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Eagles News: Jalen Hurts has the NFL’s highest QBR over the last five weeks

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/23/21.

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

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Jalen Hurts’ explosive plays give him a chance to be the Eagles’ QB of the future - SB Nation
Hurts now has eight rushing touchdowns, which leads all NFL quarterbacks. He’s the first Eagles QB to ever rush for three touchdowns in a game — something Mike Vick and Donovan McNabb didn’t even do. Hurts now has the most explosive plays of any QB this season. He also has the highest QBR in the league over the last five weeks.

Eagles vs. Saints: 15 winners, 6 losers, 1 IDK - BGN
Have the Eagles found their new franchise quarterback? It seems too early to say Hurts is definitely deserving of a lucrative long-term contract extension. But that’s not a decision that can be made until after next season at the earliest, anyway. What we can say is that Hurts is helping his case for the Eagles to at least bring him back as their starter for 2022. He’s playing winning football. Hurts’ passing numbers were admittedly pedestrian. He completed just 54.1% of his attempts for 147 yards (6.1 per attempt), 0 TD, 0 INT, and a 72.7 passer rating. You wouldn’t think that’s the starting quarterback for a team that just scored 40 points in a win. But Hurts’ rushing impact can’t be undersold. He nicely contributed three rushing touchdowns — the first quarterback in Eagles history to accomplish as much in a game — and 69 yards on 18 carries. His filthy crossover on a keeper sealed the game.

Jalen Hurts making compelling case to be Eagles’ quarterback beyond 2021 - ESPN
One of the biggest things working against Hurts is that Jeffrey Lurie is one of the most pass-minded (and therefore, heavy run-averse) owners in the league. He is into analytics big-time, and the analytics tell him that throwing is the way to go. There’s more than a touch of irony here, as Lurie was influential in the team’s decision to draft Hurts, and now the Eagles are running an offense that doesn’t quite fit Lurie’s belief system. The idea, however, wasn’t to draft Hurts to be QB1, but rather a dynamic No. 2 to Carson Wentz. History had other ideas. Wentz is long gone, Hurts has taken firm control of the reins, and with one of the softest finishing schedules in the NFL, the 5-6 Eagles are set up to make a hard charge at the postseason. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Philly a 39% chance to make the playoffs. Things are starting to fall into place, in no small part because of the electric play of Hurts. So long as that continues, the search for a different lead quarterback should be put on hold.

At the Podium: Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, Avonte Maddox and TJ Edwards share thoughts after Eagles defeat Saints - BGN Radio
Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, Avonte Maddox and TJ Edwards speak with the Philly media after the Eagles Week 11 victory over the Saints.

The Eagles are legitimate playoff contenders - PhillyVoice
The Eagles’ offensive line is big, strong, and athletic, and behind it they employ a dynamic running quarterback paired with a diverse committee of running backs. A run-heavy attack is a simple formula for offensive success, and one that is perhaps not ideal long-term, but it is also one that can be effective against any defense, as the Eagles showed on Sunday. Defensively, the Eagles’ identity is fading, which in this case is a good thing, because their previous identity sucked. They played an ultra-soft “bend don’t break” style, that good opposing quarterbacks picked apart with ease. More recently, Jonathan Gannon has ceased parking his safeties a country mile away from the line of scrimmage, and has concocted more aggressive game plans. He called timely blitzes on Sunday against the Saints, and Fletcher Cox, a player who openly criticized the scheme earlier this season, played with good energy and enthusiasm, which is perhaps a good barometer for the morale of the defense overall.

Looking Smarter - Iggles Blitz
We still don’t know if Sirianni will prove to be the long term answer, but he’s showing legit progress. 5-6 may not sound great, but consider that Doug Pederson went 4-11-1 last year so this team is already better. In Pederson’s first year, the team went 7-9. In Reid’s first year, the Eagles were 5-11. It is important to point out that there is no conclusion to be made. We’re making real time judgments on what we see. Sirianni looked smart as heck after a dominant season opener. Then there was a 1-5 stretch and he deserved a lot of criticism. Now he’s got the team on a 3-1 stretch and deserves praise. Learning about coaches is a process that takes time. Jimmy Johnson looked like an idiot after one year. Chip Kelly looked pretty damn smart. Kelly’s team peaked, while Johnson built a dynasty. You have to give a coach time. We’re not microwaving hot dogs here. This is like cooking a fancy meal like Hamburger Helper. It takes time.

The day after: Jalen Hurts’ running jukes the Eagles to victory as the team blossoms - The Athletic
Yet the same question still looms that seems to define this Eagles season. Is Hurts the long-term answer at quarterback? The framing is false. That decision doesn’t need to be made now, nor does it need to be made next season. It’s also short-sighted to think that question could possibly have a final answer already. Consider how much Hurts has changed since his first start against the Saints a season ago — or since the start of this season. How much more comfortable he is in the pocket. How much better he is at avoiding turnovers. How much more in sync he and Sirianni have become. Players are allowed to grow, too. “Anytime you can run the ball like that, the linebackers have to respect it, the D-line has to respect it,” said Goedert. “They can’t just straight rush up the field. When we can get them to step up, and he’s been making incredible throws — and you can see it each week in practice. His timing’s getting better. His balls, just unbelievable. This whole week throwing it in practice, I was looking at him like, ‘You’ve got a golden arm right now. You’re dotting it.’ It carried over to the game. If he keeps playing the way he is, we’re gonna be real good.”

