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Eagles News: NFL executive says a “few late-season losses would actually help” the Birds

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 11/8/22.

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Philadelphia Eagles vs Detroit Lions Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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

NFL executives predict division winners, make Super Bowl picks - ESPN+
Evaluators consider Cowboys vs. Eagles a close call for NFC East supremacy, despite Philly’s two-game lead. But not close enough. “I see it like this — I’d take Dallas’ defense over Philadelphia, but Philly’s overall roster is a bit stronger and should carry them in the later months,” an NFL personnel director said. “Dallas has dealt with a lot along its offensive line, whereas Philly is stout there, and they really don’t have a glaring weakness on that side of the ball. Dallas could use one more receiver, too.” Enter Odell Beckham Jr., who should be available soon. But it’s uncertain whether Dallas would spend the necessary coin required to sign him. Despite Hurts’ MVP campaign, questions persist about his ability to get it done in December and January — largely because he hasn’t done it yet, partly because of that ugly playoff loss to Tampa Bay last year. The Bucs forced Hurts to read the whole field, and the Eagles failed to score before the fourth quarter. Some evaluators say making Hurts play from the pocket is still the best way to beat Philly, even though Hurts has improved his completion percentages from 52% to 61.3% to 68.2% over the past three seasons. “I could see [the Eagles] being a one-and-done — they haven’t had to go 15 rounds with anybody yet,” an NFC exec said. “I just wonder if they are battle tested. I think a few late-season losses would actually help them.” Added an AFC executive: “They live in the RPO world with [Hurts], and that’s a good place to be. He has that system and a lot of talent around him and he should be able to handle the rest.” As for the 6-2 Giants, rival execs see a disciplined team that can handle fourth-quarter pressure. “That defense is really good,” an NFC exec said. “They probably don’t have enough firepower on offense to get it done, but don’t discount their chances.” [BLG Note: Just my opinion but I would say that the Eagles would actually be better off NOT losing any games.]

The Eagles are double-digit favorites for the third straight week - BGN
Just because the Eagles beat the Commanders back then doesn’t mean this game will go the same exact way, of course. Washington has a new (old) starting quarterback with Taylor Heinicke manning the reigns. Methinks Heinicke will be better at avoiding pressure than Carson Wentz did when he got sacked nine times in the last matchup between these two teams. Washington might also benefit from the return of Chase Young, who is nearing return from last year’s ACL injury. Their top defender is eligible to be activated from the PUP list. The Commanders have been more competitive as of late. They were riding a three-game win streak prior to losing to the Minnesota Vikings via a late field goal. Of course, their wins came against some pretty uninspiring teams in the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Green Bay Packers.

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 10 edition - PhillyVoice
1) Eagles (8-0): As a follow-up to the NFL’s stat leaderboards being littered with Eagles (as we showed on Monday), if the season ended today (it doesn’t), double-digit Eagles players would have very strong cases for Pro Bowl and/or All Pro consideration: QB Jalen Hurts, WR A.J. Brown, TE Dallas Goedert, C Jason Kelce, RT Lane Johnson, LB Haason Reddick, DT Javon Hargrave, CB Darius Slay, CB James Bradberry, and S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

So Connected - Iggles Blitz
Back to McDaniels for a second. Imagine how different things might have turned out. Reich would have stayed in Philly that year. All the other jobs were filled. Maybe the combination of Pederson and Reich would have kept Carson Wentz on track and he wouldn’t have begun his bizarre fade to being the NFL’s most erratic QB. Who knows what would have happened in 2018 and the next couple of years. Sirianni wouldn’t have gone to Indy to be the OC. He might be an OC elsewhere or a positional assistant. It is very doubtful he’s a head coach anywhere. Who knows where Jalen Hurts would be playing and if he’d be having any success. I was mad when McDaniels backed out and the Eagles lost Reich, but in the end, McDaniels may have done us a big favor. Sirianni seems like a great coach and Hurts could be on his way to the MVP. It really is crazy how connected things are in the NFL world.

