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Eagles news: The Eagles hot starts have everyone on notice

Eagles news and notes for 9/28

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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Great starts have been about great defenses, and these are the best defenses - ESPN

As was the case in his previous stops, Schwartz has managed to take the heat off of his secondary by creating pressure without blitzing. The Eagles blitz on just 15.0 percent of opposing dropbacks, the second-lowest rate in the league behind the Steelers, who are at 13.5 percent. The problem for Pittsburgh is they also don't get any pressure without blitzing, while the Eagles are 11th with a 27.4 percent pressure rate. When you compare the Eagles to every other team when they're not blitzing, Philly's pressure rate is sixth best in the NFL.

Only the Texans have allowed a better QBR than the Eagles this year, at a mark of 31.3. They're certainly getting help from the offense, as Doug Pederson's bunch is following the blueprint he set in Kansas City. Carson Wentz's offense hasn't turned over the ball once in three weeks, which is creating long fields for the opposition. The average possession for Philly's opponents has required 77.1 yards for a touchdown, the fourth-longest field in football, and they're just snuffing opposing teams out on the way. Just 11.8 percent of opposing drives have resulted in points against the Eagles this year. Nobody else in the league is below 20 percent. That's not sustainable, but with Fletcher Cox as the linchpin of an excellent front four, the Philly defense is for real.

Early offense fueling Eagles' wins - Daily News

Against the Steelers, the second drive produced a touchdown, and three of the first four drives resulted in scoring.

Every coach tries to script some early plays. It's indicative of the job Doug Pederson and his assistants are doing that their ideas on how to open games have worked so well. It's also yet another contrast with 2015 and Chip Kelly; last year's Eagles garnered points on just one opening drive in the first eight games of the season, a field goal vs. the Jets.

In fact, in three of their first four games last season, Kelly's Eagles couldn't manage an opening-drive first down, and they lost each of those games.

Any Given Sunday: Eagles Over Steelers - Football Outsiders

So when your defense holds arguably the league's best offense to three points, it turns out life is a lot easier for your rookie quarterback. We have yet to see Wentz operate down the stretch of a close game, which has allowed him to operate in a fairly comfortable and predictable environment. But while that won't last forever, it's also partially a credit to his ability to avoid the negative plays which can cause the best-laid game plans to go awry. Wentz has yet to throw an interception (though he has fumbled twice, losing one), and Sunday was his first game without taking a sack. The interception streak will generate plenty of talking points until it ends, for both Wentz and Dak Prescott alike. Before this season, three quarterbacks since the merger had attempted at least 70 passes in the first three games of their career without throwing a pick: Warren Moon, Chad Hutchinson, and Case Keenum. One of these things is not like the others.

The emphasis on mistake avoidance shouldn't be surprising given Doug Pederson's time in Kansas City with Alex Smith, and the Eagles passing game has certainly revolved around quick reads for Wentz to minimize the already excessive punishment he willingly takes. But Wentz deserves a little more credit for some of the downfield plays he makes, and those plays should only increase in regularity as he learns to protect himself better. By Pro Football Reference's adjusted yards per attempt (which adds a 20-yard bonus for touchdowns and a 45-yard penalty for interceptions), Wentz is off to one of the 10 best starts for a quarterback when we again use the 70-pass minimum threshold.

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