The Eagles will host the Browns in their second preseason game on Thursday night at 7:30 on NBC10 and we’re less than two weeks from final cuts.
It’s hard to believe the summer is flying by this quickly.
With that in mind, it’s time to empty the training camp notebook:
Eager to watch
The Eagles starters came out for pregame warmups in full uniform on Saturday before their first preseason game but they didn’t play. The Eagles really just wanted them to practice warming up. But then the starters watched as their backups — and lot of guys who won’t make the roster — played the entire game.
Expect more of that for the starters on Thursday night after two joint practices against the Browns this week.
Head coach Nick Sirianni doesn’t have a bunch of rules for his starters during preseason games. He really has just one thing he wants from them: To be good teammates.
“That's really the main thing,” Sirianni said. “Support your teammates.”
Jalen Hurts, who probably won’t see time in games all preseason, still finds value in being on the sideline.
“I’m just making the calls myself in my head and listening to the coaching points with the coaches on the headset with them,” Hurts said. “Just learning. I’m a student when I’m in that mode. It’s very valuable. I think about all the opportunities I’ve had where I come off from the sideline or the bench and I’m always prepared in those moments. I see it no differently here.”
Starting nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox said he becomes a coach for his younger teammates.
“It’s cool,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to help the guys that’s out there on the field. Whatever you see, I just try to give as many tips as I can. I’m excited, I’m energized, I’m screaming and yelling. I’m talking to the other team, I’m talking to our guys. I just want to see each and everyone of us out there succeed.”
Haason Reddick didn’t play in that first preseason game and now he’s nursing a thumb injury, although the team expects him to be ready for the season opener.
For Reddick, it’s a little weird to just watch a game from the sideline.
“Man, it’s crazy, you know?” Reddick said. “Because you get out there, you stand on the sidelines and you’re watching all these young guys make all kinds of great plays, see the fans in the stands and you’re just sitting there like, ‘I can’t wait! I can’t wait for the season, I can’t wait for my time to get out there in front of the fans and get involved as well.’
“But it’s good, though. You get out there and get to watch the young guys who you been around all camp, working hard with and just get to see how they have been progressing.”
Some veteran guidance
Second-year safety Reed Blankenship has had a tremendous training camp and kept it going against the Browns with three interceptions off Deshaun Watson in two days.
His teammates have certainly taken notice.
“I see Reed growing each and every day,” veteran cornerback James Bradberry said. “I think he’s going to have a bigger role this year, of course, because we lost some safeties. But I’m seeing confidence each and every day from him. He’s picking up the defense and also he’s really learning how offenses work in the league. So I think he’s going to be able to think a lot faster this year.”
When Blankenship heard what Bradberry said about him, he was excited to tell everyone how much Bradberry has helped him.
“Shout out to James Bradberry because he’s taught me a lot,” Blankenship said. “Just asking him questions and seeing where his thought process is, it helps me a lot. I try to understand where he’s coming from and it’s allowed me to be more confident out there. We communicate a lot. Especially having (Darius) Slay on the other side too and Terrell (Edmunds), having experience in our room, if you have any sort of question, they’ll answer it for you. They’re not going to snub their nose at you or anything. They’re going to be there to help you out.”
The newest Jordan athlete
This week, we found out that Hurts officially signed with Jordan Brand, which makes a lot of sense. Hurts seems to be a good match and Michael Jordan has always been an idol of his.
“It’s a great honor,” Hurts said. “I obviously have a ton of respect for MJ and what he’s been able to build and his brand and that brand. And to be a part of that now and carry on that legacy that he set and carry on his legacy, it’s an honor.”
In an interview with CBS Sports, Hurts said he has not yet met Jordan but that he has spoken with Jordan and considers him a mentor.
At Tuesday’s practice, Hurts showed up in Jordan 1 Chicago cleats. Does he want to wear any particular Jordans as cleats in 2023?
“We’ll have to see what comes,” Hurts said. “So y’all have fun with that when they show up on my feet.”
Expectations for Jalen Carter
Over the last week especially, we’re seeing more and more flash plays from rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
Carter is entering a good situation in Philadelphia, with a team that already has a lot of talent on the defensive line. But as the No. 9 overall pick, there are going to be some high expectations for Carter right away.
“I talk to him all about every day,” Eagles D-line coach Tracy Rocker said. “The biggest thing is keep repeating what we do every day at a high level. That’s all what I’ve talked to him about. And being a pro. This is not easy. It moves fast and you’re playing against bigger and stronger people. And that’s all we talk about. How to be a pro, how to keep getting better and staying in tune and staying focused because training camp is long. It’s a long deal and every day is different.”
That really seems like the next step for Carter. Turning these flashes into consistently good play. With the Eagles’ rotation, he won’t be asked to play every snap; but he’ll be asked to go hard on the snaps he does get.
Carter got just two snaps against the Ravens in his NFL preseason debut, but the first was a beauty. Carter used a club move to bust into the backfield and pick up a QB hit.
The rest of the defense had fun watching that play on tape.
“Just a lot of energy,” Reddick said. “Because we lost a great pass rusher in (Javon) Hargrave and just to see how closely he moves like Grave, doing some of the same things and just his intensity. He’s a dawg. He goes out there and he plays hard. Everybody is excited for that.”