Eagles Presser Notes: Versatility is a common theme for the new look defense in 2024

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 21: Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland prior to the National Football League game between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles’ coaching staff took the podium earlier this afternoon and a common theme was portrayed by the defensive coaches as the staff and players continue to learn the new system that will be implemented by first-year Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio.

Here are some main takeaways from today’s press conference for the Eagles’ assistant coaches:

Clint Hurtt — Eagles Senior Defensive Assistant/Defensive Line Coach

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 30: Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jordan Davis (90) rushes during the game between the Pittsburg Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles on October 30, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

On what Jordan Davis needs to take next step in his development: Number one thing is to be in the best shape he can possibly be in. He’s taken huge strides in that this offseason and it’s a work in progress but he’s off to a really, really good start. If he is in great condition and play… I don’t want to use bad language, but to the wall, if you catch my drift on that, he’s going to be a hard guy to block. He’s a huge man to block, long arms, can get up and down in the tackle box. The number one thing is his conditioning and if he can stay in shape and so far, we are off to a great start with that. He’s been all over it and he’s asked to be pushed and challenged and I’ve been doing that. It’s been a process and a journey but he’s doing great.”

On Milton Williams: “He is the elder statesmen and he just turned 25 the other day. He asks a ton of questions. I always say there’s no dumb question. He does get a little overlooked a bit, but he’s been really impressive so far.

Christian Parker – Eagles Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach

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FILE – Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) returns an interception for a touchdown against Rutgers quarterback Evan Simon (3) during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J. Coopr DeJean was named to The Associated Press preseason All-America team, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.(AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File)

On having players able to play multiple positions: “At the end of the day, you want your best eleven guys out there. So whatever combination we can put together with guys who understand their job from corner to nickel, to nickel to safety or dime position or what have you, the more you have available and overall knowledge of what we are doing the better we can be. We can change personnel from down to down to overall packages from week to week depending on the team.”

On building versatility in the secondary: “We meet together and start individually before technical development. I think it’s important that Dairus Slay is hearing what Reed Blankenship is being coached on and Isiah Rodgers is hearing what we are telling Tyler Hall is being told at the nickel. I think it’s important when you are building that versatility to have the understanding of the primary job and then the secondary job and it’s key that the guys know the why behind the certain call.”

On James Bradberry’s Mentality Coming into the season: “Have seen him a good amount…we have communicated on the phone or over zoom when we aren’t together. I think he is very motivated. He’s a professional and has played in this league long enough to know what goes into playing cornerback in this league. He knows the work he has to put it.

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Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell poses on the red carpet ahead of the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

On Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean learning new techniques: I was talking to Coop and Q about this last week. Very rare that they both had same coordinators their entire college career which is pretty rare to have two players coming in from that type of situation. We are asking them to do a lot of different things with their techniques. With Q, working on grasping different techniques and he’s done a great job studying film. He’s always asking questions and learning from the vets.”

On Isaiah Rodgers: “We were trying to figure out when they could get their hands on him and researched him a bit. Feel really good about his long speed and short area quickness. He has been as advertised so far. He has long way to go, but very hungry and grateful for this opportunity and you can see it in his everyday demeanor.”

On Avonte Maddox playing safety: “He has played a lot of football and a lot of different schemes. He sees the game and his movement skills can give you a plus coverage guy back there. There’s a lot of similar jobs between nickel and safety and he’s been very welcoming to that and wants to be a versatile player to help this team win and has done a good job in that regard.”

Bobby King — Eagles Inside Linebackers Coach

Number one skillset to be successful in Fangio’s system:Be versatile, cover, play the run, have to be smart…have to be tough as well.

On Devin White: “It’s been good. He is an explosive player and from afar over the five years of his career I’ve been a fan of his. So far so good. He’s been a pleasure to be around. He’s coachable and he’s here to learn, I cannot wait to get the pads on with the guys in the entire room.

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TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 05: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Devin White (45) looks into the offensive backfield during the regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 05, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

On Zack Baun: “Had a relationship with Zack when he was coming out of Wisconsin. He’s a Swiss army knife and can do a little bit of everything. I was scouting him in 2020 and was out to dinner one night and got the phone call was shutting down. When I was with the Texans we were scouting him.”

On working alongside Fangio: “Working with Vic has been awesome. I’m learning a whole new system and I’m learning every day just like the players. He’s a HOF signal caller and blessed to be coaching alongside him. He’s coached some of the best players since the 1980s. I love the old stories he shares and I’m a historian so love hearing that.”

Meanwhile on the offensive side of the football, the rapid decline in the production down the home stretch of the season caused some concern entering this season, most notably from Jalen Hurts, who went from being in the MVP discussions to some questioning if he was worth the big contract he was given. In 2024, he will be playing with yet another new coordinator in his young career, but it sounds like this new regime is looking to streamline communication.

Doug Nussmeier — Eagles Quarterbacks Coach

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) scrambles as Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Yaya Diaby (0) and defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (94) chase him during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

On his thoughts on Hurts: Give him a lot of credit to have that success he’s had with all those different systems, that’s not easy to do. It’s a collaborative thing here and you have to learn the background so you can grow forward and that’s what we’ve been focusing on. I’ve been most impressed how hard working and diligent he is. He’s going to ask all the right questions and it has been a fun process to date.”

On keeping communication simple with new system: It starts with communication and that’s the process we are in right now. You have to have an origin and then you build off of that. As we work through it, install protections, you give your QB those protections and then say here’s your toolbox to go out there and use. We want a clean call from Kellen (Moore) to Jalen to the huddle. Trying to keep that concise and direct so you don’t have miscommunication…miscommunication can cause big problems for you.

Jeff Stoutland — Eagles Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach

Cam Jurgens eagles devonta smith
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith, center, celebrates after his touchdown with offensive tackle Lane Johnson, left, and center Cam Jurgens, right, in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

On Cam Jurgens taking over at Center: ” He was brought here two years ago for when (Jason) Kelce retired and we identify him as a top-level center. When you look at those critical factors, each position has list of these factors and for me, that’s everything. I’m not deviating from that. I’ve done this for 40 something years and all the good players have the same qualities. I built a list of these factors and go by that and Cam so happens to check a lot of boxes. Great quickness, a good communicator, good foot speed. We moved him to guard, I wasn’t sure if he would be able to play there and I was really impressed with the job he did there because we didn’t evaluate him to play there. It’s perfect timing now for him. The question really is how much did it help him playing next o Kelce? That’s the question. Hearing how Kelce is saying things and calling things out, that was tremendous for Cam last season.”

The Eagles open their season against the Green Bay Packers in Brazil on Friday, September 6.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire