Offenses tend to be a tick or two behind defenses during the early days of training camps across the NFL. That’s been no different in South Philadelphia where the Eagles are learning a new system under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni. His offense has a few kinks to work out.
The defense seemed to get the better of the offense during Saturday’s practice, especially when the starters were out there. All-Pro center Jason Kelce revealed the two sides tied the competitive portion – Sirianni has been awarding points to offense and defense every day – and credited the twos and threes for picking up the slack.
“Obviously as someone on the starting unit my main objective is to make sure we’re getting the job done and we got to get better and that’s what we’re all here doing,” Kelce told reporters on Sunday. “I think the old adage is probably pretty correct, on defense if one guy makes a play or beats an offensive lineman the whole defensive unit wins. On offense, if one guy makes a mistake the entire offensive unit loses.”
Jonathan Gannon’s unit played smarter situational football, per Kelce, particularly on third down.
Said Kelce: “To be a successful offense, you really have to be a cohesive unit, working as one, and that’s what we’re out there trying to get done.”
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Kelce Talks Jalen Hurts’ Leadership
One thing not lagging behind is Jalen Hurts’ leadership. The first-team quarterback has been a calming influence in the huddle on the good days as well as the bad ones. Hurts might be at his best on the rougher outings (see: Saturday’s up-and-down practice), according to Kelce.
“He’s a great leader, he’s got a great attitude about him,” Kelce said. “All he wants to do is win, all he wants to do is compete and beat the team across from him. And you can feel that each and every day. When it doesn’t go that way, you can feel his frustration. I really like Jalen’s intangibles, I really like how he goes about his work, and I don’t think that that’s changed [from last year].”
Kelce watched Hurts forge himself in fire last year after the Eagles made the difficult decision to bench Carson Wentz. Now the 23-year-old is the starter trying to adjust to a new coaching staff.
“We’re all just kind of starting from scratch again,” Kelce said. “But that work ethic and who he is as a person will carry him through that.”
Young Offensive Linemen Impressing in Camp
Count Kelce impressed with the future hogs working their way up the Eagles’ depth chart. He pointed to two specific players so far in camp: Matt Pryor and Nate Herbig. They have been getting first-team reps at right guard and left guard, respectively. And now they are being cross-trained at multiple spots.
“Matt Pryor’s had an excellent camp at right guard and now he’s playing a little right tackle,” Kelce said. “Same thing with Nate Herbig who has played really well at left guard and now he’s playing a little bit of center.”
Pryor has been filling in for injured left guard Isaac Seumalo while Herbig has been jumping in for injured right guard Brandon Brooks. Rookie center Landon Dickerson has also caught Kelce’s eye. The former Alabama standout hasn’t been medically cleared to take the field (ACL surgery) but he’s been hitting it hard in the weight room.
“He’s a strong kid, he’s close [to returning],” Kelce said. “I’m excited to see what Landon does and once he’s out there with the pads on and back to doing what he loves which is playing football.”