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Eagles News: Jalen Hurts still has “plenty of room for growth”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/16/20.

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New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

NFL Week 15 Preview: Fantasy football advice, betting tips and matchups to watch - PFF
Jalen Hurts led the Eagles to an upset victory last week, but there is still plenty of room for growth. A win against the Saints — one of the better teams in the NFL — carries weight regardless of Hurts’ individual performance as a passer. But to be clear, there is significant room for improvement for him as a passer after a 40.9 passing grade in his first career start. A throw that very well could have been a pick-six slipped through the arms of a defender, and several of his bigger plays through the air came on busted coverages. However, you can’t discount the fact that Hurts did add significant value on the ground (106 rushing yards), and the Eagles’ offense as a whole functioned more smoothly with him at the head. As PFF’s Seth Galina wrote, Hurts’ supporting cast had its best collective performance of the season. That should have Philadelphia excited to see what Hurts is able to produce for an encore in Arizona.

Report: Jack Driscoll out for rest of Eagles’ season due to MCL sprain - BGN
Driscoll has shown some promise this year despite ranking 77th out of 87 offensive tackles graded by Pro Football Focus. And the Eagles’ offensive line as a whole is coming off their best game of the season. Shame to see they won’t be able to carry that continuity over into Week 15. One would assume that it’ll be Matt Pryor taking over at right tackle with both Lane Johnson and Driscoll now out for the year. He’s not an ideal starting option but he at least has some experience playing the position. Driscoll’s injury leaves the Eagles pretty thin at tackle. Brett Toth is the only full-time tackle behind Jordan Mailata and Pryor. The Eagles have used Isaac Seumalo at tackle in emergency situations in the past so there’s always the option of kicking him out and shifting somebody else in at guard. The Eagles should probably sign rookie blocker Prince Tega Wanogho from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to give them more depth.

At the Podium: Post-Win Pederson Talks Hurts/Offense - BGN Radio
Doug Pederson speaks to the media (from Monday 12/14/20) after the Eagles Week 14 win over the Saints!

Let’s all get on the same page regarding the Eagles’ options with Carson Wentz - PhillyVoice
Carson Wentz won’t be released. While he could be traded, the bet here is that the Eagles’ demands and another potential team’s willingness to acquire Wentz as a reclamation project (but only on a bargain deal) will not align. In my view, the most likely scenario is that Wentz will remain on the team in 2021, and he will have to battle it out with Jalen Hurts for the starting job during training camp. If Wentz wins the job, plays well, and looks like he’s something closer to what we all expected this year, then great. If he’s bad again, or if Hurts beats him out, then the Eagles will have a $128 million backup, and it’ll cost them $24,547,075 in dead money to trade or release him during the 2022 offseason.

NFL quarterback awards: Aaron Rodgers’ magical season, Baker Mayfield’s 68-yard throw, Jalen Hurts’ first start - ESPN+
Not Carson Wentz Award: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. Let’s face it, Hurts entered the season among the least likely backups to overtake a starter. Wentz had the contract, age and history of MVP-caliber play to ride out most rough patches. But the Eagles had no choice by Week 14 and Hurts responded by helping them to a 24-21 victory over the Saints. Did Hurts perform well in a vacuum? Or was the perception of his performance boosted by comparisons to Wentz? The answer is both. Hurts benefited from 14 designed runs, which were the most called runs in at least 20 seasons for an Eagles quarterback and produced 56 yards. He also scrambled for another 50 yards on four carries and did not commit a turnover. On the other hand, Hurts showed the kind of rookie indecision that wouldn’t necessarily earn him a permanent starting job if Wentz were in a better place. He held the ball for an average of 3.07 seconds before throwing, the second-highest rate during Week 14, and as a result found himself under pressure on 42.4% of his passes. (The league average was 27.9% in Week 14.)

