Who Has Stood Out on the Eagles Offense Early in Camp?
The Philadelphia Eagles are getting familiar now in training camp with their new offense under Nick Sirianni, the former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator who was hired this offseason to become a first-time NFL head coach, replacing Doug Pederson.
With Sirianni being a former offensive coordinator, as you might expect, a lot of attention is being paid to the offensive side of the ball as the Eagles get ready for the start of the preseason next Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
So what’s has stood out nearly a week into camp?
Sirianni was asked now that it appears Zach Ertz will be here, how much more involved he be in the game planning going forward in practice and even in the games this season.
"As you watch practice, we throw the ball to the tight ends quite a bit," explained Sirianni.
"Really, really impressed with Zach and his ability -- he's been such a productive player in this league for so long. We want to use those strengths that he has right there to be able to find holes in the defense because he does have this -- he just has a supreme feel that is very typical among good players."
Sirianni acknowledged that they haven't thought about game planning going forward just yet, but he went on to explain that the team has a set of plays that he thinks is good for their group of tight ends, should really come in handy for quarterback Jalen Hurts.
As for the injury to first-round pick DeVonta Smith, Sirianni was asked who has taken advantage of the extra reps and the opportunity to stand out so far in camp with Smith on the sidelines. While he tried to remain diplomatic, by mentioning the entire wide receiver group, he did mention two young wide outs.
"You saw Quez Watkins yesterday go deep and Jalen did a great job of finding him, threw a perfect ball out there. So really excited about the group as a whole, Sirianni stated.
"I mentioned Quez and John Hightower looks really fast, too, out there, but I'm really pleased with the group as a whole."
Watkins, a 2020 sixth-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, saw limited action as a rookie, making seven receptions on 13 targets for 106 yards in six games. At 6-foot, 193 lbs., he’s a deep threat target that could make an impact in the passing game if given an opportunity.
Hightower, meanwhile, showed flashes during his rookie season, but didn’t make nearly the impact that maybe he could have in 2020. The 2020 fifth-round pick from Boise State caught 10 passes on 29 targets for 167 yards, averaging 16.7 yards per catch. The 6-foot-1 wide out has tremendous speed, running a 4.43-second forty-yard dash at the combine.
The development of these young wide receivers could give a big boost to the Eagles offense and give Jalen Hurts plenty of options to work with in 2021.