“I Wanted To See More”: Q&A With Quintin Mikell, Jason Avant
Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell, two former Eagles who played in the Andy Reid era, were generally pleased with the Eagles’ starters in last Thursday’s preseason opener against the Steelers.
But the “Q&A” co-hosts were also left unfulfilled, mainly because of playing time and vanilla schemes, two areas where they hope to see a difference in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Patriots at the Linc.
Jalen Hurts, in his first year as starting quarterback, played just two series against the Steelers. Not enough, according to Avant, the former wide receiver.
“You’re talking about a younger player in a new offense trying to develop chemistry with receivers that are unproven, all these different factors – you gotta play him until halftime. You have to,” Avant insisted. “Theres no other way. That’s what you’re supposed to do, especially when you only have three preseason games.
“So you’re gong to play him a series and then you’re gonna play him for two quarters next week and that’s it for the preseason? So, he has two quarters of football in a series and he’s ready to play on Opening Day? That’s just tough. That’s a tough situation to put somebody in.”
On the other side, the Eagles’ defense played mostly two-shell coverages and didn’t show any blitzes, leaning on a front-four rush. First-year defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has said he’s keeping his real schemes close the vest during the exhibitions.
“A lot of times when you’re in a Cover 2, a lot of the offenses have to attack you the same way, so you start to learn, ‘OK, I’m definitely gonna get this route on this because there’s only one way they can attack it.’ So you start to learn and you expect certain routes against your defense,” Mikell explained.
“But at the same time, especially in the preseason – like we’re talking preseason, this is the time when you take those chances. Maybe not necessarily show all your cards on your blitz schemes, but throw a regular Cover 1 in there, everybody’s got a Cover 1.
“Throw a Man Blitz in there, throw something in there to kind of test these guys on the outside, test their abilities, even test the linebackers. Like, are we gonna know if they can blitz well going into Game 1? Are we even going to [blitz]? I was a little bit disappointed. I wanted to see more. So, hopefully this next game we’ll get to see more.”
Also covered on the latest Q&A on Inside The Birds: Training camp doldrums, the Eagles’ receivers, and which receivers in the history of the sport had the best hands.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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