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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson

GANNON WANTS HIS PLAYERS TO EXECUTE...AND HAVE FUN AGAINST THE JETS IN FRIDAY'S PRESEASON OPENER


All eyes will be on Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon's new look defense in the preseason opener against the New York Jets. Photo by Andy Lewis

NFL head coaches and coordinators go through the same ritual before each preseason game every year. The first question asked at the first press conference before the first preseason game is the same…who ya going to play, coach?


Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was asked the question again this week at the Eagles prepared to open its 2022 preseason against the New York Jets (7:30 PM NBC 10.

Gannon responded with the same answer we get every year.


“We'll sit down with the head coach,” Gannon said at his Tuesday presser. “We actually talked about it this morning again. That's a constant communication about how we do that. We kind of evaluate all the way up until the day before the game what we're going to do with Howie (Roseman) and the head coach. We'll make that final decision here in the next 48 hours.”


Gannon was asked a generic question about what he is looking for regardless of who plays on Friday. “Execution and taking the ball away and tackling,” he second-year coordinator said. “Everybody has a little bit different job obviously, but really just looking for our guys to let it loose. We talked about it with them a day or two ago. You have to know what to do so you can play free, because your body doesn't work if your brain doesn't work first. (I am) just looking for us to run around, have fun, and play how the standard that we've set for them.”


The starting corners for the season are set. Darius Slay and James Bradberry are the guys.


Depth is always important at every position. Gannon was asked how backups such as Zach McPhearson, Avonte Maddox (starting NB), Josiah Scott, Josh Blackwell and Mac McCain III are doing?


Gannon praised his assistants more than the players.


“They're doing a really good job,” Gannon said. “(assistants) Dennard (Wilson) and D.K. (McDonald), I think are doing an excellent job because you hear me talk about, especially with young guys, it's okay to make a mistake, but don't make that mistake again with the same thing that you did.


“I've really seen improvement from that whole room of doing that. So, taking what we learn on the practice field into the meeting room, into the walk-through, the following practice not making the same mistakes. I think they have really done a good job cutting mistakes down.


“What you've seen in camp, they are doing a good job of covering and denying the ball, which is the No. 1 job description of a corner. That's a good room. I like where they are at, and I am excited to see those guys plays versus some other people.”



With Jason Kelce out for the rest of the preseason, look for rookie second round pick Cam Jurgens to get most of the snaps. Photo by Andy Lewis.

NOTE: At his last press conference this week, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said he expects his starters to play for one or two series tonight at Lincoln Financial Field. So look for Jalen Hurts to be looking for A.J. Brown in that first series.


Also, over a dozen players are listed as having some kind of injury including All Pro center Jason Kelce who had his elbow scoped on Tuesday. He is expected to be back in time for the season opener in Detroit on September 11. Rookie Cam Jurgens will no doubt start tonight. *


Email Al Thompson al.thompson@footballstories.com

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