The Eagles open the preseason in just two days against the Pittsburgh Steelers (7:30 PM on NBC10) at Lincoln Financial Field, and it'll offer the fans the first glimpse of Nick Sirianni in a game situation as a head coach.
Sirianni confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that he will call plays. Sirianni will relay the plays to Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen, who will then send them to the quarterback. Sirianni explained that this frees him up to talk to other coaches before the play.
"It's definitely a trial run. As far as game management goes, let's talk about the two-minute drill. We've been together, (Passing Game Coordinator) Kevin (Patullo) and I and (Tight Ends Coach) Jason (Michael) have been together for a while, so we know what we want to call with time on the clock, when our timeout scenarios are, when we are clocking it as opposed to getting up and running on the ball," Sirianni said.
There are things that – there are a ton of situations that go into that, right, so it feels like every time we sit up there and watch plays – like for instance, we watch about 500 plays, end-of-game plays the other day, and just like the scenarios inside of it. Something always pops up. So, we're really prepared – really, really prepared – but there will be things that pop up, and I look forward to the trial run on Thursday."
This is Sirianni's first head-coaching experience, but he does have some playcalling experience from the preseason during his time with the Colts over the past three seasons. His first playcalling experience actually came late in the 2011 campaign with the Kansas City Chiefs after Head Coach Todd Haley was let go. – Chris McPherson
• How long will Jalen Hurts and the starters play on Thursday night? Sirianni declined to give an exact amount of plays or series. It's a "sliding scale," he noted, meaning that the length of on-field time will depend on the team's performance. – C-Mac
• Some injury updates: Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan is out 7-10 days after hand surgery. Tackle Andre Dillard suffered a knee sprain during Tuesday's practice and is week to week. Safety K'Von Wallace incurred a groin injury and is also week to week. – C-Mac
Here's a closer look at what happened Tuesday on the practice field:
• I'm over watching the starting units go head to head, and it's great seeing big No. 79 back out on the field for a full day's work. Brandon Brooks is matching up with Fletcher Cox, and there's no better example of "iron sharpening iron" on this team than when those two go at it. Brooks took part in individual drills on Sunday for the first time since the second day of camp. It's great to see him back out here in team drills. – Ben Fennell
• The opening team period had me looking at the second- and third-string units working on the middle field. Joe Flacco had a couple of quick completions to Michael Walker, Jason Huntley, Hakeem Butler, and Tyree Jackson. Flacco has strung a couple of nice practices together. – Fran Duffy
• During the special teams portion of practice, I witnessed a fun exchange between two young veterans on the team, Travis Fulgham and Alex Singleton. Fulgham planned on taking charge of an individual punt block drill, jumping up to the front of the line. Singleton was having none of it, as he jumped Fulgham, saying, "Not so fast, that's my spot!" Singleton is still going to be a valuable member of this special teams group, regardless of his role on defense. – Ben
• The 1-on-1 sessions begin, and I spent my time over with the running backs as they ran routes in the middle of the field against the linebacker group. My favorite defensive rep came from linebacker T.J. Edwards, who did a great job on a little jerk route from running back Boston Scott and stepped in front of him for the pass breakup. Rookie Kenny Gainwell closed the drill with a slick route, drawing praise from his running back mates, offensive linemen walking by, and Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Jemal Singleton, who was especially fired up. Singleton brings great energy to the practice field every day; it's fun watching him coach his players. . – Fran
• While Fran is over with the backs and linebackers, I have my eyes on the wide receivers and cornerbacks. The best defensive play came on a great pass breakup by Steve Nelson downfield against Jalen Reagor. This was a perfectly placed ball by Jalen Hurts, but Nelson never gave up on the play and did an outstanding job of raking the ball out at the catch point to get it on the ground. Sticking with the starting corners, I loved the leadership shown by Darius Slay, who sprinted onto the field after the final rep of the drill to coach up rookie Zech McPhearson. The fourth-round pick had given up a catch to end the period, and Slay spent a couple of minutes with McPhearson coaching him up. – Ben
• In the second team session, Miles Sanders broke off a couple of long runs, scampering behind some lead blockers in the process and getting up to the second level unscathed. You can say this about most running backs, but Sanders is at his absolute best when you can get him up to the second level with room to run, and he showed that playmaking ability off in this drill. The offense also tried getting a screen pass to Sanders early on, but Avonte Maddox was right there in the backfield to stop it, drawing praise from teammates. – Fran
• Flacco made two impressive throws in the middle of the field in this session, ripping a dig route to Quez Watkins and finding Greg Ward over the middle on a slant for a big catch-and-run. The veteran quarterback really knows how to work the middle of the field, where some of the toughest throws can be found. – Ben
• Those Flacco tosses weren't the best of the day, though, because Hurts was on absolute fire today. I thought it was one of his best overall days of practice. He stroked a beautiful throw to Dallas Goedert on an over route in the intermediate area of the field for a big play in the next period. Later, the two would hook up again on a similar type of pattern. On both plays, Hurts had to "layer" the throw, meaning he had to throw with enough touch to get it up over the linebackers but with enough velocity to beat the safety over the top. Both plays created some yards after the catch as well, further showing the timing and accuracy from the second-year quarterback. Those were two dynamite throws, and it was great to see coming off Sunday's practice where Hurts hit a number of big pass plays downfield. – Ben
• Shortly after that second throw to Goedert, rookie Milton Williams sniffed out a screen, forcing Flacco to eat a throw and put it into the dirt for an incompletion. Several teammates patted Williams on the helmet for forcing the play. The rookie flashes to me every time he's out there. – Fran