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What did the coordinators learn during the mini-bye weekend?

Jalen Hurts and Shane Steichen
Jalen Hurts and Shane Steichen

Tuesday was Coordinators Day at the NovaCare Complex and so all three of them met the media to provide their overviews of the respective phases of the Eagles team. With the Las Vegas Raiders ahead on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium, the Eagles are looking to get a two-game road trip off with the right results. Here is what the coordinators had to say ...

Michael Clay, special teams coordinator

At times in the first six games of the season, the special teams have been very, very good with big plays (see the blocked punt in Carolina), some excellent coverage, and a strong kicking game. At other times, the Eagles have not been as good and it's that inconsistency that Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay wants to rise above moving forward.

"I'd like to improve in everything. Just to be more consistent in everything," Clay said. "We've had our highs in almost every aspect, and we've had our lows in almost every aspect, but that's how it's going to be. If everything was on a high, everybody would be joining to be a special teams coordinator. But I think just the whole growth process in both the return phase, we'd love to get (return man) Jalen (Reagor) going a little bit, he got a little taste of it in Carolina, and we tried to. Unfortunately, we had a penalty that negated a 34-yard net. We still want to be very good at not committing penalties, and I think the guys have done a really good job with that.

"As the weather shifts, our coverage phases are really going to have to take over. The ball is not going to travel out, there's not going to be a lot of touchbacks. But for the most part, the first six weeks or the first third of the season, I think I'm really proud of how the guys have been competing and effort-wise, but with the ebbs and flows of the season, our return game I would like to get better and keep our coverage game going, and that's going to be a full effort from the players to myself to Joe P (Eagles Assistant Special Teams Coordinator Joe Pannunzio) and (Eagles Special Teams Quality Control Coach) Tyler Brown."

Shane Steichen, offensive coordinator

For most of the Atlanta game and from start to finish against Kansas City, the offense was dynamic, versatile, efficient, and productive. In parts of the other four games, the same. But it hasn't been enough to satisfy the Eagles and much of the reason, Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen says, is because the team hasn't been good enough in the early downs.

"Efficiency on first and second down. We had some really good conversations as an offensive staff on Friday, and, obviously, we self-scout ourselves every week, but, obviously, we had some extra time this weekend to look through some certain things on what we can get better at," he said. "I think we're going to be all right. I really do. I think we have the right coaching staff. Coach (Nick Sirianni) does a heck of a job, he's a great leader, and we've got the right players to get this thing turned."

One of those players, running back Miles Sanders, averages 4.7 yards per carry. But he's averaging just 45 rushing yards per game on 9.5 carries per contest. As the coaching staff assessed itself over the weekend, Sanders was a topic of conversation, said Steichen, who knows that the RPO's the team is using (run/pass options) sometimes can take a designed handoff to Sanders into a pass play or a keeper for quarterback Jalen Hurts.

"I think that's something we've looked at. That's something we've been looking at on doing some of those things, and so even like the ones we hit last week, obviously, we popped some late in the game where he popped them, and those could have been called runs, they could have been RPOs. From the naked eye just looking at it, you don't really know," Steichen said. "Not trying to get too schemey with it, but Miles is a heck of a back and we've got to get him going."

With the trade of Zach Ertz to Arizona, Dallas Goedert becomes the starting tight end and the Eagles think he will be comfortable and successful in that role.

"I think Dallas will do a heck of a job," Steichen said. "He's explosive, he's got really good hands, he's strong, he's powerful, he's good in the run game. So, really excited about Dallas moving forward."

Jonathan Gannon, defensive coordinator

The Eagles' defense, says Jonathan Gannon, needs to be better in "situational" football moving forward.

"I thought we did a good job of taking these last three days and looking at some different things. The one thing with a mini-bye, I guess, you could say, or the self-scout evaluation process is we kind of self-scout after every game. Like we'll say, 'Hey, did we set up the plan? How did we execute? What did we call? What was good? What was bad? Why, good or bad?' But you do get a little bit of a time where you can kind of chunk things together, and look, 'OK, like this is what we need to improve on each call. This has been really good, let's call it more. Or this has been not so good, let's call it less.'

"I did get a little bit more time to do that with the three days that we kind of had, where you don't get that as much on a Monday because you're kind of on to the next opponent. But it's always been my job – like the grand scheme of things, how are we calling it? How are we executing? What can we get better at? What needs to be called more and what needs to be called less?

"Learned that we need to get better in situational ball, which kind of knew that. And kind of moving forward, want to hang our hat on a few things that's been good for us, that we've been executing at a high level and guys are making a bunch of plays in certain defenses and certain calls and we've got to utilize those calls a little more often."

The players get on the practice field on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex as the team ramps up its preparation for Sunday and the 4-2 Raiders.

Extra Point: Eagles announce practice squad protections for Week 7

The team announced on Tuesday that they protected the following four practice squad players for Week 7: T Le'Raven Clark, WR John Hightower, S Elijah Riley, and TE Noah Togiai. These four players cannot be signed to another team's active roster this week.

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