OTA’s are finally here! Reporters gathered at the NovaCare Complex to cover a day of practice from the Philadelphia Eagles. The team worked through drills and some 7-on-7 for a little under an hour before answering questions from the press. Here is all you need to know.
Steichen calling plays
We got some spicy news before practice even started. It was revealed during the preceeding press conference that offensive coordinator Shane Steichen not only called some plays last year, but will do so again in 2022.
The announcement comes as a slight surprise as we never really knew Steichen took on those duties last year. Nick Sirianni said the transition took place at the midseason point, which perfectly aligns with when the Eagles went from pass-happy offense, to the most dangerous rushing team in the NFL.
It will be interesting to see how the offense looks in 2022 and how things look now that there is a star-studded receiving group.
It’s worth noting that today’s practice was voluntary so there were several veterans who were absent:
This naturally meant that there was an opportunity for some of the wideouts deeper down the roster. Deon Cain was one such receiver who wasted no time in making an impact, catching a deep (!!) pass from Jalen Hurts.
Jalen Hurts puts on a show
Talking of whom, Hurts looked to jump out of the gate with the aims of silencing his critics.
It’s nice to see Hurts slinging deep bombs with accuracy, but we also have to remember that it’s early days where pads are excluded, pressure is non-existent, and plays can be scripted in favor of either offense or defense.
With that said, any time you see a QB who struggles with the placement of deep-passes drop a few 40+ yard rainbows into the bucket, you have to be encouraged.
He wasn’t perfect, however.
Darius Slay got in the way of a pass intended for A.J Brown, prompting the former Titan to play DB, showing that there’s still a long way to the top for Jalen Hurts. The initial signs are very promising though.
The Eagles have a Smitty committee
DeVonta Smith made some eye-catching plays against both Darius Slay and James Bradberry. That’s everything you could ever want to hear when discussing the second-year wideout.
Smitty is a former Heisman-winner whose maiden NFL season saw him break the Eagles rookie receiving record. What I really liked here was Darius Slay telling reporters that the team’s aim is to make him one of the best in the game.
Smitty is surrounded by competitive teammates who are going to only expedite his growth. With his friends and former Bama teammates by his side as well, Smitty is a generationally gifted player who is in the perfect scenario to turn those talents into a fantastic career. It’s going to be fun watching him develop.
Slay also joked that James Bradberry was ‘old before he was old’ because he’s 28 and has a poor hairline. I am here for the back-and-forth banter Slay brings to the locker room. He’s really developed into a lovable leader in the secondary.
DeVonta Smith’s Celebrity softball game
On a slightly unrelated Eagles OTA note, don’t forget that Smitty and a bunch of his Eagles pals will be playing in a celebrity softball game down at Coca-Cola park this weekend. Tickets range from $20-$52 and can be purchased both here and at devontasmithsoftball.com.
Where? Coca-Cola Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Gates Open: 12:30pm
Home Run Derby: 2pm
Softball Game: 3pm
If you head down and bump into our writer Bryan Cameron, be sure to say hello!
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire