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Eagles News: Jalen Hurts draws praise while Carson Wentz trade rumors swirl

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/15/20.

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New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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6 winners and 3 losers from Week 14 in the NFL - SB Nation
Winner: Jalen-freaking-Hurts. This one deserves hyphens. If you’re the kind of person who just casually glances at box scores you’d see his middling passing game and be unimpressed. Then you scroll a little further and see that he ran for 106 yards on 18 carries and your eyes fall out of your head, clung to by their stalks. This is something Carson Wentz could never, and will never do. Not only did Hurts prove that he can school an NFL defense, but he led the Eagles to a win over the Saints. Again, something I’m not sure Carson Wentz could have done this season. If nothing else it makes Philadelphia watchable and fun, and that’s all fans could really ask for at this point in the season.

The Winners and Losers of NFL Week 14 - The Ringer
Winner: Jalen Hurts. A quarterback is so much more than a passer. Of course, passing is the most important part of the game, and the quarterback is the guy who throws most every pass. But quarterbacks control the entire offense. A team with a bad quarterback can seem irreparably broken—as the Eagles did with Carson Wentz under center. They can’t throw, they can’t run; it feels like a success when they get from first to fourth down without turning the ball over or losing yardage. But after transitioning to Jalen Hurts this week, Philly’s offense became cohesive—and the rookie quarterback got the Eagles a very surprising win in his first career start.

11 things I think about the Eagles following their upset win over the Saints - BGN
I’ve been pretty consistent in my belief that Pederson has taken a disproportionate of blame for the Eagles’ offensive struggles this year. Not to say that he’s blameless. But the point was that Wentz is actually the biggest problem. Well, Pederson is now 11-3 without Wentz after Sunday’s win. Those three losses: 1) Meaningless Week 17 game in 2017 when the Eagles rested their starters and Nate Sudfeld played the majority of snaps at quarterback. 2) One score loss in Week 2 in 2018 when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four touchdowns for a 144.4 passer rating. 3) 2019 divisional round loss to the Saints when Alshon Jeffery dropped a pass that turned into an interception when the Eagles might’ve had a chance to take a lead late in the game. Pederson WITH Wentz, meanwhile, is only 35-33-1. And 17-22-1 since 2018. If you look at the Eagles’ record against teams that ultimately finished above .500 since 2018, the Pederson-Wentz combination is 3-12. Under the same conditions, Pederson is 4-1 in that stretch without Wentz.

FROM THE SB NATION NFL SHOW: Eagles upset the Saints! - BGN Radio
The SB Nation NFL Show brings together the greatest fan-alysts from across SB Nation’s NFL team communities in one place for the first time ever. Expect deep analysis, irreverent jokes, and plenty of bickering between rivals. It’s a show for NFL fans, by NFL fans.

Eagles rally support around Carson Wentz as quarterback of the future, other GMs feel a trade is looming - CBS Sports
But that does not mean the Eagles have given up on Wentz as a part of their future, sources said, and they remain committed to helping him get back to form whether it be this season or next. Wentz has maintained his positive attitude and great work ethic despite the demotion, I’m told, and will be a sounding board for Hurts as Foles once was for him. Regardless, other general managers in the market for a new quarterback in 2021 have already started to do some work on Wentz and he will be studied by other teams as a potential option. The Eagles have a reputation for being an aggressive team on the trade front and very creative as well, and even with a $10M roster bonus looming for Wentz in March, a trade is still feasible.

Colts Fans and Stampede Blue Community Q&A - Week 14 ANSWERS - Stampede Blue
Answer: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been heavily linked with joining the Colts by the media since his struggles occurred this season. The media have linked Wentz to the Colts via an offseason trade to reunite him with Frank Reich who was his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in Philadelphia before Reich left to be the Colts head coach. There are many issues with the idea; the first is the compensation needed to trade for a quarterback the Eagles spent so much draft capital on and secondly having to take on the massive contract that Wentz comes with. The Eagles will most likely want a decent return in terms of compensation for Wentz in any trade. Wentz contract the next four years has an average of $32 million a year in yearly salary. Also if Wentz is traded the Eagles would take on a hefty $33.8 million in dead money. It makes theoretical sense due to the link between Wentz and Reich but logistically it makes zero sense for the Colts to trade draft capital and take on Wentz huge contract for a quarterback who has been playing poor ever since his 2017 season. Chris Ballard is a very smart general manager and trading for Wentz wouldn’t be a smart move.

