You’ve heard about Nick Sirianni’s emphasis on connecting with everyone in the building. This summer, he’s also made a point of yelling at everyone on the roster, including Jalen Hurts. The Philadelphia Eagles’ star quarterback was the object of Sirianni’s scorn Friday during a drill meant to simulate end-of-half situations.
Third-and-5 from the 34-yard line, 25 seconds left, no timeouts: Hurts fakes a handoff, runs to his left and is met by a defender about 4 yards downfield. The field goal unit rushes out for a fire drill attempt in which every second counts, with one small step in the operation missing. Hurts never handed the ball to the referee.
As the quarterback ran to the sideline, Sirianni yelled over his bullhorn about the mistake. Hurts said something in response, perhaps that he thought he had earned the first down (in which case the offense could have spiked the ball), but he was met with stronger words from Sirianni. Essentially, if the team ran out of time, it was on Hurts. After mulling it over for a few minutes, Hurts dropped to the ground for a few self-flagellating pushups.
Nothing two sons of coaches haven’t experienced before.
• Meanwhile, Hurts’ ability as a passer continues to stand out. Wide receiver-defensive back one-on-ones are heavily weighted in the offense’s favor, but Hurts’ ball placement Friday was inch-perfect. From about the 25-yard line, he lofted a ball into the end zone where Quez Watkins was able to rise above Avonte Maddox in tight coverage for a touchdown. Then he did the same thing on a pass to Dallas Goedert, who rose over Eli Ricks. Hurts’ accuracy has stood out on passes over the middle in team drills all camp, and his long-ball accuracy has been a staple of his success as a passer throughout his career. But something about the perfection of those passes Friday brought to mind Tom Brady’s performances in joint practices against the Eagles nearly a decade ago. There’s no defense for a perfect throw.
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• The stars were out at practice Friday, including Jim Cramer, Clay Harbor, Ryan Phillippe, Trent Cole, The Blue Meanie and Moise Fokou, which is in ascending order of how excited I was to see them.
• It’s becoming hard to ignore how active Nolan Smith has been on a daily basis. With Nakobe Dean out for the day after suffering a minor ankle injury during Thursday’s practice, Smith took a handful of reps as an off-ball linebacker with the first-team defense. He also lined up as a 4i-technique and sliced into the backfield for a run stop. And in his customary Sam linebacker role, he continued bringing speed off the edge. It might not be crazy to think he’ll have a quicker impact on the defense than his Georgia counterpart Jalen Carter.
• Dean is described by the team as day-to-day with his ankle injury, as is James Bradberry (groin). Deon Cain remained out with an ankle injury, while Derek Barnett (knee), Maddox (toe) and Haason Reddick (groin soreness) were all limited participants, though Barnett and Maddox participated in team drills. With Dean out, Terrell Edmunds also worked extensively with the first-team defense as an off-ball linebacker, usually paired with Christian Elliss. Patrick Johnson, who has enjoyed another solid summer, left practice Friday with what looked like a left knee injury. No word yet on the severity.
• The niftiest move of those wide receiver-defensive back one-on-ones came from Olamide Zaccheaus, who burned Kelee Ringo on a stutter-go for an easy touchdown. Watkins later scored a second touchdown, this one on Mekhi Garner, continuing a strong camp for him thus far. Behind those two, the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart has been somewhat quiet. Britain Covey remains elusive inside, while undrafted rookies Jadon Haselwood and Joseph Ngata flash on occasion. Haselwood, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, has made a few clean-looking catches in traffic in his role as a big slot.
• For his part, Ringo has had an up-and-down camp. He made a great play against DeVonta Smith on Thursday, nearly intercepting Hurts in the process. This was more of a down day, with a handful of surrendered passes and penalties against lower-roster players, including a touchdown in team drills by Ngata and a pass interference in the end zone against Tyrie Cleveland.
• Zach Berman checks in from seven-on-sevens: “The most impressive rep was from Josh Jobe, who looked like a first-team cornerback when he ran stride for stride with (DeVonta) Smith and broke up Hurts’ pass at the catch point. That’s the type of play that will help Jobe distinguish himself as the top depth option on the outside.
“Hurts held on to the ball for an extended period twice in the first sequence, which is rare for seven-on-sevens. He did not throw the ball on a goal line rep, seemingly because of a miscommunication with Watkins. Hurts rolled to Watkins’ side and Watkins seemed to have a moment where he broke free of coverage, but Hurts held the ball.
“A nice catch by Covey in traffic from Marcus Mariota. Covey ran a crisp route, working the middle of the field to get open for a potential touchdown.”
• A.J. Brown had an active day as Hurts’ target of choice in seven-on-sevens and later in team drills, catching two passes against Darius Slay in succession.
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• Friday’s first- and second-team offensive line units remained mostly consistent with Thursday’s, though there seemed to be a workload consideration for three of the starters, as Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson all rotated out of the lineup at times in team drills. With them out, the first-team offensive line was, from left to right: Jordan Mailata, Sua Opeta, Cam Jurgens, Tyler Steen and Jack Driscoll. Given the snapping issues Brett Toth and Julian Good-Jones have had this summer, it’s clear Jurgens is the backup center in addition to being the presumed starting right guard.
• Steen continued cross-training between left tackle and right guard. In one-on-ones, he looks much more comfortable inside, though he had a pair of standout reps in pass protection against Nolan Smith in team drills.
• Offensive line-defensive line one-on-ones took place in a more difficult-to-watch part of the field than usual, but there were still some notable performances. Jurgens remains steadfast, with a solid effort against Fletcher Cox, though seventh-round pick Moro Ojomo looked to get the better of him once. Ojomo actually had perhaps his best practice of the summer. He bull-rushed Opeta into the pocket and later overpowered Toth. Later, he knifed into the backfield for a would-be sack in team drills. The 21-year-old still has a difficult road to making the roster, but he’s putting himself into contention for the most prestigious honor of the summer.
Part of Ojomo’s difficult road to the roster is the continued strong play of Marlon Tuipulotu, who again overpowered interior offensive linemen during one-on-ones. Barnett, meanwhile, has been used as an interior rusher at times during one-on-ones, which is a potential path to playing time. Kyron Johnson and Carter also had impressive reps (Carter’s came against Tyrese Robinson), while Dennis Kelly has been better at tackle than guard.
• Slay recorded the first interception of Hurts this summer during the end-of-half drill. To be fair, it was a last-play-of-the-half desperation heave, but a pick is a pick. The drive began with 1:05 left in the imaginary second quarter on the Eagles’ 35-yard line with one timeout. On the first play, Hurts was nearly intercepted by Reed Blankenship, who tipped the ball somehow into the waiting hands of Brown. Then came a dump-off pass to Kenneth Gainwell and a run, followed by a timeout with a few seconds left. With one last shot, Hurts rolled to his right and tried to force the ball to his receiver, only for Slay to step in for the turnover.
Then it was time to work on the last-second field goal, and you know how that ended.
• The Eagles return to practice Sunday evening at Lincoln Financial Field for the only public session of the summer.
(Photo: Matt Slocum / Associated Press)