The First Read, Week 12: Free-for-all in the AFC; Jalen Hurts rising - NFL.com
2) Hurts so good: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is one of those players who will always spur debate. When he’s struggling, there will be plenty of people who will nod and tell you how he’ll never be a franchise quarterback in this league. It’s an entirely different matter when he’s thriving. That’s when you start to see the possibilities, the qualities that can give him a chance to succeed for a long time if he continues to grow. Hurts has quietly been one of the better stories in this league over the past month. You wouldn’t have known it outside of the Philly area, because the Eagles started the season 2-5. But look at him now. Hurts has led the Eagles to three wins in their last four games, and he just scored three rushing touchdowns in a 40-29 win over New Orleans. He’s throwing the ball less frequently (he’s only had 78 pass attempts during that four-game stretch) but using his legs effectively in an offense that is far more run-heavy today (he’s had at least 55 yards rushing in every game in that time). In fact, Hurts has 618 rushing yards this season, with six left on the Eagles’ schedule, which means he has a pretty good chance of joining Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson as the only quarterback in league history to amass 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. There are still more questions for Hurts to answer in the coming weeks, particularly as a passer. However, the Eagles are contending for a playoff spot largely because he’s found a real comfort zone.

How the Chiefs’ Defense Helped Turn the Season Around; More From Week 11 - MMQB
The Eagles are creeping up on everyone. I’m not telling you they’re going to win the Super Bowl. I am telling you that I was wrong. A month ago, the Eagles—then holders of a 2–5 record, and three first-round picks in April 2022—looked to me to be in a full rebuild. Maybe they’d be a suitor for Deshaun Watson. Maybe they’d be thumbing through the quarterbacks in what’s expected to be a weak class of them in the draft. Either way, this sure had the markings of a rip-the-Band-Aid off year to a lot of us, and it’s a good thing for Philly that Nick Sirianni didn’t see it like that. Because after Sunday’s 40–29 beatdown of the Saints, the Eagles are on the doorstep of .500 at 5–6, with the arrow pointing up. “I kind of have been prepared for this, with how we started in Indy,” said Sirianni, going back to his first year there, having arrived with Frank Reich as the Colts’ offensive coordinator in 2018. “I had a good blueprint from Frank on how you handle a tough start. And we gotta handle one game at a time, but we’re kind of getting ourselves back right now. … In this league you know that there’s going to be adversity. The best teams go 12–4. And so you know you’re going to have adversity in this league, which is a little different than, say, DeVonta [Smith] and Landon [Dickerson] had at Alabama, where they won every game.”

What we learned from Eagles-Saints: Birds get tough; Darius Slay having a Pro Bowl-caliber season - Inquirer
The real shift began in Detroit. The level of competition helped with the turnaround, but in winning three of their last four, the Eagles have won by an average of 22 points. Their offense is now eighth in the NFL in Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) rankings. Sirianni scaled back on his overreliance of run-pass option plays and screen passes, had Hurts under center more to help the run and play-action game, and simply dialed up more run calls to play to the strength of the O-line and the running backs, while also lessening Hurts’ load. As simple as that explanation may sound, there has been a lot of detail that has gone into the ground success. The Eagles aren’t just running the Wing-T. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, as the run-game coordinator, has implemented an attack that has many moving pieces on any seemingly basic run play. It’s a joy to watch on film.

NFL Week 11 Team of the Week & Awards - PFF
Offensive Line of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles. No offensive line lost fewer reps in pass protection this week than the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost only six for three pressures as a unit. Rookie guard Landon Dickerson tackles Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson all pitched shutouts, with zero pressures allowed, marking the third consecutive week in which Johnson has kept a perfect slate in pass protection. Meanwhile, the ground game saw 3.0 yards before contact per attempt on running back carries, the third-highest mark of the week.

Look up front, it’s the O-line fueling the offense’s resurgence - PE.com
In the most difficult moments of the 2020 Eagles season, Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland kept his focus to one day at a time, one rep at a time, one player at a time. Injuries ravaged the offensive line, which started 14 combinations in the 16 games played, and yet Stoutland remained remarkably upbeat and purposeful. “It’s all about the teaching of the player who’s there at the moment and keep the young players, the guys that are at the backup roles, keep them sharp, you know, really demand from them in meetings,” Stoutland said last November. “Really push them like they’re in a game. I say to them, I go, ‘Look, I want you to pretend that you’re literally the starter here and you’re going into a game.’ That should be your mindset in these meetings each and every day.” Here we are, nearly a year after Stoutland spoke those words, and look what’s happening with the Eagles’ offensive line. Philadelphia is winning in a big way at the line of scrimmage and fueling a rushing attack that averages 153.4 yards per game, second best in the NFL and only 3.4 yards per game behind first-place Cleveland. The Eagles have averaged 217.5 rushing yards per game in the last four weeks, three of them wins. It’s no coincidence, the winning and the running game.