Revisiting the Bills’ Trade for Stefon Diggs - MMQB
The stat of the week has to be 18. That’s the number of carries Jalen Hurts had Sunday against the Saints. That’s twice as many as Carson Wentz has had in any of his 68 career starts—he actually set a career high with nine (for 65 yards) against the Bengals in September—and Wentz’s mobility was considered a bona fide strength when he came out in 2016. To me, that shows two things. One, what Philly had to do to make the offense work for Hurts on short notice. And two, how the Saints might’ve been caught a little off-guard. New Orleans coaches found themselves combatting far more designed quarterback runs on the ground, and way more quick-game passing through the air. The concepts, of course, weren’t out of nowhere. But the way the game was called by Philly’s coaches was much different. It’ll be interesting to see how this looks in Arizona on Sunday, with the Cardinals having the benefit of seeing the adjusted scheme on tape.

NFL Power Rankings: The Bills Just Made a Statement - The Ringer
23) The Eagles’ quarterback switch was one of the biggest story lines of the Week 14 slate, and Hurts’s performance didn’t disappoint. Filling in for Carson Wentz in the Eagles’ shocking 24-21 win over the Saints, the rookie helmed a run-first, option-based offense for Philly that helped give the offense new life and rectify a few of the team’s most glaring and prohibitive issues―namely Wentz’s propensity to take far too many sacks and the team’s lack of dynamism in the run game. Hurts, who completed 17 of 30 throws for 167 yards and a touchdown, remains a work in progress as a passer, and because of that, head coach Doug Pederson designed a smart scheme that didn’t ask too much of the inexperienced young pro. But where the former Alabama and Oklahoma star did stand out was his ability to not only be a factor as a runner, but in his ability to escape the rush and keep called pass plays alive. Whether he was scrambling or just resetting in the pocket, Hurts showed the ability to slide and strafe away from pressure.

Winning from pocket is litmus test for every NFL QB - PE.com
It struck me watching Lamar Jackson drive Cleveland’s defense crazy in the Monday Night Football thriller that the Eagles have that similar skill set starting this week in Arizona when Jalen Hurts takes the field for his second NFL start. It is difficult for defenses to play quarterbacks who are dual threats, who can win games with their arm and strike fear into defenses with the threat and the actual usage of their legs. “Because a lot of times,” Head Coach Doug Pederson was saying when asked why a mobile quarterback puts so much stress on a defense in today’s NFL, “they don’t account for him. They think he’s going to be 7, 8, 9 yards deep in the pocket and he’s going to sit there and throw the football from the pocket. Any time you can create a passing lane and you’ve got a quarterback that can push up in the pocket and then separate from there, it stresses the defense. It stresses the coverage, especially if teams want to play man coverage because all eyes are on the receivers and they’re not on the quarterback. And that’s where some of the plays can really show up.”

Handicapping 10 scenarios in 2021 for Wentz and Hurts - NBCSP
1. Hurts plays OK the rest of this year, both are here next year, Wentz is the starter: For me, this is the most likely scenario. I think Hurts is talented enough to do some good things these last few games, kind of like what we saw Sunday. Bring some juice. Make some plays. But I’m not sure everything can line up at this point for him to really play spectacular football, not with his lack of experience and the lack of weapons around him. And I think the only way he can win the job going into next year is to play lights out.

Talking 2021 Eagles coach-QB combos, end-of-season scenarios, secondary options - The Athletic
How much do you presume Wentz’s influence on the offense played a role in the stagnant offense? It’s a factor. Wentz likes to have control. There are plays and concepts he prefers over others. I’m not sure we can chalk it up as a coincidence that there are concepts used more frequently when Wentz isn’t on the field. This is not to say Wentz is a bad quarterback, nor should it suggest the Eagles could have sustained success with simplified schemes that they’ve used with backup quarterbacks. But if they are looking at their record with Wentz compared with their record without Wentz and not asking why that discrepancy exists, then they’re being irresponsible.

Quarterback rankings for Week 15 fantasy football - DraftKings Nation
QB12 — Jalen Hurts, Cardinals. Hurts showed enough last week to be in consideration against a weak Arizona Cardinals defense. The Cardinals play a lot of man coverage, which will help Hurts run the ball and he’s already shown that he can do that against a good Saints defense, by topping 100 yards in his starting debut.

