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Eagles News: Nick Sirianni is calling more zone-read runs than anyone, and it’s working

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/24/21.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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The Philadelphia Eagles have revived the ‘spread-to-run’ offense with QB Jalen Hurts - PFF
The best thing for this offense has been to take the ball out of the air, without actually taking it out of Hurts’ hands. Philadelphia has been on a 3-1 surge since the philosophical change, topped off with a dominant 40-point outing against the New Orleans Saints and their strong defense. In those four games, head coach Nick Sirianni has called for more zone-read runs than anyone in the NFL, and it’s quickly become the best play on his call sheet. [...] In almost any other case, I’d relish an opportunity to slam an offense leaning into a gimmick so heavily. The Eagles are building their entire offense out of a spread running attack you won’t often see at the college level anymore. What do you say when it works this well, though? You follow your grandmother’s sage wisdom: say something nice, or say nothing at all.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 12 Edition - BGN
18 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 20) - Don’t look now but the Eagles actually have the 10th best point differential in the NFL. It sure helps that they’ve faced some bad quarterbacks. Still, they’re dominating lesser opponents. The Eagles finally have an identity. Their offensive line is setting up Jalen Hurts and Philly’s running game for success. Jonathan Gannon is no longer merely having the Eagles sit back and allow quarterbacks to do whatever they want to his defense. The Birds are heating up as they’re set to take on the league’s easiest remaining schedule. It’s suddenly not hard to think that Nick Sirianni could get to the playoffs in his first year on the job.

The QB Factory Reboot #37: Eagles physicality continues to be a threat - BGN Radio
The Eagles run game is such a threat right now, and Raichele Privette and Mark Schofield discuss why it’s best to continue to take advantage of it while things are hot. Plus, they preview Week 12 against the Giants.

Former Eagles GM Joe Banner: Nick Sirianni’s remake of the offense a good sign - Inquirer
BANNER: Jalen Hurts’ play, actually, has made me more nervous, though, about his ability to throw from the pocket. The only reason I bring that up is because, to me, you can be good with a quarterback playing the way he is, but it’s really hard to be great if he can’t improve the throwing part. I’m not saying that’s some big deal; he’s in his 10th game of what is effectively his rookie year. It’s something to keep an eye on; we have seen some players improve in that area. I want to give him credit for what he’s done, which I think is really dynamic and challenging for a defense. But against good teams, his ability to throw from the pocket needs to really show up. If we’re predicting the future, the things that they’re doing now give them a chance to be good and competitive, but I don’t think it will give them what they need to beat really good teams when you get to the playoffs or if the NFC East ever became a challenging division.

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 12 - PhillyVoice
8) Eagles (5-6): Oh hey look, the Eagles are legitimate playoff contenders! This season is reminding me a little of 2018, minus the expectations.

NFL Power Rankings Week 12: 1-32 poll, plus each team’s most memorable Thanksgiving game - ESPN
21) The Eagles entered with a 5-5-1 record and with their offense in a rut, having scored 20 points total in their previous two games. It was so bad that coach Andy Reid decided to bench quarterback Donovan McNabb at halftime during a loss to the Ravens the previous week. McNabb bounced back in a big way on Thanksgiving, tossing four touchdowns, while Brian Westbrook racked up 130 total yards and four scores in a Philadelphia romp. The Eagles won four of five to close the regular season, and advanced all the way to the NFC Championship Game ... where they eventually fell to this same Cardinals team.

NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Patriots rise, Bills fall as pecking order changes from top to bottom -
17) Jalen Hurts is playing himself into the Eagles’ future. The second-year quarterback accounted for three touchdowns on Sunday — all of them on the ground — in a 40-29 win over the Saints at the Linc. After the game, Nick Sirianni spoke glowingly of Hurts’ multidimensional abilities. “Jalen is a special player who forces defenses to play different,” the coach said. The victory was also one of personal significance to Sirianni, who finally has his first win at home in five tries as coach. The Eagles have turned into a great cold-weather team: They run the ball extremely well and beat up the opposition in the trenches. There’s more work to be done, but they profile as a player in the NFC wild-card race.

Putting the Eagles’ rushing numbers in perspective in Roob Stats - NBCSP
THEIR MOST SINCE 1950: The Eagles have rushed for 870 yards the last four games, their most rushing yards in any four-game stretch in 71 years, since they netted 961 in Weeks 3 through 6 in 1950. This is the first time since 1950 they’ve rushed for 175 or more yards in four straight games and the first time since 1978 they’ve rushed for 200 or more in back-to-back games. Their 50 rushing attempts Sunday equals their most in a game in 35 years, since they had 52 in a win over the Bills in 1987. They also had 50 in a win vs. Washington in 1997. They’ve only had more than 50 five times since 1953. The Eagles are only the second team in the last 30 years with four straight games of 39 or more rushing attempts and 16 or fewer completed passes. The Ravens also did that in 2018, Lamar Jackson’s rookie year. Wow!

