Eagles Weekly: The young guys are looking to make a big impact in 2023

The Eagles kicked off OTAs this week and the defending NFC champions are back to business as usual. It was the youth that has shined the most in Philadelphia so far. After an incredible draft, the young players have been outspoken on what they’re looking to bring this team. Especially first round pick Nolan Smith.

Before you catch up on the latest news out of South Philly, the Eagles did announce on Friday that the team will be holding a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts. The practice will take place before the Eagles week 3 preseason clash with the Colt. It will be a returning sight of Shane Steichen who was hired as the Colts’ head coach after his incredible job with the Eagles offense.

Here’s the latest Eagles news:

Eagles Rookie Nolan Smith Unleashed: Perfecting ‘The Ghost Move’

Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles’ Nolan Smith speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Nolan Smith has been buried in the defensive playbook since draft day and even demanded a PDF copy of it from new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder is determined to see the field in his rookie year, putting in extra work by staying late after spring practices and getting in the lab to perfect a new pass-rushing move.

Smith has been grinding the grease to mimic Von Miller’s patented “ghost move” under the tutelage of senior defensive assistant Jeremiah Washburn. The Eagles believe Smith’s insane speed – 4.39 seconds in the 40 – can redefine the stealthy football maneuver, from knife-through-butter smooth to white glove-through-caviar smooth.

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Eagles LB Nakobe Dean named defensive play-caller during OTAs

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 02: Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) enters the field during training camp on August 2, 2022 at the Novacare Complex in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Nakobe Dean may be a third-round draft pick, but the team is expecting the Georgia standout to not only show his top ability but to also be the leader of a young unit. Fellow linebacker Nicholas Morrow has already confirmed that Nakobe Dean has the green dot or “play-calling” duties for the defense. That means that the responsibility of getting the entire unit set will rest on the 22-year-old’s shoulders.

It’s the trust that new defensive coordinator Sean Desai has in the young linebacker that has the former All-American ready to be given the high honors.

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Eagles OTAs: Safeties look to make a big impact early on

PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 13: Pittsburgh Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds (34) looks on during the national football league game between the New Orleans Saints and the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 13, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)

If the Eagles are to repeat their success in the secondary from last season, they’ll need to have their new-look safety tandem play up to, or even better than the previous year’s version with Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps.

They’ll certainly have more depth behind their current starters though. Third-round rookie Sydney Brown has reportedly begun to turn heads already during the first round of practices.

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Safety Reed Blankenship ready to ‘snatch this position’

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship (46) warms up during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

“One thing that hasn’t changed about Reed is just he’s always been a hard worker. He’s always been curious, and that hasn’t changed for him at all,” McDonald told reporters. “What has changed is, naturally, going out on the field, and having the success that he did, and taking some lumps that he did. And now he’s playing with a little more confidence now that we’re out there on the field, but that’s what you want from a guy who has played in NFL games, been out there at the Linc.

“You want a guy now to be a little more comfortable, working on his communication, taking charge more — like we talked about before, with the changes in the room, he realized this is his opportunity to go and snatch this position.”

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Cam Jurgens learning as much as he can from Jason Kelce during an important offseason

Cam jurgens
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 07: Philadelphia Eagles center Cam Jurgens (51) looks on during training camp on August 7, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

“It’s not as challenging going from tight end to center so that helps,” Jurgens joked. “It’s been fun. It’s super helpful having Kelce next to me telling me how things are supposed to be fun. Just being able to watch film every day and watch how Isaac handled himself every day, it’s cool getting to see that.”

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Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire