BEREA: Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni actually tried to downplay how many positives his team gained by traveling over 450 miles to Berea, Ohio to take part in joint practices with the Cleveland Browns in advance of its preseason game with the Browns Sunday afternoon (1 PM NBC10, WIP Radio).
When asked if there was anything he learned about his team in this type of setting that he might need on the road in a practice setting that he learned watching the tape or being on field.
“Again, when you come out here, you're just trying to make steady improvements and that's what we are trying to do,” Sirianni said just before Friday’s practice. “It's good to come out and get competition against another team. I wouldn't say we learned anything or anything like that. Just like, ‘Hey, here is what we needed to correct from yesterday.’ It's just like any other practice setting. Here is what we did well, here is what we need to correct, and you have the same meeting that you do after practice.”
Sirianni was asked about his team traveling three weeks in a row, with joint practices, then the start of the season September 11 in Detroit, what kind of an impact does he think it's going to have on his team, especially your young players?
“I think it's a great time to interact with each other, even more so when you're staying in the hotel together,” the second-year coach said. “They are doing that in Philadelphia as well but being away together in a different city; I always think that's a good thing. We felt that last year in New York when went to go against the Jets, and we're just trying to duplicate that, and the guys, when it's time to work, it's time to work. When it's time to relax and be with the guys, it's time to do that, and they are doing a good job working at both of those things.”
PLAYERS AVOIDED COMMENTING ON THE SUSPENSION OF BROWNS QB DESHAUN WATSON
It is impossible you would think, to ignore what happened with the Browns organization just before these practices started when the NFL announced that Cleveland’s starting quarterback
"Deshaun Watson has been suspended for 11 games during the 2022 NFL season and fined $5 million for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy per the terms of a settlement reached between the league and the NFL Players Association, the league announced on Thursday. Additionally, Watson must commit to mandatory evaluation and treatment."
The players on both sides tried to ignore the elephant in the room.
Watson did participate in the joint practices.
Of the 24 women for filed civil action against Watson, 23 have settled.
Lauren Baxley, a former Houston-area massage therapist, explained her decision in an op-ed for The Daily Beast on Friday. She said she wants Watson to admit his guilt. Watson has refused to admit any guilt.
As expected no player on the Browns or the Eagles team would comment, including quarterback Jalen Hurts who admits he is friends with Watson. Hurts did say he was happy to see his friend practicing.
PRACTICES WERE UPBEAT
The pace of the practice on Friday was upbeat. There were no noticeable dustups or altercations.
But there were some great matchups.
One matchup that probably helped the Eagles was with left tackle Jordan Mailata locking horns against three-time All Pro defensive end Myles Garrett.
Even with the addition of standout pass rusher Haason Reddick to the Eagles defense, Mailata has not seen anyone close to the caliber of Garrett in practice this offseason and training game.
“Miles is a hell of a player,” Mailata said after Friday’s practice. “Hell of a player. We went one-for-one in the two reps we had. That’s my personal opinion. He got me on the first rep, I won the second one. He’s a hell of a player. I asked him for that second rep and he was like ‘yeah, let’s do it. I’m going to him after this (press gathering) and see how I can do better.”
Indeed, you could see Garrett and tackle Wyatt Teller hanging out with Eagles All Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, starting right guard Landon Dickerson and later, Mailata for a while, in fact until team officials reminded them they had to get going.
HAASON REDDICK LIKES SEEING BROWNS O-LINE IN FRONT OF HIM
Pass rusher Haason Reddick said he was thrilled to practice against the talented Browns offensive line that includes Jack Conklin, Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller.
Obviously Conklin is a right tackle and played a lot of reps against Reddick, who signed a three-year $45 million contact this offseason to play a pick part of the Birds pass rush which statistically ranked among the bottom defenses in the NFL in 2021.
The Eagles 29 team sacks lists the Birds at No. 31 out of 32 teams.
“I loved it just because of working against another offense,” Reddick said after practice Friday. “To finally come out here and be able to work and see some different stuff and see some different sets and some things I could get during the season. It was a good thing. I think we need practices like so that you can work different things. I can’t work all my moves on Lane (Johnson) because we see the same sets. I think to go against a different offense; I can work on my moves because I’m seeing a different set, different look.”
QB ROOM ENJOYED A SOLID DAY
Hurts and backup quarterback Gardner Minshew turned in solid performances as did wide receiver A.J. Brown and tight end Dallas Goedert.
Brown caught a few passes from Hurts in traffic. Hurts was asked if he was focusing on his Pro Bowl receiver acquired this offseason by the Birds.
“Nah, every day I come out and just focus on doing my job,” Hurts said. “Execute the offense. Doing the things I need to do put the offense and the team in best situation. A.J. can make plays, he made some lays…that’s it.”
There were things the Eagles looked to work on, it was obvious. But Hurts would only talk in terms of how the whole team benefited.
“I work on every aspect of my game,” Hurts said after being asked about how well he looking going to his left during practice. “We work in going to both sides, try to emulate all these situations. I’m just going out there reading and reacting.”
Hurts did talk about the play of Goedert, who made some nifty catches in traffic on Friday.
“Dallas is a tremendous player,” Hurts said. “He’s one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He has a unique talent, a unique size and he has a lot of speed and solid hands.”
Hurts, like all the players who spoke after practice, said practicing against a different team for a few days was beneficial. Most said they just liked competing against different bodies.
“It’s very valuable,” Hurts said. “We talk about it as an offense all the time. You run your stuff against your defense. Your defense begins to pick up on what you do. They see the same looks all the time. So to get a different picture out there and know that your stuff is still executed at a high level, it’s good. We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to practice against the Browns and next week against the Miami Dolphins.”
BRISSETT REMEMBERS SIRIANNI’S DUST UPS WITH OPPONENTS’ FANS
Indianapolis Colts quarterback when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator there was Jacoby Brissett. Brissett was his starter in 2019.
With the 11-game suspension of Watson, Brissett is now the presumed starter. At his press conference, the 29-year-old signal caller was asked to share his funniest memory of Sirianni.
“Fighting with fans,” Brissett said with a laugh.
When asked how often did Sirianni get into arguments with opponents fans, Brissett laughed even harder…”Every game.”
About an hour later Sirianni was asked about his former quarterback’s claim. Sirianni’s protective ways date back to his childhood.
“He's teasing and making that up a little bit,” Sirianni said, also generating laughter in the media tent on the Browns practice grounds. “I think one thing that, to a fault, maybe, even with me is like is -- and I've been this way since I was a little kid with my brothers, we're a family. My brothers and my dad and my mom were a family and I'm the youngest.
“One brother is nine years older than me and one is six years older than me. When they would have a bad game or say something bad about them or talk bad about them, I was quick to be defensive of them because I love them.
“Now as a coach, I feel like I have that. I was like that as a teammate I would like to think. As a coach, I definitely know I have that, like, protective -- like I know these guys are the biggest, strongest men in the world and they can protect themselves, but I love these guys. That's just an instinct that you have. That's how I was raised, and I was like, this is our family, and I just have that protective instinct to defend them, and that's been like that with every team I've ever coached."
After a pause, Sirianni smiled and said. “I'm flattered that Jacoby said that.” *
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