What now for the Eagles? Making sense of Jalen Hurts’ start and Carson Wentz’s future trade fits - ESPN+
3. The Broncos have struggled with inconsistent play from Drew Lock, who is still on a rookie deal and could be part of a package heading back to the Eagles as a low-cost backup for Hurts. John Elway’s team could also include someone such as wideout Tim Patrick, who has impressed this season but may be subject to a restricted free agent offer sheet on a team that is likely to move forward with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler as its starting wide receivers. The Broncos have only $25.5 million in cap room, but they could free up an additional $29.9 million by cutting pass-rusher Von Miller and cornerback A.J. Bouye. Elway has spent years searching for his Peyton Manning replacement; the 6-foot-5 Wentz could be his next target. Given the weapons the Broncos have on offense, this could be a dream landing spot for the North Dakota State product.

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary, Week 15 - PhillyVoice
The Eagles’ 13 wins since 2019 have come against the following quarterbacks: Case Keenum: Currently the Browns’ backup. Aaron Rodgers: An all-time great, obviously. Luke Falk: Out of the league. Josh Allen: Before he figured out the NFL. Mitchell Trubisky: Benched by the Bears this season, got his starting job back when Nick Foles got hurt. Eli Manning: Had been cooked for years, got benched last season by the Giants, came back to fill in for the injured Daniel Jones. Dwayne Haskins: Benched this season in favor of Kyle Allen. When Allen got hurt, the Football Team turned to Alex Smith. Dak Prescott: A hurt version. Daniel Jones: Rookie season version that turned the ball over like crazy. Nick Mullens: 49ers’ backup. Daniel Jones: Second-year version that turned the ball over somewhat less, but still a lot. Ben DiNucci: Cowboys’ third quarterback. Jerry Jones compared having to play DiNucci to the Bronocs having to play a practice squad wide receiver at QB. Taysom Hill: Formerly 3-0 as a starter, but let’s be real — that guy isn’t an NFL starter. Soooo, not exactly an awesome group.

What Changed - Iggles Blitz
Some people think there was more of an emphasis on the run game. Yes and no. The Eagles did run the ball 36 times for 240 yards, but RBs only had 17 carries. Pederson didn’t go with a “3 yards & a cloud of dust” offense. He wasn’t running Sanders and Scott all day to protect his rookie QB. Again, there is a need for context. The Saints had one of the best run defenses in the league. Feeding RBs over and over would have led to punting a lot. Instead, the coaches got creative with the run. They did use RBs, but also designed draws and outside runs for Hurts. There was a 19-yard end around by Jalen Reagor. Against a different defense, the Eagles might have fed the ball to RBs more. Arizona is a mediocre run D so things could change next week.

Doug Pederson or Carson Wentz? Only one is likely to return to the Eagles in 2021 - Inquirer
Hurts ran the offense as called, save for one or two checks. The Saints made a few second-half adjustments he had trouble countering. Pederson said the struggles were more self-inflicted. But Hurts will need to grow up fast, the more film opposing defenses have to study. So while the rookie has provided the spark Pederson said he was in search of, and there’s obvious fan excitement about his potential, expectations should be tempered. There are still great unknowns and most options for the future still on the table. The one that seems the most unlikely, however, is Wentz and Pederson returning together.

