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Eagles News: The Miles Sanders/Kenneth Gainwell dynamic

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/8/21.

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Miles Sanders or Kenneth Gainwell? Solving the Philadelphia Eagles’ backfield - ESPN
The Philadelphia Eagles’ running back usage to this point in the season has been interesting, to say the least. Miles Sanders, the lead back, has 37 carries in four games, which is tied for 33rd in the NFL with Dallas Cowboys’ No. 2 running back Tony Pollard and New York Jets rookie Michael Carter. Sanders was expected to be a central figure in their offensive attack, yet has rushed nine times total the last two weeks. Rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell, meanwhile, played a season-high 29 snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and racked up 89 total yards and a touchdown compared to 47 yards in 47 snaps for Sanders, or a yard per snap. Sanders’ plummeting opportunities and Gainwell’s efficiency have folks wondering if the Eagles have cooled on Sanders and are eyeing a changing of the guard — or at least more of a timeshare situation. As is always the case with life’s riddles, the answer can be found in running back Danny Woodhead.

Eagles rookie storylines heading into the Panthers game - BGN
The legend of Kenneth Gainwell grows. Kenneth Gainwell is basically the Eagles RB1-B at this point with how much time he gets to be on the field. The fifth-round pick has proven himself a versatile and dynamic weapon in the passing game while also showing he can make plays as a runner. Gainwell has touched the ball 32 times through four games and has already scored twice. Against Carolina, he is facing a defense that was gashed on the ground last week to the tune of 245 yards. While it is unclear what the running back split will look like against Carolina, it will be fun to see if Kenny G can keep making big plays.

Is Gainwell replacing Sanders as Eagles’ lead running back? - NBCSP
This year has been different. It’s clear that the current coaching staff loves Kenny Gainwell — and the rookie fifth-round pick has been very good. But Gainwell’s touches have come at the expense of Sanders, who has gone from about 17 touches per game since becoming the full-time starter to 12 per game this year, while his scrimmage yards have dropped from 91 to 68. The last two games, Gainwell has only two fewer touches than Sanders (15 to 13). This is the first time since early in Sanders’ rookie season he’s had 10 or fewer touches in consecutive games. What we’ve learned about Nick Sirianni’s offense is that he doesn’t like to run the ball a whole lot, but he loves throwing to the backs. And although Sanders caught 50 passes for over 500 yards as a rookie, Gainwell already has more catches this year than Sanders (13 to 11), and on Sunday he had twice as many catches and targets as Sanders.

Eagles-Chiefs takeaways + Eagles-Panthers preview - BGN Radio
Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski run through the biggest positive and negative (but mostly negative) lessons learned from the Eagles in Week 4. The guys discuss concern levels Nick Sirianni, Jonathan Gannon Jalen Hurts, and Fletcher Cox. They also dive into a preview of the top reasons for optimism and pessimism against the Panthers before wrapping things up with weekly NFL picks against the spread.

Ten players who will rebound after slow starts to the 2021 NFL season -
DeVonta Smith - Smith averaged less than 40 yards per game through the first three weeks of the season, then finally cracked the 100-yard mark against the Chiefs with a superior outing on Sunday. And while Kansas City’s lackluster pass defense might have had something to do with that, I would expect we’ll see plenty more days like it going forward. One factor to keep an eye on is whether he and Jalen Hurts are able to develop more chemistry on deep throws. Smith has been targeted deep on nearly a quarter (22.6%) of the passes that have gone his way, per Next Gen Stats — but he’s only caught one of those throws. He and Hurts appeared to be out of sync on most of the rest, whether Smith was trying to fight through heavy coverage or the ball was in a place where it was difficult for Smith to make a play. If he and Hurts can find a better rhythm on those throws, look for Smith’s yardage totals to balloon.

