Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...
Ranking NFL playoff quarterbacks: Strengths, weaknesses and what’s at stake for all 14 QBs in 2021 field - ESPN+
13. Jalen Hurts. Strength: Running and mobility. Hurts led all quarterbacks in total EPA on designed carries and was second only to Allen on all rushes. He scrambled on 10% of his dropbacks, the third most in the league. While Hurts held the ball for a long average of 3.12 seconds before throwing and accrues a high rate of pressure as a result, a low 16% of those pressures were actually converted into sacks (fourth best). Weakness: The quick passing game. A good 65% of Hurts’ throws were under 10 air yards, the second-lowest rate in the league. And for good reason. His QBR on those passes was just 43 (fourth worst in the league). His QBR inside the pocket ranked 25th, unsurprisingly, because he likely isn’t utilizing his legs on those plays. What’s at stake for Hurts (via Eagles reporter Tim McManus): This season has been all about evaluating Hurts. Is he the man for the job, or should the Eagles use their three first-round picks in April’s draft to acquire a new signal-caller? Hurts showed improvement as the full-time starter, guiding Philly to an unlikely playoff berth. A win over the Bucs would strengthen his case to remain QB1 even longer.
Locked in: Jalen Hurts is no stranger to the big stage - PE.com
He’s the guy, has been the guy all season, and you see how naturally it fits for quarterback Jalen Hurts to lead this Eagles offense into Sunday’s Super Wild Card Weekend playoff game at Tampa Bay. For a quarterback who has started huge games in his football career, Hurts understands the stakes in the NFL’s postseason. At the same time, the unflappable Hurts is doing what he’s done all season to reach this point – his preparation is on point and his focus is locked in. Any questions? “The importance of fundamentals throughout this week, the importance of detail, and simply doing the things that we’ve done all year,” Hurts said on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. “I preach about the process, I preached about it when we were 2-5 and I preached about it when we’ve made the run we made to get to this point. Nothing changes as far as our preparation and our intent as a football team, so it’s all about getting better every day and doing the things you need to do to get better every day. You either get better or you get worse. You don’t stay the same. Having the right focus, the right attention to detail every day throughout this week.”
Eagles Film Preview: Looking for answers against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense - BGN
I studied the Saints game hoping to see a blueprint that the Eagles can follow and I didn’t see. Firstly, this was an odd shoutout as the Bucs still had 300+ yards and had chances to score points. Secondly, Mike Evans and Godwin both got injured this game and Brown was already out. So the offense was pretty thin. Let’s quickly get to the Saints tape and you will see why I don’t think the Eagles are going to follow this blueprint (although I would love it if they somehow could). The Saints played a ton of man coverage. Nearly every snap they jammed the Bucs receivers at the line and played physical press coverage. It was an elite defensive performance and they had the secondary to be able to do this. There was a good mix over middle field closed and middle field open but what never changed was the physicality at the line of scrimmage.
NFC East Mixtape Vol.39: Playoffs?! - BGN Radio
*This episode was recorded prior to the news that Giants Head Coach Joe Judge was fired.* In this jam-packed episode, RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton share their thoughts on various topics surrounding the NFC East. They discuss the Eagles-Bucs matchup that has a completely different look than Week 6, the Cowboys who swept the entire NFC East, Eagles and 49ers’ parallels and more.
Ranking the top 25 rookies from the 2021 NFL season: Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons leads the way - PFF
10. WR DEVONTA SMITH, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES. Smith has been utilized as a downfield pass-catching threat, as he has generated the sixth-highest average depth of target in the NFL at 15.2 yards. He’s held up his end of the bargain with the fifth-most deep receptions (12) over 20 yards downfield. Interestingly, the 2020 Heisman winner has dominated on hitch routes this year. His receiving grade and 298 yards on hitch routes are top-three among wide receivers.