Midseason 2022 NFL roster rankings for all 32 teams: Strengths, weaknesses and X factors for every starting lineup - PFF
2. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — Preseason Rank (5). Biggest strength: Offensive line. The unit has allowed a pressure on just 21.4% of dropbacks, a top-10 mark in the NFL, and their 71.5 run-blocking grade ranks seventh. While Philadelphia is loaded with receiving talent, and quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to have taken the third-year leap, everything starts up front with this dynamic offense. Biggest weakness: Run defense. It’s hard to find a weakness for this Eagles team, but if there is one, it’s defending the run … especially when standout rookie Jordan Davis isn’t in the lineup, as was the case in Week 9 when Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 27 rushing attempts. On average, Philadelphia is tackling rushers 5.07 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, 30th in the NFL, with their 27 tackles for loss the sixth-fewest in the NFL and their .129 expected points added allowed per rush coming in at dead last. X factor for second half: Rookie interior defender Jordan Davis has been as advertised so far, with a 77.7 run-defense grade through Week 8, but he landed on injured reserve before Week 9 with an ankle injury. His ability to anchor the middle in Philadelphia’s five-man fronts and be responsible for a gap and a half or two gaps changes the entire complexion of the defense up front and in coverage.

Eagles’ road to 17-0: Breaking down 8-0 Philly’s remaining nine games, with predictions - CBS Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles have been the last unbeaten team in the NFL for over a month, and have started 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. There have been 40 teams that have started 8-0 in NFL history — 29 since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger — 14 of which have won the Super Bowl or NFL championship. So the Eagles will certainly take the 35% odds of hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Of those 40 teams that started 8-0, only four have completed a perfect regular season: the 1934 Chicago Bears, 1942 Chicago Bears, 1972 Miami Dolphins, and 2007 New England Patriots. The Dolphins were the only team to complete the perfect season — showing how the task to go undefeated is nearly impossible. The Eagles do have a golden opportunity to run the table for the remainder of the 2022 regular season. Philadelphia will be facing five teams that currently have losing records. The other four games are against the NFC East (where the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants are a combined 12-4) and the lone team over .500 in the AFC South (Tennessee Titans).

Spadaro: Overhauled secondary one of several early-season highlights -
We’ve known that Darius Big Play Slay turns games around with his big moments – he has 26 interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and four touchdowns scored from those 30 career takeaways – and, of course, James Bradberry has 17 interceptions of his own, including three picks and a touchdown scored this season. A secondary intent on taking the football away in 2022 faced a critical moment just before the season started when the Eagles traded for C.J. Gardner-Johnson and the big question was: How in the world could this defensive backfield get on the same page so quickly, as Gardner-Johnson was added just 10 days before the opener in Detroit? “We knew it would take a lot of work but we all helped C.J. get caught up into what we do here,” Bradberry said. “He worked at it, the coaches did a great job with him, and it helps that he’s a smart guy who fit right into how we play. It’s only been eight games so we expect to grow together the more time we are on the field.” One of the keys to the success this Eagles defense has had through eight games is the way the newly configured secondary – with Bradberry signed as an unrestricted free agency after the 2022 NFL Draft, with Marcus Epps earning a full-time starting job for the first time in his career, and with Gardner-Johnson acquired in a trade with New Orleans – quickly came together, ironed out any communications wrinkles, and has put forth strong performances week in and week out in the Eagles’ 8-0 start.

Commanders Vs. Vikings - Studs and Duds - Hogs Haven
Taylor Heinicke - He is who we though he was... In a pregame comment by former coach Rex Ryan, Heinicke was compared to Ryan Fitzpatrick - saying he comes in and provides a spark for 2-3 weeks, then you remember he isn’t the guy. Well, that’s exactly what happened Sunday. Heinicke was erratic all game. When things mattered most - 2nd and 11 with eight minutes left to play and the ball at our own 30 yard line, Heinicke dropped back, had a clean pocket, yet failed to step into his throw and sailed it well over the head of 6’6” tight end Logan Thomas for an easy interception by Harrison Smith, who returned it to the 12 yard line. Two plays later Minnesota scored a touchdown to tie the game. This was not the first time he missed a wide open Thomas. On the afternoon, he was a pedestrian 15/28 for 149 yards with two touchdowns (one on a chuck into triple coverage where he was yet again bailed out by an amazing effort by the receiver and a “pick” by the referee), and the back-breaking interception. Take away the 49 yard prayer to Samuel, and he had just 100 yards through the air - and this was against the NFL’s 28th ranked passing defense. He also had four balls batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Looking back and peering forward for the Cowboys - Blogging The Boys
Where do the Dallas Cowboys go from here? That is the important question as they come out of the bye week with the Green Bay Packers up next. There is no way to predict the future. All we can do is try and make projections based on what has gone before. Under normal circumstances, a 6-2 record is a very successful outcome for the first eight games of the season. At this point, Dallas is tied for third best in the entire NFL. No team in the AFC has more wins, and only the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings are ahead in the NFC conference. But this is actually a much more significant accomplishment for the Cowboys after they went 4-1 with Cooper Rush as quarterback. That is a testament to coaching and the superb performance of the defense and special teams to help the offense. It is quite logical to argue that they will do at least as well over the final nine games now that Dak Prescott is back behind center. That should lead to a 12 or 13 win season and a wild card berth at worst. Bolstering that argument is that the defense, led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons, is one of the best and deepest units in years, even decades. The pass rush comes in waves, the secondary, while dealing with some injury concerns, keeps doing the job, and despite an inevitable regression to the mean from last year, they are once again one of the league leaders in turnover margin. There is no reason to think they will not continue to be outright scary to opponents.

