Eagles’ Training Camp guide to tempering expectations

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 08: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass during Philadelphia Eagles training camp at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, August 8, 2021 in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles had an excellent off-season filled with savvy trades and aggressive free agent signings. With a roster loaded with young talent, expectations for the Eagles have soared to new heights.

While the 2022-23 season will be filled with confidence, and high expectations, it’s important to keep a leveled head when talking about training camp.

Not every practice will be perfect. Every throw and catch won’t be “right on the money”. Mistakes will be made, and they must happen now rather than the regular season.

This is true about every player and coach, but none more so than their quarterback.

Depending on who you ask, Jalen Hurts either had great OTA sessions, or some of the worst ever seen on a football field.

While Eagles’ players came out of the woodwork to support Hurts after a report came out about a 10-play session in which he struggled, there were reports that the third year quarterback struggled at times in camp.

Other Eagles’ analysts spoke up saying that Jalen Hurts actually looked excellent and showed improvement.

So who should we believe? Eagles’ players or Derrick Gunn?

In reality, the answer is neither. Jalen Hurts is going to have good and bad days in training camp. Other players on the roster are going to have good and bad days of camp. Does this mean that the team is going to struggle out of the gate? No.

In 2021, the Eagles got off to a disappointing 2-5 start. That wasn’t due to a poor training camp, but an extremely difficult first half schedule. Tampa Bay, Kansas City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Dallas were all losses on the schedule and all eventually made the playoffs.

Would a dominant training camp have helped the Eagles win early on in that schedule? Absolutely not. The team was not ready as a unit to take on the powerhouses of the NFL. In the second season of the Sirianni/Hurts era, they should be expected to fair much better against above-.500 teams.

But that doesn’t get determined in training camp. If Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense looks bad on some days, and good on others, should Eagle fans be concerned?

Philadelphia is also holding joint practices with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins before pre-season games. That also complicates what constitutes as a “good” training camp.

If Hurts were to struggle at times in camp, but dominates against the Browns and Dolphins, should Eagle fans be excited about their quarterback’s growth?

Expectations for the Eagles are complex this season. That also extends to their quarterback. No one is really sure what Hurts has to do to show he is the future of the Eagles’ franchise. Playoff wins, top quarterback stats, a Super Bowl title, all are on the table when talking about what Jalen Hurts needs to do this season.

That lack of clarity is going to spread to training camp. A quarterback can have a bad day or even a bad week. But anyone expecting the world immediately need to temper expectations. Not everything in the NFL comes easy, and training camp is a great example.

A bad week of practice doesn’t mean the season is over, or that the team needs to make a trade for a quarterback.

It’s important to understand that distinction. Improvement shown week to week and day-to-day could be slow. But if it means that the Eagles go on a deep playoff run, it won’t matter.

Expectations before training camp are always high in Philadelphia. That doesn’t mean any rash decisions should be made before any meaningful football is played.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire