Because Jason Kelce missed a few weeks in training camp after a minor elbow surgery, rookie Cam Jurgens got a ton of chances with the Eagles’ first-team offense in training camp.
Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland called those reps “irreplaceable.”
But it did slow down Jurgens’ development in another area.
Stoutland wanted the second-round pick from Nebraska to get some training camp reps at guard but that couldn’t happen because Jurgens spent most of his summer next to Landon Dickerson and Isaac Seumalo with the first-team offense.
“Couldn’t do that because Kelce was (injured),” Stoutland said. “That took that out. That’s not done yet. I think you have to play other positions if you’re not a starter. Now we’re a little behind in that process.
“My intention was to do some of that. Now, I did some of that in the walkthroughs in the indoor. … I would jump him in at the guard in the walkthroughs and he did some of that. But not out there live and all that. Couldn’t do it. I can’t move someone else into center.”
It sounds like now that Kelce is back and ready to play the regular season, Stoutland will start to cross-train Jurgens more at guard. Stoutland always stresses the need for backups to play multiple positions. More on that in a moment.
Stout did say he learned a ton about Jurgens this summer.
“Oh! To play with the first group, to see what he’s capable of doing against our first defense and to see how he can play against high-level players,” he said. “That’s your only true test. That’s the only way you know. And he handled himself unbelievable.”
More on versatility
The Eagles are very healthy going into their Week 1 matchup against the Lions but did suffer one significant injury. Backup left tackle Andre Dillard fractured his left forearm in practice, needed surgery and is now on Injured Reserve. So he’s out at least four weeks.
So who is the Eagles’ backup left tackle if something ever happened to Jordan Mailata?
Don’t rule out Jack Driscoll. While Driscoll took most of his reps at right tackle during training camp, he has previously played guard and Stoutland wants him to basically be ready to play any position on the line. Stout specifically pointed at Isaac Seumalo, who once played five different positions in the same game.
“I think Jack’s at the point where he can be that kind of player,” Stoutland said.
How much do the Eagles value versatility in their O-linemen? If you didn’t get it already, Stoutland basically said the Eagles kept undrafted OL Josh Sills because he can play every spot on the line.
The Eagles knew Sills could be a decent guard, but even Stoutland was impressed by how well he played the tackle position in camp.
“When you can create value for yourself and the organization by being able to play multiple positions when you’re not a starter, you guys know, you’ve been here,” Stoutland said. “I think two years ago we had eight offensive linemen go on IR. That’s unbelievable. That’s in the back of my head. We have to make sure we are prepared, we have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and we’re ready to go.”
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