The Packers Have Taken Over the NFC Lead and Are Only Getting More Dangerous - MMQB
It seemed like what we saw in Philly was more than a quarterback change. In a lot of ways, it felt like the rebirth of the kind of ingenuity we saw in 2016 and ‘17, when Doug Pederson, Frank Reich and John DeFilippo adapted new-fangled college concepts to the NFL game—and unleashed a young quarterback on the league. Of course, the coaches around Pederson this time around are different, and the young quarterback from then is being replaced by this year’s young quarterback (at least temporarily), but the idea is the same. What was stuck in the mud with Carson Wentz under center is now forward-thinking again with Jalen Hurts. And the run game was reborn, with Philly’s rolling to 246 yards on the ground, enabled by the team’s jumping out to a 17–0 lead in the first half. Hurts carried it 18 times (for 106 yards), and Miles Sanders got it 14 times (for 115 yards and two scores), and that was enough to carry a heavily managed passing game. Did it give Pederson’s team that spark it was looking for? Absolutely. Philly played with energy throughout, and with an assist from the Saints’ offense (Taysom Hill, for some reason, seemed unable to run the hurry-up in the fourth quarter), Pederson got the spark he was looking for. The idea in going to Hurts was to light a fire under a dead team, and that happened, even on defense. But did the Eagles do themselves a favor long-term? It’ll be interesting to see. Because what we saw Sunday won’t mean the team will be playing for a title in two months. But it will make it hard to go back to Wentz, whenever they might (or might not) be planning to.

Week 14 fantasy football reactions: Miles Sanders explodes, Diontae Johnson implodes - Fake Teams
Saints vs Eagles: Jalen Hurts sparks Miles Sanders. FINALLY MILES SANDERS DID SOMETHING! All it took was the Eagles to make a quarterback change and for me to bench him on my fantasy team. Great jobs by all! Sanders went nuts against a tough Saints defense, rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries and adding four catches for 21 yards into the mix. Hurts meanwhile looked solid in his first NFL start, going 17-of-30 for 167 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 106 yards. He’s rostered in 17% of leagues. With Hurts under center, the Eagles’ rushing game was much more explosive and I would trust them again next week to get the job done against the Cardinals.

The Sunday Aftermath - Rotoworld
Jalen Hurts gives Eagles no reason to go back to Carson Wentz. I wrote last week that Hurts didn’t need to reinvent the wheel, he just needed to stop it from rolling further backward. It was mission accomplished in a stunning victory over the Saints, with Hurts hitting layups in the passing game while opening up the rushing attack. Entering Week 14, the Saints had gone 55 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. Sunday, they surrendered two, with Hurts reaching the century mark in his first start and Miles Sanders joining him. Sanders’ 82-yard touchdown in the second quarter highlighted the biggest change Hurts brings to the Eagles’ offense. The rookie sucked the defense in on a read option, freeing Sanders and doing something Wentz was no longer capable of: Keeping the other team guessing. These sorts of attacks are often figured out quickly, but the Eagles just need it to work three more times before they reassess for 2021. Hurts has immediately established a top-18 floor and top-12 upside for Week 15 against the Cardinals.

The day after: Jalen Hurts sparks Eagles vs. Saints, delivering much-needed hope - The Athletic
It was just one game, but with an eye on the offseason decisions to come, Sunday’s results inched Hurts closer to the possibility of being the starting quarterback in 2021 and improved Pederson’s chances of remaining as head coach. It turns out he still knows how to put a game plan together after all. In the effort to untangle the offense’s 2020 woes, that also means Sunday would slice a bigger piece of blame pie with Wentz’s name on it. In simply avoiding mistakes and hitting open receivers, Hurts made the offense look functional, which is a vast improvement over what it has been most of the year. His seven first-down runs were the second-most for any quarterback this season and the Eagles scored 24 points on the league’s No. 2 defense after failing to top 17 points in each of the past four weeks.

