PHILADELPHIA - Maybe it’s the Eagles’ defense. It might be very good.
It certainly has looked like it the last two practices, with James Bradberry locking down one side of the field and Darius Slay the other.
Defensive end Brandon Graham looks fast, strong, and in shape. Put him down for two sacks on Saturday, slapping at the quarterback while he still had the ball after blasting right past Jack Driscoll once and pushing Lane Johnson backward another time.
Maybe it’s just what July is supposed to look like. There were just three practices, after all, and none of them in full pads.
Maybe it’s just the nature of these mid-21st century practices, where less time on the field is supposed to be better.
Whatever it is there is no denying that Jalen Hurts has to play better, but by no means should there be any concern and certainly no panic at this point.
It would, however, help ease any angst among a fan base that is already evenly divided when it comes to believing in whether or not the 23-year-old quarterback can grow older with this franchise.
“Any time you turn the ball over you're not going to be happy with the results on offense,” said head coach Nick Sirianni prior to Saturday’s practice, one in which there were too few highlights for the offense but plenty for the defense.
“Now, what I did think is our defense was flying around. You could really notice the guys up front getting pressure on the quarterback, collapsing the pocket a little bit. And our guys on defense not only got their hands on the ball, they finished with their hands on the ball.”
Coming off a three-turnover Friday, the offense gave it up two more times on Saturday. OK, one was by Carson Strong, who looks far from ready to be even a third-string NFL quarterback at this point.
The other, though, was from Hurts and it wasn’t pretty, without a receiver in sight as he rolled to his left and tried to throw across his body.
Rolling left was his kryptonite last year and he needs to show that he can do it, at least once in a while so defenses don’t force him that way all the time. It was a script Tampa Bay used in its playoff win last January.
Hurts has thrown an interception in each of the first three practices.
His friend and WR A.J. Brown tried to tamp down any panic after his Day 1 pick by Marcus Epps intended for Dallas Goedert in the end zone.
“You have to understand these are the times we try things,” said Brown. “I’m not going to win every rep, he’s not going to make every throw, and that’s just a part of it. … You have to understand it’s practice.”
After Day 2, tight end Dallas Goedert said this about Hurts: "I think just even Jalen back there, he's made checks on Day 1 that he probably wouldn't have made last year. He's more comfortable. I think he knows where he's going with the ball quicker and faster. So really excited to see that, getting us in the right play.”
Frankly, it’s way too early to panic about the quarterback, but August starts on Monday and it would be comforting to see some progress as those pages start coming off the calendar in the lead-up to the season opener in Detroit on Sept. 11.
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.