Eagles Training Camp: The goal is to focus on ‘getting better each day’

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – AUGUST 27: Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni during the National Football League preseason game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 27, 2021 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

One day after Philadelphia Eagles players reported to training camp, head coach Nick Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman addressed the media ahead of the team’s first practice. Both men arrived in jovial moods — Roseman even cracked a joke about being in great shape — as reporters hurled bullets at them.

The 2023 football season has officially arrived. Super Bowl hangover be damned. Yes, the Eagles are looking to return to the Super Bowl but the road to getting back there and finishing the job isn’t the immediate goal. Sirianni wanted to set the record straight on how his process works.

“Let me make this first point perfectly clear, the goal right now, right this second, right now, is not to get back to the Super Bowl,” Sirianni told reporters. “That’s not our goal right now, and I know everyone is going to say, well that’s a crazy thing to say, but our goal is to get better today. Our goal … you can’t win two games if you can’t win one, so our goal is to get better today and to prep for our first game against New England. That’s it.”

Key quotes from the Eagles

Let’s take a closer look at what Eagles HC Nick Sirianni and GM Howie Roseman said during the first press conference of the 2023 campaign. They touched on a variety of topics from roster building to positional battles. And health. Staying off the injury report is always top of mind for the Eagles’ organization.

Howie Roseman eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is pictured prior to the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

Howie Roseman on Looking at Health Risks When Signing Free Agents and Drafting: “You’re always trying to balance the short term and the long term, and also take lessons from some of the things you’ve done that worked and that haven’t worked, and I think for us it’s very important that we balance our team with younger players. Also, bring in guys here who have a history of being healthy. Health is a huge part of what we do. Obviously, we had tremendous success with that last year but that doesn’t guarantee any success with that this year. And so, for us, when we’re looking at guys, we’re looking at the injury history, and the best indicator of future success is the past and so we’re trying to balance that and make sure we have great people in place.”

Eagles HC Nick Sirianni confirmed that everyone passed the required conditioning test on July 25. The head coach added that he was impressed with how seriously his players took the health part.

“Everyone came back in phenomenal shape,” Sirianni said. “It was really exciting yesterday through the intermittent rain that was happening … it was great watching the guys run yesterday and see how much they worked at bringing their bodies back in shape.”

Nick Sirianni on the competition for Eagles starting RB Job: “Everybody has an opportunity to earn roles, and looking forward to watching that position group battle because there’s a lot of good options there, so they’ll rotate throughout [camp]. You’re going to see Boston [Scott] in with the ones, you’re going to see Kenny [Gainwell] in with the ones, you’re going to see [Rashaad] Penny in with the ones, you’re going to see D’Andre [Swift], and you’re going to see Trey Sermon in with the ones. And you’re going to see him with the twos and you’re going to see him in with the threes, so there’s no set [order] with it because of the way they all need to get reps and we don’t care where those are happening. They all need to get reps and they will all get reps with different groups.”

Sirianni added that second-year man Cam Jurgens was going to take first-team reps at right guard to start camp. He’s in an open competition with Eagles rookie Tyler Steen for the starting job there.

“We’re going to start with Cam there today,” Sirianni said. “That’s where we’re going to start today and we’ll see how that plays out. And then we got some good options there as well, so looking forward to see how that battle plays itself out.”

Nick Sirianni Doubled Down on Hiring Matt Patricia: “He’s been an excellent resource for me. You bring guys like that in to be resources for you, to be resources for the defensive coordinator. He’s got a ton of experience. It’s nice to have a former head coach on the staff, that I’m able to bounce things off, with some different things. Awesome, awesome resource who comes from a great coaching tree [Bill Belichick], always been fascinated by that coaching tree, and how I can pick the brain of that so I can continue to get better as a coach and, ultimately, us to get better as a team.”

Sirianni also praised the addition of Marcus Brady to the Eagles coaching staff. He was added late last season as a senior offensive assistant and returns to take over for Alex Tanney who was promoted to quarterbacks coach.

Brian Johnson is the new Eagles offensive coordinator after Shane Steichen bolted for Indianapolis. Johnson will take over play-calling duties, although Sirianni will remain heavily involved in game-planning along with Eagles’ associate head coach Kevin Patullo.

“When we game plan, first everything has to come through me when we gameplan, first and foremost,” Sirianni said, “And then from there it’s Kevin [Patullo] giving some ideas, it was Shane [Steichen] giving some ideas, it was Brian [Johnson] giving some ideas, it was Alex Tanney giving some ideas so all that you’ve really done is exchanged Marcus Brady and Shane, and Marcus was only really there at the end of the year.”

Sean Desai is the Eagles new defensive coordinator after Jonathan Gannon left for Arizona.

“Sean’s the defensive coordinator, that’s why we hired him, to do that job,” Sirianni said. “But it’s just getting on the same page for the things I do have expectations for as far as requirements for the defensive side and how we want some things to look. And some situational things and otherwise. That’s just reps going through it, and reps for coaches don’t just have to happen on the field. They happen in the meeting room. You can be a tireless worker in the meeting room and get on the same page that way.”

Howie Roseman on Expectations at the Linebacker Spot: “We got a lot of young players at that position. We’re excited to see them, evaluate them on a daily basis, and, again, like anything, we’ll keep our options open. We’re never going to close the door on an opportunity to improve our team so we’re going to be constantly looking at that position and every position.”

Editor’s note: Nicholas Morrow and Nakobe Dean are penciled in as the Eagles’ starters there. They took the first-team reps at the first practice of training camp. Keep an eye on Christian Elliss.

Howie Roseman on Decision to Sign Dennis Kelly: “We have experience with Dennis. We drafted Dennis here in Philadelphia and we knew what kind of person he is. We know what kind of work ethic he has, and we know what kind of player he is, just by watching his tape. We followed his career for a long time, starting at Purdue, and we’re always looking for offensive line depth. We’re always looking for guys that can come in and have versatility and play a bunch of positions and for us, it just made a lot of sense to bring him back.”

Nick Sirianni added this nugget on Kelly: “If he’s one of the best five he’ll play.”

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire