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Eagles News: Philadelphia will be a “sneaky tough foe” for the Buccaneers

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 1/10/22.

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NFL: OCT 14 Buccaneers at Eagles Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

Week 18: ‘Sometimes You Get A Sense.’ Ben Roethlisberger And The Steelers Crash NFL Playoffs – Barely! - FMIA
That was the start of something big. Between Weeks 8 and 16, the Eagles ran for 194.3 yards per game, first in the NFL in that period. Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and Miles Sanders took turns gashing foes. After a real clunker loss to the Giants in Week 12, the Eagles reeled off four straight wins to clinch a playoff spot. They’ll be a sneaky tough foe on Wild Card Weekend for Tampa Bay. Philadelphia plays at the No. 2 seed Bucs on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Using 12 and 13 personnel groupings (two- and three-tight-end formations), it turns out, has saved Sirianni’s rookie year. And it all came from the brainstorming in the mini-bye after the Thursday night loss in October. “For as tough as it is to get ready to play on Thursday night,” Sirianni said, “you get some benefits from it. The players can rest, and we can work on some self-scouting that we might not have time to do during a regular week. Sometimes, as a staff, you’ve got to swallow your pride and change course. And since midseason, we’ve been one of the higher 12- and 13-personnel teams in the league. I can tell you, that really helped us. One way it helped was we didn’t have to put as much on Jalen with the running game performing so well.” First seven games: 19.8 percent multiple-tight-end formations. Next nine games: 33.5 percent. In the meantime, Hurts has done his best to convince Eagles GM Howie Roseman to use the team’s three first-round picks next year on non-quarterbacks. “One of his best qualities is he’s totally unfazed by things,” Sirianni said. “He plays a bad game against the Giants, Gardner Minshew comes and plays great to beat the Jets, this city’s got a big quarterback controversy, and Jalen just comes back and has his best three-game stretch. It doesn’t bother him. Great example: Did you see when the stands collapsed at Washington after the game and fans spill out onto the field? Did you see Jalen? Never flinched. He’s there, just helping people.”

NFL Playoff Picture: Eagles will play Buccaneers in wild card round - BGN
In the Eagles’ first game against the Bucs, they didn’t even really try to run much against Todd Bowles’ No. 1 ranked rush defense. Making more of an effort could make a difference this time around, especially considering the Bucs’ D has fallen off a bit (tied for 13th in opponent yards per rush attempt). Then again, the Eagles’ defense has much to prove when it comes to stopping non-terrible quarterbacks. And Brady just so happens to be the best player at his position in the history of the sport. Given how they’ve exceeded expectations, it’s hard not to feel like the Eagles’ 2021 season can already be declared as a success. Still, there’s value in evaluating Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, and Jonathan Gannon in a really big spot. Will they be able to rise to the challenge and pull off the upset?

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Wildcard round edition - PhillyVoice
In the end, the Eagles got a first-round pick and a third-round pick for a player that they tried to go above and beyond to make happy. In his new home in the Midwest, where the “culture and values” fit his vibes, Wentz got to play with a coach credited for being able to get through to him in Frank Reich, and the Eagles were left with a seemingly less talented quarterback in Hurts that the Eagles themselves tried to upgrade on throughout the 2021 offseason. Hurts and the Eagles will be competing in the playoffs next Sunday, while Wentz won’t, mainly because he stunk in the Colts’ final two games of the regular season. The Eagles also have the Colts’ first-round pick in the process. Credit the Eagles for moving on. It was no doubt an extraordinarily difficult decision, given the time, resources, and emotion that had built over time with a player they thought was the face of their franchise. It’s hard to come to realization that the player you once thought was a winner... isn’t. But they obviously recognized that, acted on it, and shipped him off to go wreck some other team’s otherwise promising season. It was the best thing they did in 2021.

NFL playoffs first look: What to like, dislike about 12 teams playing on Super Wild Card Weekend - NFL.com
What’s to like: No team runs the football better than the Eagles. They morphed into a ground-and-pound attack out of necessity — they were 2-5 at one point — and they’ve taken off ever since. Currently, the Eagles rank first in the league in rushing. They’ve also won seven of their last 10 games, with that season-ending loss to Dallas basically being a giveaway. The Eagles aren’t pretty by any stretch. However, they know who they are and how they have to play to win games. That means plenty at this time of year. What’s not to like: Quarterback Jalen Hurts is battling an ankle injury. The Eagles didn’t need to risk him playing in that loss to Dallas, but they’ll need him as close to 100 percent as possible for the Super Wild Card Round. Hurts still has to answer a lot of questions about whether he’s this team’s long-term answer at quarterback. The reality is he’s their best short-term hope of navigating through the playoffs. If he’s still gimpy this week, Philadelphia’s fun ends in a hurry.

