August 03, 2023
On a morning of practice that had a cool breeze akin to real fall football weather, the Eagles began their first day of back-to-back training camp sessions. As we do every practice here at PhillyVoice, I broke down Jalen Hurts' play-by-play performance.
The short answer? The Birds' QB1 has all the makings of another great season, though this practice didn't necessarily touch the highs of his last few. The bar is risen when you come off an MVP-caliber season and have some strong practices to open camp. In talking with our own Jimmy Kempski before 11-on-11s began, we were in agreement that Hurts was having the best camp out of anyone on the roster.
Anyway, let's take an in-depth look at Hurts' Thursday...
Play 1: Hurts hands the ball off to Boston Scott, who runs right and picks up a few yards with some nice juke cuts.
Play 2: Hurts connects with Dallas Goedert on a crossing route that had the tight end streaking toward the left sideline. Free agent veteran safety Terrell Edmunds looked lost, to be frank, while covering Goedert.
Play 3: Scott gets absolutely stuffed while running up the gut. Defensive tackles Jordan Davis and Marlon Tuipulotu were there clogging the running gaps and making sure that Scott went nowhere.
Play 4: It's another inside run, but Kenny Gainwell finds wiggle room and rips off a decent gain. As to be expected, there was great blocking from the Eagles' elite offensive line.
Play 5: The Eagles run it again, once more feeding Gainwell, who hits the A-gap, but doesn't pick up much.
Play 6: With Scott going in motion across the backfield, Hurts finds Goedert on a deep crosser. Once more, Edmunds was in coverage and he was no match for Goedert. He looked like he was going in slow motion. Before camp began, I previewed a few of the Eagles training camp battles where I looked at the safety position, where two spots would be up for grabs between Edmunds, incumbent second-year player Reed Blankenship and third-round rookie Sydney Brown. Blankenship has been fine and Brown has had some flashes with the second- and third-team Ds. I hadn't noticed Edmunds much until today, which probably means he didn't have many mistakes previously. It was a rough outing for him on Thursday. Two weeks into camp, the safety position is the spot that appears most in flux with Cam Jurgens locking down the right guard job and Quez Watkins getting the vast majority of the No. 3 receiver snaps.
Play 7: Hurts finds DeVonta Smith on a quick out route for a gain of five-to-seven yards.
Play 8: Working with a formation that had running back Trey Sermon split out wide to the left, Hurts hit A.J. Brown, who lined up in the slot to Hurts' right, on an underneath route. Not a big gain.
Play 9: Brown goes in motion to Hurts' left before the snap. It's clear Hurts' early reads aren't there, so he dumps it down to the right to Scott for a few yards.
Play 10: With D'Andre Swift in the backfield to Hurts' left, Hurts hits Swift running a Darren Sproles-esque square route. Head coach Nick Sirianni talked before practice about Swift's ability as a pass-catcher, likening his hands to that of a wide receiver and that was on display on Thursday morning during Swift's work with both the first-team and second-team offenses.
Nick Sirianni talks up D’Andre Swift’s ability in the passing game ahead of practice.— shamus (@shamus_clancy) August 3, 2023
Mentions the difference between “running back hands and receiver hands” while saying that Swift catches the ball like a wideout. pic.twitter.com/FFsaOS9pxZ
Play 11: Hurts looks Brown's way deep down the left sideline, but there was egregious pass interference from Greedy Williams.
Play 12: Another handoff for Gainwell, who picks up a nice gain.
Play 13: They're playing Kenny G's number! Gainwell receives the handoff for an inside run, but he gets stopped at the line of scrimmage.
Play 14: This time it's Swift on the run, as he showcases good burst through the line of scrimmage. This might have been a touchdown in a real game setting, too.
Play 15: Here comes the worst throw I can remember from Hurts at camp this summer. I dug the play design though. Hurts, in shotgun, takes the snap and rolls right. He stops on a dime before throwing it to Swift, who's running a wheel route down the left sideline. It was way underthrown. Hurts had him for six. The Eagles should get the timing down on that one. Fun setup.
Sirianni instructs that this is a "first and 10 from the 10" situation, but it lasts just one play.
Play 16: Hurts, with a quick snap, looks left, but broken up by rookie corner Kelee Ringo. Good play.
Play 17: When in doubt? Hit Goedert for a deep crosser. Edmunds is safe from any criticism here, as it was Zech McPhearson and Blankenship in double coverage. Goedert is my choice for the "offensive game ball" on Thursday.
Play 18: A rarity! After the Birds' controversial "Tush Push" QB sneak, I say that a slant to Brown is the most unstoppable play in their playbook. The Eagles dialed that up here, but Brown had a clear-cut drop on a slant that was placed well by Hurts. I may need to add "deep crosser to Goedert" to those rankings...
Play 19: There's some decent pressure before Hurts tucks it and runs. In a lot of those situations in practice, it might be a "sack," but I won't call that one a sack. The pocket didn't collapse or anything. The reads just weren't there.
Play 20: I'm calling this one a sack though! On a play-action look, Hurts finds Swift down the left sideline, but edge rusher Patrick Johnson was coming from Hurts' blindside and would've easily crushed in a real game setting, but let off and allowed Hurts to throw it. I'm not counting that as a pass attempt and completion in my stats. That will be Hurts' lone "sack" of the day.
Final stats: 7/11 (63.3 percent), one pass dropped, one pass interference gain, one "sack"
The Eagles will be back at it on Friday morning. Stay tuned to PhillyVoice for the next look at Hurts' practice...
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