Eagles vs. Buccaneers: Five matchups to watch, when Tampa has the ball - PhillyVoice
The interior of the line is manned by a trio of blue collar small school guys in Marpet (Hobart College), Jensen (Colorado State - Pueblo), and Cappa (Humboldt State). They’re all scrappers who are particularly good in the run game. However, they do give up pressure up the middle at times in the passing game. We often say in these matchup posts that Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave have to create pressure up the middle, but that’s especially true against a quarterback like Brady, who won’t often venture from the pocket, but who has outstanding pocket presence and knows how to make subtle-but-effective movement away from edge rushers. He’s less effect when the pressure is right in his face. The Eagles have a ton of resources tied in in their defensive tackles. Now is when they need to see those investments pay off.
Winnable - Iggles Blitz
I agree. Hurts has made major strides as a passer. He’s using the whole field better. He’s making a concerted effort to stay in the pocket. Hurts is making better decisions. He was erratic back in October. Hurts still has issues, but he is tangibly better. My biggest concern is the defense. Even without receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, Tampa has a very talented offense. Tampa has only been held under 24 points three times this year. That Brady dude is pretty good. The Eagles are playing more press coverage now than they did in October. They are blitzing more. The LBs are making more plays. The safeties are actually doing something now. This defense is very different. Still, it is very fair to question if they’re good enough. Shutting down the Jake Fromms and Garrett Gilberts of the world is a thing of the past. This is the playoffs. You’re going to face good offenses and good QBs.
10 unheralded players who helped the Eagles reach the playoffs - NBCSP
Nate Herbig: Like a few other guys on this list – Sua Opeta, Greg Ward, Cameron Malveaux, Jack Stoll – Herbig was undrafted, and with undrafted guys who’ve gotten this far you generally know this might not be the most talented guy in the world but you’re going to get maximum effort. And Herbie certainly gives that. Herbig entered the lineup at left guard after Driscoll went on IR following the first Giants game and started four straight wins that propelled the Eagles into the playoffs.
The NFL Wild-Card-Round Entrance Survey - The Ringer
1. What game are you most excited to watch? Ben Solak: It’s Eagles-Buccaneers, but that’s for personal reasons. (Go Birds.) From an objective point of view, I think the most evenly matched game with the biggest ramifications is Niners-Cowboys. Every game from here on out could be the last game the 49ers play with Jimmy Garoppolo—and yet, it feels like they are back to where they were when they made the Super Bowl run with him: great offensive line powering a sick running game, great defensive line wreaking havoc on the opposite side, and an offense that runs through really cool players in Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. But the Cowboys, when they’re firing on all cylinders, have been as good as the Packers, Bucs, Bills, and Chiefs. Every week they go deeper into the playoffs is another week they could finally get the offense and defense working at the same time.
Bucs’ vaunted run defense faces challenge Sunday in Eagles’ league-best rushing attack - The Athletic
So, per usual, the Bucs will try to take away the run Sunday, trusting that the Eagles and Hurts are ill-equipped to beat them through the air. Philadelphia ranked 25th in passing yards this year, and their 20 passing touchdowns were the fifth-lowest total in the league, also tying for the league low with only five pass plays of 40 yards or longer. Whether it’s running or passing, Hurts is the focal point for keeping the Eagles in check — and keeping the Bucs’ season alive beyond Sunday. “He presents a lot of problems. He’s thrown it well,” Arians said. “Obviously, all of the read options and RPOs that they do, it’s a different style of offense. It’s going to take a hell of a concerted effort on everybody being disciplined and tackling well.”
State of the NFC East: Dallas vs. San Francisco, Eagles at Buccaneers, Giants fire Joe Judge - Blogging The Boys
All focus for the Eagles is obviously on the Buccaneers. The two teams did meet earlier in the season, in fact there were a lot of Cowboys fans rooting for Philly on that Thursday night so as to help Dallas’ potential hopes for the number one seed. It is difficult to imagine the Buccaneers losing this game, but this is the playoffs where chaos happens. For what it’s worth Philadelphia has anticipated this game for some time.
Three Buccaneers return to practice ahead of Wild Card game - Bucs Nation
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended their season with a 13-4 record but that doesn’t mean they got to that without challenges across the roster due to injuries. Today, the team announced some positivity on that front as three key contributors returned to practice. Running back Giovani Bernard, linebacker Lavonte David and running back Leonard Fournette will begin their 21-day practice period Wednesday, however, can be activated to the active roster at any time during that window. All three were on the team’s Reserve/Injured list.
