Training camp is a hot, sweaty football laboratory for the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s where players like Jalen Hurts get to experiment. The first-team offense isn’t trying to embarrass the defense.
Why would they want to destroy their confidence? According to Hurts, the point is to test out new “things and tools” he can use in a game setting. He’ll go back and watch the tape to see what worked and what failed. Summer practices are supposed to be fun.
“In training camp, we’re not scheming for our defense,” Hurts told reporters. “We’re just running plays and we’re trying to get the ball to the most advantageous person to make a play. So it’s not like we’re trying to beat our defense, or anything like that.
“We’re just trying to be efficient and put the ball where it needs to be. So to answer your question, I think practice is definitely a place where you try stuff, figure it out, and do things. Kind of create your own little pot of things and tools you can do.”
It almost sounded like Hurts was channeling Allen Iverson’s practice rant, right? He wasn’t. But the fact remains that summer practices – especially in the sweltering South Philly heat – shouldn’t be put under the microscope. Offenses are extra vanilla at camp. And tracking individual stats is a meaningless chore.
“I think practice is a place where you see if you can do it,” Hurts said. “Think about how many times like we don’t like the way something looks in practice, well we don’t run it in the game. If we like the way it looks then we’ll probably run it. If we have confidence in it, we’ll run it.”
Not for nothing, Day 5 of Eagles camp proved to be Hurts’ best showing so far this summer. He hit Jalen Reagor in stride on a long ball that traveled 50-plus yards in the air. He also dropped a perfect dime to DeVonta Smith.
And Hurts showed off his accuracy on a nicely timed slant route to A.J. Brown. The wide receiver screen game was working, too. The only negative was Quez Watkins leaving the field early with an illness.
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Limiting Mistakes: Treating Practices Like Games
Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen mostly agreed with Hurts’ assessment, adding that he wants players to treat practices like games. He wants to see sharper decision-making and fewer turnovers, which has been a bit of an issue early on in camp.
This is the time to clean up mistakes because there are no consequences. You can’t lose against your own defense, but you can be efficient.
“Yeah, I think this: Like in practice, we want to treat practice – just like we always do – we want to treat it like the game, right? Because in practice sometimes there is no consequences because it’s not going against another team,” Steichen told reporters. “I think in practice we want to treat it just like the game. Be smart with the football. If you got a chance to make a play, make a play, but if you don’t have it, throw it away and live for another down, especially on third down. If we don’t have it, let’s throw it away and punt it and go.”
Hurts Eliminates Sugary Drinks, Same Weight
Hurts showed up at camp looking strong and jacked but not bulky. He talked about paying stricter attention to his diet – no sugary drinks, more protein – while adding more cardio to his intense workouts. Surprisingly, Hurts revealed that he weighs the same as last year: 220 pounds.
“Eating greens, eating my protein,” Hurts said, “and drinking a lot of water.”
One big thing he cut out was lemonade, his favorite beverage. Hurts has been drinking Lemon Perfect – a water-based lemonade substitute, endorsed by Beyonce Knowles-Carter – and he feels “cleaner” as a result.
“Just changing things I put in my body,” Hurts said.