How Jalen Hurts helped the Eagles’ offensive line look better - NBCSP
The Eagles went into Sunday’s game against the Saints having allowed an NFL-high 53 sacks, 14th-most in NFL history through 12 games. They had allowed three or more sacks in 10 straight games, Only four quarterbacks in NFL history – Randall Cunningham, Greg Landry, Trent Green and Archie Manning – have ever taken three sacks in 10 straight games. There was always a sense that a high percentage of the sacks the Eagles were allowing were the result of Wentz being slow in his decision making in the pocket, reluctant to throw the ball away and lacking in his usual ability to sense pressure.

Eagles enjoy the beauty of ‘complementary football’ - PE.com
Things can change, but it appears that the offensive line will return intact for only the second time this season, with Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Isaac Seumalo at left guard, Jason Kelce at center, Nate Herbig at right guard, and Jack Driscoll at right tackle. Three of those players – Mailata, Herbig, and Driscoll are just kids. Thirteen games into the season, they have earned the trust of the coaching staff. Can the Eagles count on them? “I think in the big picture, you can,” Pederson said. “We see improvement every time they go out and play a football game.” Driscoll opened the season as the starting right tackle after playing zero preseason games and it was a bit of a rough go against Washington. He has started these last two games and he’s silenced his opponents. On Sunday, Driscoll matched up against Cameron Jordan and Jordan recorded all of one tackle and a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. Mailata, of course, has made huge strides week by week. Herbig, who has had a bouncing-ball kind of season, is back in the lineup and has a chance to elevate his game down the stretch.

3 Biggest takeaways from the Saints baffling loss to the Eagles - Canal Street Chronicles
Heading into the Sunday afternoon matchup most of the press was centered around one of two things. The first was Eagles rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts and his first start. The second was the New Orleans top-ranked defense and how it would dominate Hurts. As it turns out, the opposite occurred. The Saints defense gave up over 100 rushing yards to TWO players, one of which was Miles Sanders and the other to rookie quarterback Hurts. That snapped the Saints record of not allowing a 100-yard rusher in 55 games. Furthermore, the defensive line was unable to record a sack on the evening and relatively little pressure was placed on the rookie to have to make quick decisions. However, credit has to be given to Trey Hendrickson who was constantly in pursuit of Hurts and was never giving up on the play.

It’s time to recognize Vance Joseph - Revenge Of The Birds
It’s December 14th and the Arizona Cardinals have the 13th best (total) defense in football. Wait, what? It’s December 14th and the Arizona Cardinals are allowing 23.3 points per game, which also ranks 13th overall in the NFL. How can this be? Lets start by recognizing the fact that Cardinal defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has greatly outperformed expectations. An argument could also be made that, while head coach Kliff Kingsbury has struggled in recent weeks, Joseph has picked up the slack to keep this Cardinal team competitive. And unlike Kingsbury’s offense, Joseph is doing this without a number of key defensive starters.

Giants-Cardinals ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review: Hamstrung edition - Big Blue View
Daniel Jones — I almost feel bad putting Jones here. I think he was put in a difficult position, playing when it was obvious his hamstring wasn’t nearly 100 percent. Jones’ legs, either via the zone read or simply making plays with his legs when the coverage is too good or the pressure too great, are a huge part of the Giants’ offense. They weren’t available Sunday, and Jones was really able to do little to avoid becoming a pinata for Haason Reddick, Golden and the rest of the Arizona rushers. Still, the performance is the performance. As they say, the show must go on. The show Jones put on was anything but pretty. He want 11 of 21 for 127 yards. He was sacked six times, fumbling three and losing one. This was the first time in his NFL career that Jones did not have a single rushing attempt.

Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller becomes first woman to score in a Power Five game - NFL.com
Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller made history on Saturday, becoming the first woman to score in a Power Five game. The senior connected on an extra point late in the first quarter to tie the Commodores’ game against Tennessee at seven, then another following the Commodores’ final touchdown in a 42-17 loss to the Volunteers. With a clean snap and hold on the first attempt, Fuller delivered squarely through the middle of the uprights. “I was just excited, I was so happy that we got a touchdown and I was ready to go out and do my thing,” Fuller said after the game. [BLG Note: Jake Elliott replacement?]

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