Mailbag: Does Brian Flores’s Firing Mean Deshaun Watson Won’t Be Traded to the Dolphins? - SI
From ryan (@ryloose): Is the idea of Watson to Miami dead? ... Ryan, the answer is no. Deshaun Watson’s desire to play for the Dolphins, as I’ve heard it, was bolstered by Brian Flores’s presence there. But that was hardly the only thing Miami had going for it—there’s also a good core group on the roster, cap flexibility to allow for guys to come with the quarterback, no state income tax and, yes, the simple fact that it’s South Florida (which helps in getting guys to want to join him). Ultimately, I think it’s probably dangerous at this point to go off last year’s assumptions. Last year, maybe he didn’t like the idea of going back (close to) home and joining the Panthers, but could the right offensive coordinator get him to come around? Does the year the Eagles just had under Nick Sirianni improve their standing in his mind? And the Broncos don’t even have a coach right now, which seems relevant.
What would Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon bring as the Broncos head coach? - Mile High Report
Following a disappointing 7-10 finish to the 2021 season, the Denver Broncos are in the market for a new head coach. Second year general manager George Paton has already sent out requests to interview 10 different candidates, some more familiar than others. Few candidates are more familiar than the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannong, who spent three years as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Minnesota Vikings during Paton’s tenure there as the assistant GM. To get a better grasp of what Gannon could offer the Broncos as a head coach, I reached out to Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Gowton.
New York Giants head coach search: Who could be on the Giants’ radar? - Big Blue View
Kellen Moore is young at just 33 years old, but his rise up the coaching ranks has been absolutely meteoric. He started as the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach in 2018 after retiring from his playing career (finishing as a backup quarterback for the Cowboys) in 2017. The next year, Jason Garrett promoted Moore to be their new offensive coordinator and the results were immediate. The Cowboys scored 95 more points in 2019 than they did in 2018, jumping from 22nd in points and yards to first in points and seventh in yardage. Moore’s offense lead the NFL in both points and yards this past year, and their 530 total points scored shattered the franchise record by 51. Hiring a 33-year-old first-time head coach is an obvious risk for the Giants, but finding an offensive mastermind could be a priority for a team that has fielded the worst offense in the NFL over the last two years. This is also the hire Sun Tzu would approve of. Not only would it (potentially) strengthen the Giants, but doing so at the expense of a rival is an extra incentive.
Veteran or Rookie? Assessing Ron Rivera’s preferred route at the QB position. - Hogs Haven
Ron, like Mayhew, seems comfortable with a rookie as well. A bridge option does not seem likely, as Ron believes that the current pieces surrounding the roster are good for a quarterback to be successful. Whoever Washington decides to bring in, whether it is ultimately a veteran or a rookie, will be their day one starter in 2022. In the end, the answer on the team preference at quarterback remains unclear. Still, Rivera and Mayhew’s responses indicate that their pursuit for a solution will be the utmost priority and that their process began months ago. Time will soon tell if the team hit on plans A, B, C, or D.
Nick Saban to the Dolphins: A brilliant concept nobody has considered - SB Nation
The Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores on Monday in a nonsensical move that thumbed its nose at the basic concept of trying to win NFL games with a successful head coach, and replaced it with ... whatever they’re planning to replace it with. In thinking about who the Dolphins should hire I was struck with inspiration like a bolt of lightning and now I’m obsessed with it. The Miami Dolphins should hire Nick Saban. I know it’s weird and outside-the-box, but I think it’s genius.
NFL University #23: The tie that never was, Colts fall apart, and Jimmy G heroics - The SB Nation NFL Show
Welcome back to another edition of NFL University! Stephen Serda, Kyle Posey, and Justis Mosqueda break down the thrilling almost tie between the Raiders and Chargers. It’s hard to figure out where the Colts go from here with Carson Wentz, and Jimmy G had the game of his life. The Rams and Cardinals are an interesting wild card weekend match-up between two teams with big postseason questions, and we get Big Ben for one week.
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