MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.—The Eagles arrived here with a pretty complete team. And they got to test themselves against a Dolphins group that, people forget, has gone 19–14 over the last two years, just missing the playoffs after both seasons. Here’s more on what we saw from Philly …
1. Jalen Hurts is getting better in areas that are tough to improve in—his pocket presence, his ability to throw with anticipation and his accuracy have all been markedly better—which is a tribute to the work he’s done. And clearly, that ethic has spilled over into his leadership. I don’t know whether or not Hurts will be the quarterback of the Eagles in, say, 2025. But I think there’s a better chance of it than there was a year ago, for sure, and it should help that for the first time since high school, Hurts has the same coordinator for a second straight year.
2. Rookie center Cam Jurgens has been one of the stars of training camp. His combination of size and athleticism is uncommon for the position and he could be a decade-long answer for the team at the pivot spot on the line. The problem is that, for right now, there might not be a spot for him to play at, with 34-year-old Jason Kelce back and Isaac Seumalo and Landon Dickerson manning the guard spots. So maybe he has to wait a little bit for it, but Jurgens’s time is coming.
3. Dallas Goedert’s name was raised over and over in conversations—one staffer estimated that the fourth-year tight end has led the Eagles in touches through four weeks of camp. He’s been great muscling his way to the ball in contested-catch situations, and has the look of a very complete tight end, which is a nice development for the offense with Zach Ertz gone. A lot of times, the best tight ends take a few seasons to development, and keep improving past their rookie deal, and that seems to be what’s happening with Goedert.
4. The two Georgia defenders are going to be interesting. Jordan Davis is mammoth, of course, and has rare versatility for a player his size—defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s going to be able to move him around a bunch. And Nakobe Dean’s instincts and knowhow are already apparent. It seems like Philly’s waiting for Dean to start trusting his eyes like he did in college (which is how he’d end up playing so much faster than everyone else) and force his way on to the field. It hasn’t happened yet. But it doesn’t sound like he’s far off. And Kyzir White’s had a really good camp next to T.J. Edwards, so there’s no rush.
5. It’s fair to have high expectations here, and that’s not because of the state of the skill positions and secondary (both of which should be improved), but Philly’s forever bedrock along the lines of scrimmage. In Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson on offense, and Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox on defense, Nick Sirianni inherited a rock-solid core of veteran leaders in trenches, and those guys are helping bring along a really talented crew of younger guys. In 2017, one reason for optimism going into the year was how the Eagles were coming together in those areas. That team wound up winning the Super Bowl. I’m not saying this one will, but the formula is similar.
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