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Summary from the Final Week of Camp
Jalen Hurts ended the preseason with only ten snaps under center, which wasn’t the plan but a stomach illness in Week 2 led to the truncated game exposure. Head coach Nick Sirianni was comfortable sitting his starters, including Hurts, in Week 3 after several intense days of joint practices against the Jets. “The way we played that practice was a game, and we treated the post-practice just as we would a game,” Sirianni said. “We came in, and we evaluated. We did the whole film session, and the charts that we look at just like a postgame.” Hurts was erratic during training camp but showed well in team drills, particularly once his full complement of skill players were on the field. Joe Flacco’s hold on the No. 2 role looked unassailable until this week when Howie Roseman acquired Gardner Minshew from the Jaguars. Minshew is only 23 years old and has 20 NFL starts; he could displace Flacco as he gets comfortable with the playbook.
Miles Sanders disappointed last year, particularly as a receiver and in protecting the football. Those problems combined with a new coaching staff led many to wonder if Sanders would be pushed into a full-fledged committee. As the preseason ends, it’s clear those fears were overdone. Sanders had momentary lapses as a receiver during training camp but finished strong. More importantly, coach Sirianni kept Sanders out of the preseason games because he already knew what Sanders could do as the lead back. Presumptive No. 2 Boston Scott didn’t have a bad summer and likely enters the season as the backup, but his hold on the role isn’t assured. Rookie Kenneth Gainwell got a ton of playing time in the preseason and flashed an explosiveness Scott doesn’t possess. The only question on the roster was whether Jordan Howard or Jason Huntley did enough to make the 53-man roster as the No. 4, but the team released both backs opting for a 3-man backfield.
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