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June 07, 2024

Eagles minicamp practice notes: '95 percent' of the offense is new

Regarding the Eagles' offense under Kellen Moore this year, Jalen Hurts said, "That time comes when you can rep it, rep it, rep it later on, but right now it's been a lot of inventory in, the majority of it — probably 95 percent of it — being new."

Eagles NFL
Jalen-Hurts-minicamp-1.jpg Colleen Claggett/PhillyVoice

Kellen Moore watches Jalen Hurts throw.

The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday, and will not be on the practice fields as a team again until training camp begins in late July. As always, we have practice notes, though I should note that it was a very short practice..

• The first-team offense looked sluggish, as it has throughout the spring. On two different plays during 7-on-7's — as well as two different plays during 11-on-11's — the ball either never came out of Jalen Hurts' hand, or it came out exceedingly late, long after he would have already been sacked. Part of that may very well have been because the defense had good coverage, but it has also felt a lot like the offense is working their way through Kellen Moore's new scheme.

Generally speaking, spring practices (OTAs and this latest minicamp) were definitively won by the defense, and probably for good reason, even though the offense is widely regarded as the more talented unit. The Eagles have run some version of Vic Fangio's defense for the last three years, so the transition to the real Fangio shouldn't be as steep of a learning curve for the veterans already on the team as it might be for the offense.

During his post-practice press conference, Hurts revealed that "95 percent" of the offense is new.

"This whole entire offseason has been about learning," Hurts said. "Learning, and taking in new knowledge, new perspective from the new minds that we have in the room. And I think that throughout the whole entire thing that's been the emphasis. You get to a point where you feel like, 'OK, I'm going to be comfortable with this. I'm going to like this.' That time comes when you can rep it, rep it, rep it later on, but right now it's been a lot of inventory in, the majority of it — probably 95 percent of it — being new. And so, it's just been that process, and it's been a fun process because you get to see what works for other people. The number of coaches that I've had since I've been here I've been able to take in a lot of knowledge and understanding. 

"I think the goal coming in was to learn Kellen's offense and master it, and I think that's been a process, and I think by the end of it I want it to be mine. I think that's kind of a credit to the lack of continuity with that, and that being a thing where I've had to take all these new things and new voices and still go out there and be more successful and more efficient.

"I think big picture in football, a lot of things are similar. You can look on the internet and see, 'Well these guys are running this play' or whatever, but you never know what that player is being coached to do, how they're being taught to do it, how to execute it, and so that's exactly what makes a difference. The X's and O's, the lines on the paper, they may very well be what they're supposed to be, but how I coach and how I detail these routes, how I coach the quarterback, how I want his timing to be, where I want him looking, where I want his eyes. Are receivers reading routes? Are they not reading routes? Are there alerts on this? Are there checks and adjustments built in on this? That's what makes a system a system."

Nick Sirianni downplayed the notion that 95 percent is new, and that some details within the offense merely have some tweaks. He also credited Hurts for his leadership off the field.

"I think he's done a really nice job adapting to some of the different things that we're doing," Sirianni said. "There's different concepts. There's similar concepts, but in those similar concepts sometimes we're asking him to read it differently than we have in the past. There's similar things with the way the routes are being run, and there's some differences of how we've run it in the past, as well, that goes with how the play is supposed to be designed.

"I think he's done a very nice job handling things that are similar but as his job has changed a little bit and done a really nice job of really grinding away to be a master at the offense and all the things that come with it.

"So I think there's a lot that you guys can't see. You get to see -- you're fortunate to come out to a couple practices during OTAs and then obviously the mini-camp, but there's so much work that's happening in here. I'm really pleased with the way he's led this football team, and he's just done a nice -- like I said, he's done a really nice job of learning and doing the little differences of what the offense is, and then also his leadership has been -- really, you see he's one of the main leaders on this team, and you see how hard the guys are working. Again, you don't get to see all that. You don't get to see it in the weight room and on the practice field all the time, but he's leading day in and day out, and I'm really happy that he's the leader he is."

Hurts is entering his fifth NFL season. He will have his fourth offensive coordinator in those five years:

  1. 2020: Press Taylor (passing game coordinator)
  2. 2021: Shane Steichen
  3. 2022: Shane Steichen
  4. 2023: Brian Johnson
  5. 2024: Kellen Moore

Steichen and Johnson were running Sirianni's offense, so it's probably more like three offensive schemes over five years. Still, Hurts has not often had the benefit of scheme continuity either in college or in the pros.

Kenny Pickett made a couple of really nice throws for touchdowns.

The first was on a deep 50-50 ball to Johnny Wilson. Wilson beat Isaiah Rodgers' jam at the line of scrimmage, got a step on his down the sideline, and Pickett threw a high ball where the 6'6 Wilson could pluck it from the sky over the 5'10 Rodgers. Wilson won the 50-50 ball opportunity and scored.

Later, Pickett unleashed a perfectly placed back shoulder throw to Joseph Ngata down the right sideline. He seems to like back shoulder throws, as he has gone to them consistently throughout the spring.

Tanner McKee had a strong spring, and he closed out minicamp with another good day. His best throw was while on the move to his left in the red zone, when he reset his feet, squared his hips, and delivered a good ball to the back corner of the end zone to tryout guy Brandon Smith.

• Rookie WR Ainias Smith had his third muffed punt in as many days. You can probably already eliminate him from the punt return conversation, with Britain Covey in place and Cooper DeJean looking much more comfortable fielding punts so far. Smith did make a really nice hands catch on a bullet to the back of the end zone in 7-on-7's, but was unable to keep both feet in bounds.

• DeJean has gotten hands on a few passes this spring, and he had another PBU on Thursday while working against Shaquan Davis. Davis had the ball in his hands, but DeJean stayed with it and was able to punch it out before Davis could complete the catch.

Mekhi Becton was with the first-team offensive line again on Thursday, at LG with Landon Dickerson out with an excused absence. He had also played with the first-team OL during OTAs with Lane Johnson absent. He had a media session on Thursday and said that he hoped to be in Philly long-term.

Becton will be an interesting player to watch this summer. He is something of a "sixth man" right now, and could maybe push Tyler Steen for a starting job at RG.

• The coaching staff ran gassers after practice. I can confirm that they are not as athletic as the players.

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