NFL picks against the spread: Sheil Kapadia has the Browns, 49ers and Bills in Week 5 - The Athletic
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3.5) | 1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX. The Eagles’ offense last week: 30 first downs, 461 yards and 30 points. They drove into Chiefs territory on every possession and didn’t punt the entire game. They had three touchdowns called back for penalties. But overall, Jalen Hurts executed the game plan well, and Nick Sirianni did a good job of scheming up some layups for him. The Eagles will face a much tougher test against a Panthers defense that got gashed last week against the Cowboys but has played well overall. The same cannot be said for Carolina’s offensive line, which ranks 30th in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric. I think the Eagles’ pass rush gets going in this game, they force a key second-half Sam Darnold turnover, and they pull off the upset. The pick: Eagles (+3.5)

Jack Driscoll prides himself on being ready for anything -
At some point when he was a younger man in his college days at Auburn, Jack Driscoll – an academic through and through – came across a quote that struck a chord and has stayed with him throughout. The quote came from Andy Grove, an author who specializes in high management output. A motivational guy, to break it down. The quote jumped out at Driscoll immediately. “Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” That kind of mentality has helped Driscoll in his life and through a football career that started collegiately at the University of Massachusetts and then Auburn and now in the NFL with the Eagles. A second-year offensive lineman, Driscoll is no stranger to being thrown in the deep end. He hasn’t had a minute to be complacent.

Fantasy Football Volatility Index: The riskiest and safest plays for Week 5 - Fake Teams
QB Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles). I have definitely rooted for Hurts since the day he got drafted. I have been a Day 1 stan. I projected him to do wonders this season. But this?! This thing he’s doing right now?! Daaaaaamn. Hurts is quarterbacking a team barren of talent, as simple as that, yet he’s somehow finished all four games played to date inside the QB1 realm. He’s yet to drop below the 20-FP mark (min. score 20.8 in W2) while he’s finished with 27+ FP in W1 and W4. Hurts is absolutely nuts. And it’s not that Hurts is a boom/bust player because of a wild style of play; far from it. Hurts is completing 65% of his pass attempts, averaging 292 passing yards per game, throwing 2 TDs per outing, and has only been intercepted twice. Seriously. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part of Hurts’ game: rushing the rock. Hurts has accounted for 34 carries so far, and he’s converted that volume into 226 rush yards and a touchdown. He is second in carries and rushing yards only behind Lamar Jackson, ranks QB3 four games into the year, and he’s sitting on a sky-high floor with upside for a 30+ FP explosion any day.

Fantasy Football: Best and worst DFS targets in Week 5 - PFF
Betting against Hurts seems relatively rash, given his QB3 ranking thus far. However, we cannot afford any slip-ups at his salary, and he’s got a tough matchup against the Carolina Panthers coming up. The Eagles quarterback has relied relatively heavily on his rushing production this season, as 28.2% of his fantasy points have come by way of his legs. Unfortunately for Hurts, the Panthers have allowed only 70 rushing yards and the second-fewest passing yards (725) to quarterbacks this season. Hurts may be able to overcome this matchup, but rostering him for Week 5 DFS could be a costly decision.

How to Avoid the Ben Roethlisberger Trap - Football Outsiders
The Eagles’ offense consists entirely of screens, bombs, and read-options right now. It’s fun to watch, and it has allowed them to move the ball somewhat effectively between the 20s, but it’s unsustainable unless the Eagles’ goal is to produce lots of receiving yards in the second halves of losses.

Panthers vs Eagles offensive preview: Middling Philly presents opportunity for Carolina - Cat Scratch Reader
The overall match-up could play into Philly’s favor if McCaffrey doesn’t suit up. But that may not end up deciding the game. The Panthers pass offense is a little bit stronger than its rush offense, despite Darnold’s knack for finding the endzone with his feet. Philly’s run defense is where we’ll likely see the biggest gains, so that’s why McCaffrey’s absence could present trouble. Conversely, we could see Hubbard step up and have a big game, but it doesn’t look like he’s reached that stage yet. Despite this, I still think the Panthers are the stronger team. I’m not too sold on Jalen Hurts’ ability to be a consistently effective NFL quarterback. Let me put it this way: the Panthers offense against the Eagles defense is less of a concern than the Eagles offense going against the Panthers defense.

