Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver A.J. Brown famously are long-time good friends. Hurts lobbied the Eagles to trade for Brown in the offseason.
It worked. The trade was made with Tennessee and they are together, working in training camp to improve the Eagles’ passing game and trying to make them a threat from anywhere on the field.
“I think our rapport is growing day by day,” Hurts said at camp Tuesday. “I think we’ve taken steps just trying to grow who we are and what we want to be. I think we’re growing together. I think we’re adjusting together.
“Our relationship is changing. Going from best friends, to best friends on the field as well, just trying to make things go. Seeing how he does things. Having a feel for him. Having a feel for me and how I see the game.
“Just being on the same page. It’s not about how he sees it, it’s not about how I see it, it’s about how we see it. So, we’re taking it day by day. But we’re definitely looking great.”
PLENTY OF OFFENSIVE POTENTIAL
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen sees his developing quarterback and the stud wide receiver working together and realizes the level of potential the Eagles roster simply did not have last year.
There are no guarantees that good friends make good passing-receiver combos. But Hurts and Brown seem to have a true connection and both are workhorses in trying to improve their craft.
“I think they’re making great strides,” Steichen said. “They’ve spent a lot of time together in the offseason, obviously in spring and then they threw again in the summer. It shows up, the timing, right?
“With anything, wide receivers and quarterbacks, it’s not like it just happens overnight. It’s been good to see.
“They’re talking through things … They are talking about, hey, we got to run it more like this and this ball needs to be here. Those things take time but it’s been good to see and the progress has been really good.”
AJ BROWN USES HIS STRENGTH
Brown is known as a receiver who relies on his strength to get open, to defeat defenders on jump balls, and then is a handful trying to tackle.
“His physicalness that he brings to this football team, he’s got great play strength,” Steichen said about Brown.
“He caught a slant the other day and I had a flashback watching his tape when he was in Tennessee catching some of those slants.
“It just brought me back to his tape in Tennessee where he catches that ball strong with his hands and then he creates those plays afterwards. He can run a guy over or make a guy miss, but his play strength is very impressive.”
Hurts believes the offense is improving each day, helped by the work his unit is putting in against the Eagles’ stronger secondary and what it believed to be a better defense overall.
“I’ve heard A.J. say it, I’ve heard DeVonta [Smith] say it, I’ve heard all of our guys say that going against the defensive backs we have is work every day,” Hurts said.
“It’s a challenge every day. Not only is it a challenge for them, but it’s a challenge for me. We get to go out there and play against great defensive linemen, a rotation that kinda goes and goes and goes with depth. Linebackers flying to the ball and defensive backs and the corners making plays.
“It’s definitely a challenge. It’s work. That’s just the approach we have. We want to make each other better, we want to challenge one another so we’re ready when game time comes.”
UPS AND DOWNS
Since the Eagles led the NFL in rushing last year, an improved passing attack potentially would give the Eagles tremendous offensive balance.
- “I think we’ve had some ups and downs at times, but I think, honestly, Jalen has looked really good,” said Steichen, who also talked about Hurts’ three interceptions in Monday’s practice.
- “I think in practice we want to treat it just like the game. Be smart with the football.
- “If you got a chance to make a play, make a play, but if you don’t have it, throw it away and live for another down, especially on third down. If we don’t have it, let’s throw it away and punt it and go …
- “He is efficient throwing the football right now, he’s getting the ball out on time, and the receivers are making plays.
- “There are always things to correct. When you look at the practice tape there are always things we can get better at, but that’s what training camp is for. But it’s been good.”
CONTINUITY IN COACHING
Much has been said about Hurts having the same coaching staff for a second consecutive season — something he hasn’t enjoyed since high school. He notices the difference.
“I think it’s in the details,” Hurts said. “The details are refined and tuned up with time.
“From Year One to Year Two running the same offense — coach Nick [Sirianni], coach Steich, coach Brian [quarterback coach Johnson], coach Kevin [passing game coordinator Patullo] — they’re installing the same things, tweaking it, trying to do the things that they think are most advantageous.”
Hurts talked the company line about improving every day in camp. He was asked what that means.
“I just think there is a standard of what we want to be offensively,” Hurts said. “We just want to be consistent. Consistent in our details, consistent in our executing, knowing our assignments.
“And I think we’ve done a really good job of that thus far. But there’s always another level.
“That’s how I always kinda looked at it: Enough is never enough. How can we find ways to take steps all the time, every day? How can we grow day by day? Do better than I did the last time.
“Pushing myself, pushing the guys around me, to be a better leader, to be a better quarterback for the team, do my job the way I want to do it all the time.”