Eagles training camp 2022: Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown getting on same page

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Hurts and Brown learning to be best friends on the field originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown have been best friends for years.

Now they have to learn to be teammates.

“It’s not about how he sees it,” Hurts said on Tuesday. “It’s not about how I see it. It’s about how we see it.”

Despite their connection, despite their friendship, this is still a learning process as the Eagles’ starting quarterback and No. 1 receiver work to build an on-field rapport. There are differences between working out as friends and building a connection as a part of an NFL offense. And they’re going through that process this summer.

A couple days ago, the pair had a chance to hit on what might have been a touchdown during team drills. Brown ran a fade — it might have been an option route — and Hurts threw it to a different spot. No need to assign blame. They just weren’t on the same page.

But a few minutes later, Hurts and Brown found each other on the sideline. As the third team practiced on the middle field at the NovaCare Complex, the two best friends went over the play. They could be seen motioning about the route and working to get on the same page. It takes some work. The good news is that they’re more than willing to put in the time.

Heck, on the first day of camp, they showed up to get in some extra time together at 6:30 a.m. ahead of the 10 a.m. practice.

“It’s a day-by-day thing,” Hurts said. “I think we’re growing together. I think we’re adjusting together. Our relationship is changing and going from best friends to best friends on the field as well. Just trying to make things go.

“Seeing how he does, just having a feel for him, him having a feel for me and how I see that game. And just being on the same page.”

Even though they’re learning to be teammates, their history together should help. Hurts and Brown became close on Brown’s recruiting visit to Alabama years ago. Even though Brown decided to go to Ole Miss instead, he remained in touch with Hurts and the two became close. Over the years, they remained friends and would throw to each other when they hung out.

This offseason, those sessions were put into a higher gear once they were teammates. Brown said the pair worked out together “countless times” this offseason to give them a head start.

In the last two practices, Hurts has hit Brown on slants across the middle of the field in perfect stride. With Brown’s yards-after-catch ability, those could end up being huge plays for the Eagles in 2022.

“I think they're making great strides,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “They've spent a lot of time together in the off-season, obviously in spring and then they threw again in the summer. It shows up, the timing, right?

“With anything, wide receivers and quarterbacks, it's not like it just happens overnight. It's been good to see. They're talking through things right after every period. They are talking about, hey, we got to run it more like this and this ball needs to be here. Those things take time but it’s been good to see and the progress has been really good.”

The Eagles finished with the 25th-ranked passing offense in the NFL last season and are hoping that improves greatly for this upcoming season. But as much as they added on the defensive side of the ball, the only new starter on offense is Brown. Sure, there’s Zach Pascal too, but he hasn’t even been able to practice yet this summer because of food poisoning.

So Hurts is working with a bunch of players for the second season and is now integrating his best friend into Nick Sirianni’s offense. So far, things are going well.

Hurts and Brown had talked and joked about being teammates for years, but it finally came to fruition on draft night in April, when Howie Roseman pulled off a deal to bring in Brown and then gave him a four-year extension worth $100 million.

At the start of training camp, Brown agreed that it’s a little surreal to finally be teammates with his best friend.

“I’m sure it’ll go to another level once we play the first game,” Brown said.

By then, they will have hopefully worked out all the kinks.

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