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Nick Sirianni Gives His Take on Jalen Hurts, Others From Preseason Opener

The coach assessed how some played vs. the Jets and explains factors that go into his QB decision to stay or leave the pocket
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PHILADELPHIA – The next time Eagles coach Nick Sirianni talks to reports will be in Cleveland on Friday, prior to what will be the second joint practice against the Browns as they prepare to play each other on Sunday (1 p.m.).

Before moving on, though, Sirianni looked back some more at Friday’s preseason opener against the New York Jets, doing so with a little more clarity after watching the game film.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts garnered most of the attention during the coach’s Sunday morning press conference prior to the start of Day 11 of training camp’s practice.

“I thought he was great,” said Sirianni. “He made plays in the pocket when he needed to make plays in the pocket and when he needed to escape, he escaped.”

While answering a question about Hurts leaving the pocket on the play that led to him nearly having his head separated from his shoulder on a hit by New York’s Quincy Williams, Sirianni explained the line that his QB straddles between when to leave the pocket or when to stay in and continue his progressions.

“I think it's interesting, I think it's also to be known that leaving the pocket isn't just something that you see when the protection breaks down,” said the coach. “I think that people think like, oh, we left the pocket early, and the protection was good. Well, sometimes nobody is open. And sometimes the defense calls a good play and it's not a good look in the coverage.

“So, it's not as easy to say that the protection broke down, so he left, because that's obvious. I think the thing that is not as obvious is, again, what I said, somebody slipped on a route out, or the defense played a good coverage and there wasn't anybody open and he's trying to create with a scramble.

“I thought he did a great job of that. I thought he played a good football game; first drive and we’ll just look to build on that.”

The coach added that there was nobody open on the play that led to the late hit on Hurts.

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The coach shed some light on a few other players:

Cam Jurgens. The second-round pick started at center and played the entire first half, remaining on the field even after the starting line exited after the opening series.

“He played a good game,” said Sirianni. “Obviously, I don't want to compare him to Jason Kelce at this particular time. Jason Kelce has been playing at a high level for so long.

“There definitely are comparisons, and we saw that. Any time you evaluate a guy on college tape you try to make a comparison to paint a picture of what you see. So that was the comparison we saw at Nebraska. And of course, yes, the way he kind of moves around, pulls, gets to the second level, a lot of similarities.”

Carson Strong. The fourth-string QB did not play a snap. The coach was asked why not.

“No particular reason,” he said. “Jalen got the first drive. I wanted to see Gardner (Minshew) go into halftime and then I wanted to see Reid (Sinnett) for a half. We have two more games and some joint practices for him to get some more reps but that's just the way the reps shook out that game.”

Reid Sinnett. The third-string quarterback played 34 second-half snaps and completed 9 of 17 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.

“Reid’s looked really good in practice,” said Sirianni. “He’s really had some good reps in practice. I think he was nervous at first, I do. I believe that he was. I thought as the game went on, he steadied himself and recovered and had a nice finish to the game. I mean, an 18-play drive where you’re having to go the long haul which the Jets made us do to take the lead, I thought that was an outstanding drive led by him.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.