There are no terrible teams in the NFL this year - Big Blue View
The team tiers are telling us that the Giants on average have been a slightly above average offense and slightly below average defense in efficiency to date. That’s good enough for them to be in the upper half of the NFL overall, because there are plenty of teams that are terrible on one side of the ball even though they are very good on the other side (upper left and lower right in the chart). The Texans and Lions are in the lower left quadrant, meaning they have been below average in both, despite putting up overall stats that don’t look much different from those of the Giants. The Giants are making a good number of big plays when it counts, while Houston and Detroit apparently are not making those high-leverage plays as often. That’s likely to be the key to the next two weeks. The Giants are probably not going to dominate either opponent, and either team’s offense is capable of moving up and down the field on the Giants’ defense statistically (especially now that McKinney is out for the next few weeks). The questions are: Can the Giants’ defense get big stops at key moments as they have in many of their games? Gan the Giants’ offense move the ball and put points up more easily against these relatively poor defenses than they have in most of their games so far?

Rapid Reaction: Frank Reich Becomes the Latest ‘Fall Guy’ for Colts - Stampede Blue
His re-commitment to Carson Wentz in 2021 may have also ultimately done him in, as that now failed trade that saw Indianapolis surrender a 2022 first round pick, only looks worse with Chicago Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields currently surging, who was otherwise realistically available for trade—having fallen to the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and instead landed in the ‘Windy City’ via trade (despite the Colts having initial pre-draft interest). The Colts needed a new voice and perspective (and now turn to newly named interim head coach Jeff Saturday for a fresh set of outsiders’ eyes and further evaluation). It appears that Reich had lost the locker room a bit, as players had not been really held accountable for underperforming and making critical mistakes in games. Instead, it was, “We’ll be better next time out,” but the Colts never actually improved, as the losses kept piling up, while Indianapolis is running out of regular season games to turn it around (and at this time, all signs point towards ‘tanking’ the rest of the 2022 season. A far cry from what Colts fans had hoped for to begin this year). That’s not to say that Reich is solely to blame. There’s some major personnel concerns and underperformance along the team’s starting offensive line. The team has failed to find a suitable long-term replacement at left tackle since Anthony Castonzo’s retirement after the 2020 season, while the team let a pair of impact starting caliber right guards go, Mark Glowinski and Chris Reed, in the hopes that backup center Danny Pinter could be the guy there—and he simply lacks the play strength to effectively block at that starting interior spot.

Chargers-Falcons Recap: Bolts battle back, beat Falcons on walk-off field goal - Bolts From The Blue
Cameron Dicker, the team’s emergency kicker, would bang home the final kick to give the Chargers a 20-17 victory over the Falcons.

Aaron Rodgers sucks, the Packers suck, the front office is scared, and Green Bay is beyond repair - SB Nation
It didn’t have to be this way for the Packers. It really, really didn’t. The experience of being a football fan is appreciating the cyclical nature of the game. One year you’ll be on top, if you’re lucky that will open up to a window, and the hope is that the organization can maximize this window while it exists — before eventually crashing back down and starting the process again. These windows aren’t supposed to stay open for two straight decades. It just doesn’t happen unless you have someone like Tom Brady, or you’re lucky enough to be the Packers who got to bridge from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and sustain success. While it’s obviously important to strike while the iron is hot and make an impact, it’s even more critical to know when the formula isn’t working and pull the rip cord. It’s here where Brian Gutekunst failed Green Bay, and it’s a decision that will haunt this franchise for years to come.

Monday Football Monday #113: Frank Reich fired + NFL Week 9 Action Recap - The SB Nation NFL Show
RJ Ochoa and Pete Sweeney share their initial reactions to Colts’ Head Coach Frank Reich being fired. Bolts from the Blue’s Michael Peterson stops by to discuss Justin Herbert’s struggles, worries about the Chargers making the playoffs and more.


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