Jonathan Gannon opens up the playbook as players continue to grow in scheme -
Eleven games into his first year as an NFL defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon sees the way his Eagles defense has morphed, evolved, matured – call it what you will – throughout the season. He’s pleased with the direction the D is taking and the defense stepped up when Gannon dialed up some pressure with dime personnel on the field – six defensive backs – against New Orleans. “At that point in the season, you remember we didn’t have OTAs and you want to get good at certain things and you want to be able to put guys in the right spots to function and play,” Gannon said of why the team didn’t utilize the dime package earlier in the year. “But that’s something that we have had when we got here. And when we decided to deploy it, we felt good about the guys in the game. And then we have stuff that’s built off of the coverages and pressures from that group. And the players – it’s really about the players. The players executed the calls. And the coaches did a really good job of us planning those calls out. But, at the end of the day, the players make plays. And that’s what you saw and that’s why some of those calls worked.”

Tampa Bay Rises to DVOA Top Spot - Football Outsiders
[BLG Note: The Eagles are 12th in DVOA. The Giants are 25th.]

10 Fantasy Football Facts from NFL Week 11 - Fake Teams
8.) Darius Slay has three scores in four games, as a defensive player...

Giants vs. Eagles, Week 12 odds: Giants will be underdogs at home - Big Blue View
The Giants are 3-7 and in last place in the NFC East. They just fired former offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. GM Dave Gettleman’s seat is on fire. Judge’s seat might also be warming up. The Eagles? They are 5-6, in the NFC East. They have won three of four. They have scored 40 points twice and are averaging 34.5 points per game during that four-game span. The 30-point barrier is something the Giants have not visited since 2019. So, entering this game it is the Eagles who appear to be rising. The Giants? They appear to be careening toward a fifth straight double-digit loss season and another potential rebuild.

A Giants Failure - The Ringer
Again, this was not hard to predict. Was there one—literally, one—Cowboys fan who was upset that the Giants hired Jason Garrett? (The vibe was more lol, good luck with that.) I am a Giants fan, and I can tell you that every Giants fan I know was distraught by Garrett’s hire. It went exactly as anyone who watched Dallas in the 2010s predicted it would go when you hand Garrett the worst roster in the NFC East instead of the best one. The Giants are supposed to know their division rivals better than they know other teams. Did they not watch the last decade of Cowboys football? How could the Giants evaluate Dallas’s coaching decisions over the last decade and decide that Garrett would improve their team, or that Garrett was a good mentor for Joe Judge or a good coordinator for Daniel Jones? Instead, the inane lack of attention to detail, clock management, and general unpreparedness—the sloppiness—that defined Dallas has plagued the Giants. Garrett’s hire is a symptom of what is wrong in New York, not the cause. His firing is also the easiest of a series of crucial decisions the Giants have to make this offseason. They need to decide the futures of general manager Dave Gettleman, head coach Joe Judge, quarterback Daniel Jones, and running back Saquon Barkley. (No pressure!)

Cowboys vs. Raiders game preview: 5 things to watch - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys have not loss back-to-back games all season, and while two of their three losses this year was by a combined margin of 12 points to both of last year’s Super Bowl teams, the offense did not look very good to put it bluntly. Who would have thought as Dallas prepared for the Chiefs last week that it was the offense we would be hoping to hold their weight to match the defense’s play. The reality is the Cowboys will once again look to shake off a tough loss, however this time there is no time to think about it with the quick turnaround right into the Thanksgiving holiday. If the Cowboys find a way to win this game and raise their record to 8-3, it is safe to think many people would feel pretty good about that. However, if they were to lose their second straight and fall to 7-4, there might be some unrest within Cowboys Nation. This very quietly could be a sneaky big game for the Dallas Cowboys.

Is Taylor Heinicke inevitable? - Hogs Haven
I thought Heinicke was good enough to keep a well-functioning team close, and maybe even win some tight games, but that, ultimately, he wouldn’t be able to put a bad team on his back consistently, as a result of some of his physical shortcomings - most notably, weaker than NFL-average arm strength. And, at that point in the season, the team around him was bad. Underperforming, heartless, and doing very little to make life easier for the still inexperienced QB. And, the defensive coaching staff wasn’t doing much to help either. I go on the record today to officially change my tune. I’m not unequivocally declaring Heinicke the long-term starter, but I do now think that, even with some of his athletic shortcomings, he possesses the possibility of being a “long term” starting option in Washington. Given a respectable defensive performance, and not charged with trying to play from behind every week, I think that Heinicke has the spirit - I’m not sure that’s ever been in doubt - and sufficient physical tools to lead a successful NFL team.

Here’s what the NFL playoff picture looks like going into Week 12 - SB Nation
Who can make it in from the bubble? In the NFC there are reasonably three teams that can make a run: 49ers (5-5), Eagles (5-6), Panthers (5-6). Of these three I’m projecting one team to make a jump and replace the Saints, and for my money that’s the Eagles. Philadelphia has become sneaky good, and their back end to the season features two games against the Giants, one against the Jets and two vs. Washington. All completely winnable. I can see them finishing 9-8 or 10-7 and getting in.

Off Day Debrief #64: Bucs handle the Giants + Week 12 Power Rankings - The SB Nation NFL Show
Every week, Rob “Stats” Guerrera and Brandon Lee Gowton react to the Monday Night Football game and give you the only 100% accurate power rankings in the entire NFL podcast kingdom. Mike Evans doesn’t get enough love for how good he is. How confident are we in the Bucs getting back to the NFC title game? When will the Giants just admit they need a rebuild? Week 12 Power Rankings - where do we put the Buffalo Bills? MVPs and LVPs of the week.


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