Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles training camp notes: Jurgens beefing up, Maddox on the mend and more

In the latest Eagles notes, Cam Jurgens is putting on weight, Avonte Maddox is getting healthy and more

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It’s hard to believe the Eagles will take on the Ravens in the preseason opener in a little over a week.

The Eagles have already gotten through five training camp practices and we’ve learned a ton from watching the field and talking to players afterward.

The summer is moving right along so before we get behind, it’s time to empty the notebook:

Avonte on the mend

The Eagles had a tremendous season in 2022 but it was a struggle for nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox, who played in just 11 of 20 total games including playoffs. He missed time with three different injuries.

After the season ended, Maddox had surgery to repair his toe in February. At training camp this summer, he’s been a limited participant but has been working his way back.

Maddox said recently that he’s feeling “pretty good.”

“It’s an everyday process, working on it little by little,” Maddox said. “But I definitely feel better each and every day I come out. You have those days where it’s stiff a little bit but just keep working through it.”

Maddox admitted recently that he knew instantly when he hurt his toe that he would need surgery but didn’t want to miss the last two games of the season. He played the last two playoff games, including Super Bowl LVII, with a plate in his left shoe so he couldn’t bend his injured toe.

“It was tough at first because there would be days where I’m like ‘F— I can’t run or I can’t walk,’” Maddox said. “But as the days kept going and going and the scar tissue kept building over it, it gave me the opportunity to play and run.”

So far this summer, Maddox has been working his way back, taking some practice reps in 11-on-11s. That process is expected to continue throughout the summer. He’s still a very important piece to the Eagles’ secondary but the Eagles really need him to be on the field more in 2023.

Jalen Hurts showing off consistency

Thursday’s practice might have been Jalen Hurts’ worst practice of the summer so far. And he was still very, very good.

That kind of tells you how well Hurts has played this training camp.

“I just think his consistency is showing,” head coach Nick Sirianni said. “Again, you're going to make splash plays in camp. You're going to 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, and also getting better from the things that you've done well.

“But I just see his consistency over and over again. I'm sure he has made some big-time plays that you guys have seen. That throw to A.J. (Brown) on the vertical route (about a 50-yard pass on Tuesday) was awesome.

“It's just really been his consistency. I think he is 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 with those things like that.”

This is really the next step in Hurts’ development as he continues to get more and more comfortable in Sirianni’s offense. He’s now in Year 3 of that offense and there should be some benefits to that.

Looking back at last summer, there were some glimpses of greatness from Hurts in training camp but he wasn’t nearly as consistent as he has been this year. There are still the same kind of high points in practice but the low points aren’t nearly as low. Hurts is playing like an elite quarterback.

“[Consistency is] always a priority and it’s always a goal,” Hurts said. “I don’t think there’s been any difference how I’ve been this whole time, my whole career, in terms of my goals, my approach, my intent towards practice and how it’s been. I always strive to be the best I can be and continue to learn and continue to positively affect the people around me.”

Beef Jurgey living up to his name

Back in OTAs, Cam Jurgens talked about his desire to put on some weight as he transitions from center to guard in his second NFL season. Jurgens is clearly winning the competition for the right guard spot through the first five practices.

Recently, Jurgens said he has put on some weight since the spring.

Jurgens is listed at 6-foot-3, 303 pounds. So how much does he weigh now?

“I fluctuate a lot but I’m a little over 300,” Jurgens answered.

There’s probably some detail that Jurgens left out but his basic strategy for weight gain is a tried and true method.

“Eat what tastes good,” Jurgens said. “I had two ribeye steaks last night for dinner. Charles in the cafeteria makes a mean ribeye.”

Because Jurgens is never going to have the prototypical guard size the Eagles generally tend to like — think Landon Dickerson or Brandon Brooks — he knows he will need to play the position differently. Jurgens has already been able to show his athleticism in practice and has a good understanding of how to use his leverage, just like Jason Kelce has for years at the center position.

But a little weight gain is probably smart. Shout out Charles in the cafeteria.

Blankenship feeling comfortable

There’s undoubtedly a competition going on at the safety position this summer. But it looks like that competition is at one of the two spots. Because at the other, second-year player Reed Blankenship has gotten every first-team rep.

A year after Blankenship had to claw his way on to the roster as a relatively unknown undrafted rookie, he’s in the driver’s seat of a starting spot right now.

What a difference a year makes.

“I just feel like I have a little more confidence,” Blankenship said. “I know how to play the game a little bit better and it goes back to who we have in the room. (Darius) Slay, James (Bradberry), all those older guys. It helps a lot. I have questions, they answer them. We work together. That’s what really helps me.”

Blankenship earned a roster spot last summer and then earned the right to be active on game days and then he eventually earned his way into the rotation and played well when he was on defense in 2022. He just chipped away.

It really all started last summer when the pads went on. So he was happy on Tuesday when the pads returned.

“Yeah, I mean, that’s what football is. It’s a violent sport,” Blankenship said. “Once you put the pads on, it really shows who you are as a person and as a football player too.”

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