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A play away; Ian Book stands ready if Eagles need him

Philly Godfather

Photo Credit by Twitter/Ian Book

ThrivePHILADELPHIA – Things can happen quickly in the NFL.

Take Tuesday afternoon when Jalen Hurts missed a walkthrough practice with the sprained throwing shoulder he suffered in Chicago and his backup Gardner Minshew was in Mississippi toggling between eulogizing the man who set the spark off to a professional career, his former Washington State coach Mike Leach, while also tackling virtual installs and the beginning of the game plan for Saturday’s Christmas Eve game against the Cowboys.

On the ground at the NovaCare Complex Ian Book, the all-time winningest quarterback at storied Notre Dame, who wasn’t even in Philadelphia until being claimed off waivers from New Orleans on Aug. 31, was playing placeholder for a 13-1 offense.

Against the Cowboys, Book will be active for the first time with the Eagles, a play away behind Minshew.

Book feels ready if needed.

“It’s obviously weird coming in Week 1,” Bood admitted. “I didn’t want to take too much time. We got to get Jalen ready to play and then Gardner after that. So I’ve been working a lot, it’s been good. I’ve been meeting separately with other people. Trying to find that that separation between not like taking meeting time but finding extra time where I can come back and do some stuff with some guys.”

One of the guys easy to notice when running the scout team for Book was superstar receiver A.J. Brown. Typically third-string QBs don’t get to throw much to the starters like Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert.

“Never [get to throw to them] but I’m excited man. I mean, they’re pretty easy to throw to. Pretty special players,” said Book.

With Brown, Book noted 50/50 balls tilt toward the offense.

“More like 60/40. Maybe more like 80/20,” Book said when asked about what throwing to a player like Brown in traffic can mean to a QB. “…Just confidence, you know you got a winner out there. When you need a big play what does Jalen do out there? He does it himself by running or he can hit a shot to those guys.

“In the NFL that’s huge.”

While Book was hardly an unknown as a successful starter at one of the nation’s most high-profile football programs with two College Football Playoff appearances, his appearance on the Eagles’ radar can be traced to Fighting Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.

Rees is very close to both Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen from their time together with the then-San Diego Chargers when Rees was a fledgling offensive assistant.

Sirianni was so impressed with Rees’ potential as a coach that he’s basically got a standing offer to return to the professional ranks when ready as long as Sirianni is running things.

“It’s been a cool small world,” said Book. “Tom used to be like the quality control or assistant and maybe was assistant receivers with Nick and Shane in San Diego (*Rees’ official title was offensive assistant in 2016). So small world. We all know each other. We all know how they coach.”

Whether he knew it or not at the time when he was in South Bend, Book was running some Sirianni/Steichen-influenced stuff. He’s now well aware.

“It’s cool because I get to talk to Rees a lot and bounce ideas off him. There are certain plays we ran at Notre Dame that Rees took from these guys when they were in San Diego that I got to run in college,” said Book.

While the terminology is different from Notre Dame to Philadelphia with the stint in New Orleans in between, the familiarity has only helped Book in case his number gets called at the Cowboys.

“I think {Rees] might have had a good word and he would have been [complimentary]. I think so. I know. they probably definitely called him to ask him about me,” said Book. “It’s good to know people.”

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