Any Given Sunday: Eagles Over Saints - Football Outsiders
The best throw from Hurts’ debut was probably the touchdown pass to Jeffery that hit the receiver right in the chest. I don’t think Hurts by any means flashed superstar passing upside in his first game, but this was also a great defense he was going against, and there’s room to grow given the circumstances that led to his elevation. I know people all over the place on their pre-draft Hurts evaluations, from those who believed he’ll be a star to those who think he’s a journeyman. Where I kind of settled is: I believe he can be a good player, and I think his legs will define enough for him to be able to create a useful niche ground to elevate him. Where he winds up is largely about the passing he’ll have to do. I think this was a start on him settling in as a good quarterback prospect.

Despite benching, Carson Wentz still leads the NFL in interceptions and sacks - PFT
Carson Wentz was benched for the second half of Week 13 and all of Week 14, but he still leads the league in some statistical categories. Wentz has thrown an NFL-high 15 interceptions this year, as he had a big enough lead in the interceptions category that no one was able to catch him last week. Wentz ranks 14th in the NFL in pass attempts, but none of the 13 quarterbacks who have thrown more passes than Wentz has thrown as many interceptions

The 5 O’Clock Club: Just a reminder...Washington isn’t actually in the playoffs yet - Hogs Haven
Week 17 - The trip to Philly could be momentous if the switch to Jalen Hurts at quarterback pays dividends for the Eagles over the next couple of weeks. If Philadelphia can enter the final game of the season with just one win less than Washington (which can only happen if the Football Team loses at least one game between now and Week 17), then the Eagles could pass Washington in the division standings with a win at Lincoln Financial Field. With the Eagles playing Arizona and Dallas in the next two weeks, the Week 17 game in Philly could be for the Division championship at 7 wins.

Giants coach Joe Judge disappoints with Sunday’s handling of Daniel Jones - Big Blue View
The whole “Should he have played, shouldn’t he have played, how long should he have played?” debate surrounding Daniel Jones from Sunday’s New York Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals game marks the first time in his tenure as head coach that I’m truly disappointed in Joe Judge.

Cowboys news: “Ridiculous” speculation over Mike McCarthy being a one-and-done in Dallas - Blogging The Boys
Things have clearly not gone the way Mike McCarthy expected when he joined the Dallas Cowboys, for many reasons, and the 4-9 record with three games remaining has naturally led some to question McCarthy’s job security. That caught Stephen Jones by surprise.

DeAndre Hopkins on pace to set new receptions record for Arizona Cardinals - Revenge Of The Birds
Three games left in the 2020 NFL season for the Arizona Cardinals and nothing matters quite as much as making the playoffs. One reason the Cardinals are in control of the seventh seed in the NFC is because of the season DeAndre Hopkins has had in year one of his tenure. Hopkins has 94 receptions for 1,155 yards and five touchdowns this season through 13 games. That is good enough for 14th all-time in receptions and 17th all-time in receiving yards in Cardinals history. Again, that is with three games left to go. On his current pace, Hopkins will finish with 116 receptions, 1,422 yards and six touchdowns on the season.

Did Lamar Jackson run off the field to poop? An investigation. - SB Nation
Quarterback Lamar Jackson left the field in the fourth quarter in quite a hurry, to trot back to the locker room in an odd little jog that screams “I gotta poop.” He waved a team employee out of the way to almost impeded his progress to the locker room, was gone for a few minutes, they returned to the field and led the Ravens to victory. So begins the biggest mystery of the 20202 season: Did Lamar Jackson poop?

The many strange long-term symptoms of Covid-19, explained - Vox
When Heather-Elizabeth Brown spiked a fever in April in Detroit, the only reason she was able to get a coronavirus test was because she was volunteering as a police chaplain and was therefore considered an essential worker. Her results came back negative, and she was relieved. But then, she says, “I just got sicker and sicker.” After being turned away from overcrowded ERs twice, Brown was eventually admitted on her third try. She finally tested positive, and by that point, she was severely ill. She was put on a ventilator and spent the next 31 days in a medically induced coma. Before Covid-19, Brown was a healthy, active Black woman in her 30s. “But when I came off the ventilator, they had to coach me how to breathe.” The smallest pleasures — like eating a sliver of ice after her feeding tube was removed — became something to treasure.

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