Raiders, Steelers, and the Playoff Balance of Power - Football Outsiders
Eagles Playoff Prognosis: The Eagles have all the earmarks of a happy-to-be-here, one-and-done playoff team. If that turns out to be true, fans should at least hope for an encouraging game as a passer, rusher, and decision-maker from Hurts. If he is truly developing into a franchise-caliber quarterback, then the final score of Sunday’s game won’t matter much in the long run.

Welcome to the playoffs: A newcomer’s guide to the postseason-bound Philadelphia Eagles - The Athletic
Sirianni is a credible coach of the year candidate. His team overperformed to a significant degree, and he was willing to refashion his offense in the middle of the season. One complaint from some Eagles fans: his relative lack of in-game aggressiveness. For an analytically forward organization, the Eagles have been relatively conservative on fourth down. Sirianni ranks 14th in fourth-down aggressiveness. Then again, the Eagles clinched their spot in the playoffs on the strength of two fourth-down conversions for touchdowns in the Week 17 win over Washington. Sirianni’s passivity on fourth down has been confounding at times considering the quality of his offense, but perhaps he’ll be more willing to roll the dice as the proverbial David in a playoff matchup.

Debunking myths for 14 NFL playoff teams: Why you’re wrong about Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, more - ESPN+
The myth: Jalen Hurts won’t be able to win a playoff game with his arm. The Eagles’ first-year starting quarterback has shown great improvement since the start of the season, but their success really began once they started leaning on the running game. Through 17 weeks, Hurts ranked 20th in the league in passing yards, 19th in Total QBR, 23rd in touchdown passes and 24th in completion percentage (61.3%). He has been a big part of the aforementioned run game, with 784 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, but he hasn’t been a topflight passer yet. Why it’s wrong: From Weeks 8 through 17 — he rested in Philly’s Week 18 loss to Dallas — Hurts ranked ninth in the league in completion percentage above expectation (CPOE), which indicates he has an ability to make tough throws. And over the season’s first 17 weeks, he had the 10th-lowest off-target rate among passers in spite of posting the fourth-longest average pass distance. Hurts feels like a guy it’s not wise to underestimate, and while the Eagles’ DNA on offense is the run game and he’s a huge part of that, there’s at least some evidence to indicate he can make throws when he has to.

It’s never too soon for Eagles to overhaul WR position - NBCSP
Meanwhile, Jalen Reagor was doing his usual thing – five offensive touches for a pathetically ineffective 29 yards – and JJAW was doing his usual thing – dropping passes at every possible opportunity. Reagor finished the season with 299 receiving yards and a ridiculous 3.2 average on 10 rushing attempts. Not to mention a paltry 7.3 punt return average. The Eagles kept trying to invent ways to use him and he came up small every time. The last 1st-round WR who wasn’t a rookie to start at least a dozen games and not reach 300 receiving yards? It was 32-year-old Andre Rison 22 years ago. Meanwhile practice squad running back Jason Huntley steps on the field for the first time this year and on the third kick return of his life busts it for 35 yards and shows more elusiveness on one play than Reagor has shown in his career.

Eagles will face the Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round - PE.com
“Really the same message we’ve had the entire time, right? So, the first message is – what’s that saying, ‘We didn’t come this far to only come this far.’ So, let’s make sure we’re locked into what put us in this position in the first place,” Sirianni said. “Detail in meetings, starting with the coaches going to the players, full speed in walkthrough to the snap and then high intensity at practice and just try to get a little bit better each day to put ourselves in position to go 1-0 this week. So, that’s our formula, that’s our process, and that’s what we’ll continue to preach throughout.” A step-up in the level of competition also means the Eagles will have to bring their best to the table from the very start of the win-or-it’s-over games. Slow starts in late-season games against Washington (twice) and the New York Giants put the Eagles in first-half holes that they were able to climb out from, but in the postseason against a much better team, Philadelphia will search for instant production. “We, obviously, want to get our game going quicker than we have the last couple weeks, so that’s one area that we need to improve,” Sirianni said. “And we know that we’re going to be in positions on defense that we’re going to have to be able to stop the pass. We’ve done a good job … of stopping the run. We’re going to have to be able to stop the pass here moving forward.”

