6 takeaways from Nick Sirianni’s Rookie Minicamp press conference

Head coach Nick Sirianni met with the media Friday afternoon following the team’s first practice of Rookie Minicamp at the NovaCare Complex. Here are some excerpts from what he said:

1. While Sirianni declined to comment on “who stood out” after one practice in which players wore helmets, shells and no-contact shorts, he did talk about quarterback Carson Strong, who the team signed after the 2022 NFL Draft .Strong had a stellar career at the University of Nevada, where he scored 74 touchdowns and only had 19 interceptions. At 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, Strong appeared on the field.

“I thought he did a good job today. That’s big. He reads plays differently and runs different plays, he has to get back out there and get everything right,” Sirianni said. “One thing that excites me is that a guy can come out and just call the play, because there’s a lot of guys who don’t call the plays, right, and watch on the sideline. We call the play in the huddle. He’s been pretty smooth at it. That means he studied hard. He prepared for today. He was really bright and he knew what he had to do and he knew where to go with the football. He’s got a big arm and you can definitely see that. Those are the tools to work. His size and arm strength are noticeable when he’s out there.”

2. Third-round pick line Nakobe Dean is known as an intense, fierce competitor, and the coaching staff has seen that mentality in him before.

“I feel like he’s in his hands all the time, whether we’re in a meeting or on the field, he’s locked in,” Sirianni said. “You definitely felt that from him and we knew that about him before we even drafted him. He definitely showed that today and he showed that yesterday in our meetings.”

3. It’s a two-day camp designed to get the players — 42 in attendance — acclimated to the way the Eagles do things and to give them a taste of the playbook. Sirianni and his coaching staff plan to take care of the rookies this weekend.

“The main thing is that they show us what they can do. I told the coaches to be very basic with their setups, not to do a lot so they can go out there and show us what they can do,” Sirianni said. . “That’s what we want to see. Obviously, I want these guys to talk to each other and bond and align with what we believe in and our core values, all that stuff off the field and learning our systems. Those two days it’s really about what they can do and who stands out. Eliot (Shorr-Parks) asked me the question earlier about who stands out, what they can do and that’s really it. The main thing on our side as coaches is that don’t do too much, ‘Hey, we don’t want to see this guy in this or this guy in that.’ Just see what they can do in individual drills and team drills and see what they can do in some one-on-one drills so we can continue to evaluate these guys individually.”

4. The Eagles waived forward Nate Herbig earlier in the week and he has since joined the New York Jets. Sirianni explained why Herbig is no longer an Eagle.

“We have some pretty deep room there and Nate has done an amazing job of being able to step in and make plays in some very important moments,” the head coach said. “He gave us some really good reps and really good play in some big games. But we have a deep room there. I’m not going to get into any personnel decisions right now, but I can’t thank Nate enough for all the things he’s contributed to this program in the first year and years that he’s been here. Again, like I said, he’s a great teammate. The Jets are going to be happy to have him and I’m happy for him to land on his feet because like I said, he gave us a lot of good minutes.”

5. Linking up is a big, big deal for Sirianni and the Eagles. You already know that. Veterans helping young players are also very important. When the rookies and veterans converge at the NovaCare Complex next week, Sirianni expects everyone to work together.

“It’s just important that they’re around their teammates right now. It’s a time for them to make connections. Sometimes in the season it’s hard to make connections. You’re so focused on the game and the next thing — we’re working like crazy right now to do that, but it seems that now there is a little more time,” he said. “They work out, they go to meetings, and then they have the rest of the day to bond with each other. It’s definitely something that we see these guys really make an effort to bond with and help each other out during this time. I mean, we have a great a group of guys who really love each other and really want to help each other. I see that every day.”

6. The defensive line had an infusion of talent during the offseason — Davis drafted, Haason Reddick (a linebacker who will help with the pass rush) in free agency, and backups Fletcher Cox and end Derek Barnett in free agency — and Sirianna likes the look of it , which he has there. Asked about Barnett, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2017, Sirianni was extremely excited to be back in 2022.

“Every day since I got here, I see the same man who is determined every day to get better at his craft,” Sirianni said. “Derek is obsessed with football and trying to be the best player he can be. I really appreciate that about him. He works hard in the classroom, the weight room and he works extremely hard on the field. I see the same guy every single day every year. I’m excited to have him back on this football team to continue to add depth to this defensive line. I really think we’re in a good place with the defensive line and I’m very excited about this group. I’m really excited to have Derek Barnett back on this football team.”

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