1.
- Joe Flacco hasn’t looked great throughout camp so far. Some expect Nick Mullens to overtake Flacco as the QB2.
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