NFL Wild Card Playoffs Schedule: Buccaneers to host Eagles on Sunday - Bucs Nation
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers locked up the second spot of the NFC Playoff Standings Sunday after their 41-17 win over the Carolina Panthers with help from the San Francisco 49ers as they beat the Los Angeles Rams 27-24 in overtime. That means if the Bucs win during next week’s Wild Card round and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs they will then have a second playoff game at home. Next week’s opponent will be the Philadelphia Eagles, a matchup that was already slated to happen regardless of seeding. And if curious as to when that game may be, the NFL has released the schedule for the first round of the postseason. The Buccaneers will be kicking off against the Eagles next Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM ET. The game will begin the journey through the playoffs for Tom Brady and the Bucs to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

2022 NFL Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers select QB Sam Howell at No. 6, New Orleans Saints land Ole Miss QB Matt Corral at No. 16 - PFF
15. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami Dolphins): Edge David Ojabo, Michigan. After playing just 26 career snaps before this season, Ojabo broke out in a big way in 2021, racking up 42 pressures and earning an 86.9 pass-rushing grade. While he’s a project, he’s already progressing by leaps and bounds.

After Shocking End to Season, Colts Leadership Must Evaluate Key Positions to Start Early Offseason - Stampede Blue
However, the Colts’ top leadership has to treat that 2022 first round pick like a sunk cost, as it’s already gone, and definitively cut their losses if a clear upgrade over Wentz actually presents itself (i.e, the Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers or Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson actually become available). With a projected $53.4M of total team cap space (and potentially saving $13.3M more if cutting Wentz), the Colts cannot be completely ruled out of going ‘QB hunting’ again for the third straight offseason. They’d be foolish not to consider it, as Wentz’s shakiness late in the year raises serious concern of whether he’s the franchise’s long-term answer at the position—or even in 2022. At the very least, if the Colts completely close the door on pursuing a potential starting quarterback upgrade this offseason, it would be a clear mistake. Wentz simply hasn’t shown enough in that regard.

Dallas Cowboys open as 3-point favorites against the San Francisco 49ers - Blogging The Boys
The 49ers will pose a unique test for the Cowboys as they are a team that can run the ball with the best of NFL teams. The Cowboys defense, while overall being a top unit, has sometimes struggled containing the run. The Cowboys offense will have to deal with a tenacious 49ers defense that will make Dak Prescott and Company work. It will be an interesting matchup to watch.

Glazer: Joe Judge losing support inside Giants’ locker room - Big Blue View
The belief that he still had the support of the players despite the losing and awful performances that peppered the second half of the season is one of the few reasons to offer in support of keeping Judge for a third season. If Judge’s public comments and the way he has coached some of the games down the stretch, including embarrassing his team with back-to-back quarterback sneaks from a tight formation on Sunday, have lost him support in the locker room that could seal Judge’s fate.

Washington Football Team Vs. New York Giants (Game Two) - Studs and Duds - Hogs Haven
Taylor Heinicke - Heinicke played poorly on the afternoon, going 9/18 for 120 and no touchdowns. He was erratic yet again, missing a wide open Cam Sims in the back of the end zone early in the game. He fumbled a snap (which Washington was fortunate to recover), had an easy interception dropped on a poor throw, due to McLaurin’s great defensive play, and constantly took too long in the pocket to get rid of the football - once resulting in an unnecessary sack.

Here’s the NFL Draft order entering the playoffs - SB Nation
The 2022 NFL Draft order is set now that Week 18 is in the books, and the immediate winner (as we’ve known for a while) is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles, who are already a playoff team, are boasting an astonishing three first rounds picks this year as a product of a two smart trades. Philadelphia not only has its own top pick, but Miami’s (which it got through a pre-draft trade in 2021), and Indianapolis’, coming from the deal for Carson Wentz. While none of the picks are in the Top 10, the 2022 class is deep and this could be a defining moment for Philadelphia to find significant upgrades. That could be major for a team that’s already good.

Sunday Late Night Wrap Up #18: The playoff field is set, but how’d we get there? - The SB Nation NFL Show
The playoff field is set! Rob “Stats” Guerrera takes you through the twists and turns of an incredible Week 18 in the NFL. If you missed anything on Sunday, you’ll catch up on exactly what you need to know in about 15 minutes.

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