Bucs-Giants ‘things I think:’ Giants turn in embarrassing performance - Big Blue View
These Giants are not making a late-season run to the playoffs. They are 3-7, and the only team in the NFC with a worse record is the 0-9-1 Detroit Lions. The Giants are on a collision course with a fifth straight double-digit loss season, probably a new general manager and perhaps the start of yet another roster re-construction. Head coach Joe Judge is probably still safe unless the wheels come all the way off over the final seven games, but his coaching staff will certainly not come back intact. Following an 0-3 start, the Giants teased by going 3-3 over a six-game stretch. Monday night was a reminder that there is a lot of mediocrity in the NFL and many times that mediocrity gives the Giants a chance, but the chasm between the Giants and the truly good NFL teams remains miles and miles wide. [...] I feel bad for Michael Strahan. The Giants are going to honor Strahan by retiring his number on Sunday. In a game against the Eagles where MetLife Stadium will more than likely be overrun by Eagles fans. If you care, the Eagles opened as 3-point favorites.

Cowboys at Chiefs: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 11 - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys were already without their top wide receiver heading into the Week 11 matchup with the Chiefs as Amari Cooper was out after testing positive for COVID, but the depth was further tested after CeeDee Lamb sustained a head injury in the first half. Not only was Lamb’s absence in the second half detrimental to the Cowboys offense, but his status for Thursday’s game against the Raiders could be in doubt if concussion type symptoms linger. With Cooper out and Lamb questionable next week, Dallas’ once deep WR depth would be extremely thin without their top two targets.

Washington Football Team Vs. Carolina Panthers - Studs and Duds - Hogs Haven
Taylor Heinicke - Yesterday’s game was a perfect example of Taylor playing within himself and taking what the Panther’s defense gave him. He didn’t force balls into coverage, played very well within the pocket - stepping into his throws instead of throwing off his back foot, and showed off his wheels when running lanes opened up. He was an incredibly efficient 16-22 for 203 yards and three touchdowns; and most importantly, he didn’t turn the football over.

The Good, Bad & Ugly from the Miami Dolphins’ Week Eleven Victory against the Stinkin’ New York Jets - The Phinsider
It’s probably delusional to think that Miami has a shot at catching the red-hot Pats, but we’re Dolphins fans... We live of f of hope and delusion, so, unlike some other folks who cover this team, I’m not going to tell you to not get your hopes up about a potential playoff run. Get ‘em up, if you want to. Get ‘em up high! In the next few weeks, Miami plays a very beatable Carolina Panthers team, followed by a disappointing New York Giants team, then they get their BYE week, only to play these same New York Jets once more. By the way, those three games are all at home. After that stretch, Miami closes the season with a road game against the slumping Saints, at the Titans who have losses against the Jets and Texans this season, and then they host New England for the final game of the year. It’s going to take a bit of luck, and some major improvements in multiple areas, but these Dolphins somehow have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs if all goes right over the final seven weeks of the season.

Dolphins 24 Jets 17: Brutal - Gang Green Nation
Part of the issue came at quarterback. It isn’t easy when you are on a third starting quarterback of the season. For his part, I’m not sure how much more Joe Flacco could have done. Against a ferociously blitzing Miami defense, he took only two sacks. Still at this point of his career, Flacco is a very limited player. He hit Elijah Moore for a 62 yard touchdown in the third quarter. His other 38 attempts averaged less than 6 yards. He might be able to take what he is given, but he can’t really create more. Flacco was part of the issue as well. He made two glaring red zone errors fumbling the ball away on an admittedly hard blindside hit and committing an intentional grounding penalty that pushed the Jets back just before a missed field goal.

Jonathan Taylor Makes his Case for MVP - Football Outsiders
Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts enjoyed a monster game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, rushing for 185 yards and four touchdowns and adding a fifth scoring play as a receiver. He’s only the fourth player in league history to amass that kind of rushing yardage and score five touchdowns in a single game, the first since Clinton Portis did it with Denver in 2003. It was the best rushing performance we have measured in a decade and a half, and among the best in our database going back to 1983. A second-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2020, Taylor started 13 games as a rookie in Indianapolis, but split time in a committee with veterans Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins, each of whom carried the ball about one-third as often as Taylor. Taylor’s workload has grown this season, up from 15.5 carries per game to 17.5, and his production has gone up as well, from 5.0 yards per carry to 5.8. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in six of his last eight games, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 118.9 per game over that stretch, adding 13 rushing touchdowns. On Sunday, he took the field against a Bills defense that has allowed only one other 100-yard rusher this season.

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