June 02, 2023
Cam Jurgens is going to be the Eagles' next center someday, but with Jason Kelce returning for at least one more year, that day isn't here just yet.
And he's totally cool with that.
"I reached out and I just said 'Hey, congrats!'" Jurgens recalled from the NovaCare Complex Thursday of when he heard Kelce was coming back. "'You had a hell of a year, I'm so pumped you're coming back! I can't wait to play with you again, whether I'm learning behind you or playing next to you, I can't wait!'
"Jason's such a great guy, he's like 'Yeah, I'm sorry I'm coming back for another year...' I'm like 'Dude, you owe me nothing!' You know?
"He's done so much for me already and I'm pumped he's back. You can't have a better locker room guy and a team leader than that man."
Or a better veteran to learn from.
Realistically, it wouldn't have been a bad move at all to keep the 23-year old from Nebraska purely as a center and have him sit and learn behind Kelce for a year or two before the torch is passed.
But in the preseason last year, and in spots throughout the regular season, Jurgens showed off how good of a fit he was within the Eagles' offensive scheme and how high his ceiling could be.
There's too much talent there right now to have him sit. So, with Isaac Seumalo gone after taking a free-agent deal from Pittsburgh, both he and the Eagles have been prepping for a switch to right guard.
The transition started last season when, during walkthroughs, o-line coach Jeff Stoutland would have Jurgens take reps at what would eventually become his new position. Jurgens said it was a good start, as it helped him learn the offense from a different perspective, leading to a better overall understanding of it.
He grew to know the ins and outs of the scheme more, gain better awareness of where the ball is supposed to be heading, and how to better relay info and calls rather than just have them memorized to dole out.
"When you're at guard it's like you get a little more perspective of what everybody else is doing around you," he told the media after an open OTA practice Thursday. "You're learning the scheme instead of memorization, so I think in that aspect it helps you learn the offense a lot better."
And of course, so did having Kelce right next to him, who's seen nearly everything after 12 seasons (and counting) and knows exactly what to look for.
"Yeah, when we're doing combo blocks, he knows what it's supposed to be like and feel like," Jurgens said. "So the big thing is he's gonna show me how he's gonna hit the block and how he expects the presence of a guard right next to him.
"A lot of time we'll go in, walkthrough, fit it up, then we'll go and do the rep. If it feels right then we can move on, but if it doesn't feel good, we're gonna keep doing it until it feels right, so I think that's super helpful in that aspect."
Jurgens' focus in the offseason has been on bulking up and studying film to brace for the transition.
He said Thursday that he's around 305 pounds right now and would like to be in the range of 310-315 by the time training camp starts later this summer.
"I feel like I did a pretty good job holding weight last season, so I feel like I don't need to get super high and expect that weight to come off during the season," he said.
And as for the tape, Seumalo has been one of the main reference points for Jurgens after the longtime Eagle made a smooth switch over to Lane Johnnson's left last season in his own right.
But ultimately, Jurgens said he'll lean on his strengths to build his style and approach to the position, and that goes for any other spot the Eagles might need him at.
"I mean we're still playing the game of football, hitting people, so just trying to go to my strengths," Jurgens said. "I want to be an athlete at any spot I am. I don't wanna fit like a pizza cutter mold of whatever a right guard's supposed to be.
"I just want to be out there and be a good o-lineman."
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