6 burning questions entering Week 5 of the NFL - SB Nation
No. 3: Are the Panthers ready to prove they weren’t a fluke? Starting the season 3-0, the Panthers had a sobering experience as they faced the Cowboys and lost. It ended up being a fairly close game, but it was clear Dallas had their number. Now, going from playing bad teams to Dallas was like turning the dial up to 11 immediately, but Week 5 against the Eagles is a different story. Carolina seems to be going all-in this year, making bold trades like acquiring Stephon Gilmore and there seems to be an internal belief they can make a run. That doesn’t happen if they can’t beat talented, but middling teams like the Eagles. A loss to Philly would show this was a paper tiger to start the season. A convincing win could push them back in the conversation as a team to watch.

Giants vs. Cowboys picks: BBV staff split on chance for upset - Big Blue View
Emily Ianaconni: “This is a bold, perhaps ridiculous, pick by an ever-hopeful Giants fan. On paper, New York does not appear to have what it takes to win this game. The Giants are coming off of their best performance of the season against the NewOrleans Saints but the Cowboys have an elite offense and more than mediocre defense that will likely be difficult for the Giants to overcome ... I am picking the Giants because I think this is a make-or-break game for them ...”

Cowboys vs. Giants game preview: Five things to watch - Big Blue View
Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both did not play during the Giants week four win over the New Orleans Saints, and they have still been non-participants so far heading into week five which has put some doubt on their availability heading into their matchup with the Cowboys. If the Giants are without both it puts more pressure on rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney and veteran journey man John Ross to produce in their absence. We all know that Trevon Diggs is playing at an elite level, arguably better than any other cornerback in the league, so it is safe to say he is up to the task versus any opposing wide receiver. But if the Giants were without Shepard and Slayton once again, it could present an easier matchup for the other cornerbacks on this Cowboys roster. This Cowboys team has stood tall against better receiving units so far this year, but it may be worth monitoring the two pass-catching options for their availability to see how it effects the Cowboys matchups on Sunday.

What can we expect when the Saints come marching in to FedEx Field this Sunday? - Hogs Haven
The Saints have a 3.66% sack rate per passing attempt, which ranks 32nd out of 32 teams in the NFL through four games...dead last. On Sunday in New Orleans, Giants’ quarterback Daniel Jones dropped back 40 times to pass, and was sacked exactly zero times by the Saints. If there is a glaring weakness in New Orleans’ very good defense, this may be it. Heinicke is probably as mobile as Daniel Jones, and he has good vision. If he has been able to stay clean against the Bills and Chargers pass rushers, then it seems likely that he may be relatively comfortable against the black & gold 32nd ranked pass rush.

Colts Injury Report: RB Hines, LB Leonard, DE Paye and RT Smith All Miss Practice - Stampede Blue
Running back Nyheim Hines missed practice today with a shoulder injury. Hines played sparingly against the Dolphins after fumbling a punt. It appeared as though Hines had been benched after the fumble but him not practicing today might explain the low usage. Hines is a massive part of the Colts offense and a big playmaker for the team. Linebacker Darius Leonard missed practice today with an ankle injury. Leonard has been dealing with an ankle injury the whole season so far. Leonard did look slightly on the mend against the Dolphins and looked a lot quicker. Leonard is still rehabbing his ankle injury whilst still trying to practice and playing every week.

The Look Ahead #57: NFC West battle royale + Chargers chance to own AFC and more! - The SB Nation NFL Show
Each week, Rob “Stats” Guerrera and RJ Ochoa take a deep dive into the four biggest games of the week and preview every other game of the weekend in the Lightning Round. Rams Seahawks with Kenny Arthur of Turf Show Times - how does LA always rough up Seattle? 49ers Cardinals: Will Kyle Shanahan finally go with Trey Lance with his season on the line? Bills Chiefs: Buffalo faces their first real test of the season, but are the Chiefs acting too cool for school? Browns Chargers: A win here makes the Chargers the clear front-runner in the AFC. Week 5 Lightning Round.


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