PHILADELPHIA – Given the opportunity on Wednesday to double down on Jalen Hurts as his starting quarterback this fall, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni punted.
“To name any starters at this particular time, we’ve been working with these guys for two days (since phase one of the offseason began on Monday),” said Sirianni, who, along with GM Howie Roseman and VP of player personnel Andy Weidl, held their pre-draft availability session for nearly 40 minutes.
“My biggest thing is competition,” Sirianni continued. “We’ve talked a little bit about my core values, it’s my second core value. It’s this team’s second core value. Competition is a huge thing and we’re going to have competition at every position.”
It’s likely the answer to whether or not Fletcher Cox would start at defensive tackle or Miles Sanders at running back would have been much different, but Sirianni isn’t kidding around about this competition stuff, and it makes sense.
As a new head coach evaluating a roster for the first time, why wouldn’t it be about competition?
The Eagles are in flux at the QB situation. Cox and Sanders, for example, are entrenched.
The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah put it succinctly during his media call about 30 minutes after the Eagles held their news conference.
“Jalen hasn’t proven a lot, so I don’t know that it’s insulting or something like that that he’s not named the starting quarterback,” said Jeremiah. “I think the other thing you know about Jalen, you talk to the people at Alabama, you talk to the people at Oklahoma, and you talk to everybody in Philadelphia last year, he’s incredibly competitive.
“I have no problem with lighting a little bit of fire there and saying (to Hurts), you don’t have anything right now. you have to come in, you have to earn it, it’s a new coaching staff, I don’t think that’s out of the ordinary right there.”
The Eagles have just Hurts and veteran Joe Flacco on the roster at the moment, and Flacco didn’t sound like he was coming in surrendering anything to Hurts. Flacco wants to start and his aim is to try to win the job.
And that is another reason Sirianni has to tread lightly with his answer about his starting quarterback. You don’t want Flacco to be re-signed to the possibility that he will be a backup.
The coach wants his quarterbacks to push each other to make them better in the long run.
The Eagles will add another quarterback in all likelihood during the draft and perhaps one as an undrafted free agent. Heck, maybe they draft two quarterbacks.
They aren’t expected to do it in the first round, however, not after trading back from No. 6 to No. 12 with the Dolphins last month. Now, if Roseman tries to trade up, well, who knows?
Still, who's to say that the Eagles won't take a passer on Day Two of the draft, in the third round perhaps? They could take somebody like Davis Mills, Jamie Newman, or Kyle Trask, for example, and maybe that QB comes in and stands out.
It's a wise move for Sirianni to, at least publicly, keep his options open.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven and host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.
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