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Eagles News: Philadelphia takes a big leap in ESPN’s future NFL power rankings

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 7/24/22.

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NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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

NFL Future Power Rankings 2022: Projections for all 32 teams for the next three seasons - ESPN+
15. Philadelphia Eagles. Why they’re here: I’m not sure another player impacts how far his team can go this season more than quarterback Jalen Hurts. If Hurts cements his spot as the long-term answer at quarterback, this ranking will look way too low. This roster is really good, head coach Nick Sirianni assimilated into his role right away last year, and GM Howie Roseman is an exceptionally resourceful roster-builder. Biggest worry: Assuming management has the person it wants running the show in Sirianni, the big question/concern is whether the Eagles have the QB who can take advantage of what seems to be a well-constructed offense and a defense that should be much better on all three levels. Following veteran additions and savvy drafting, it now falls on Hurts to shine. Because if he doesn’t, Philadelphia has the draft capital to go get someone else in 2023. What could change for the better: As Field and Louis pointed out, the Eagles have to decide whether Hurts and Sirianni can thrive long term. For all the positives with Hurts — intangibles, toughness and consistent improvement — one question looms: Can he drive the ball downfield consistently enough for Sirianni to run the offense he wants? In flashes, the answer is yes. But in the playoff game vs. Tampa Bay, the answer was a resounding no. Figuring that out over the next 17 games will help Philly chart its QB path. On defense, the Eagles could use safety help, too. Is there perhaps another move coming from Roseman? [BLG Note: The Eagles made a big jump from being 30th in ESPN’s future power rankings last year.]

Don’t sleep on DeVonta Smith - BGN
Everyone is super hyped about A.J. Brown. And rightfully so! He’s proven himself as one of the top NFL players at his position. But is he definitely the best wide receiver on the Eagles’ roster? In terms of established production, you have to give him the nod right now. But do not discount the possibility of Smith being viewed as the 1A to Brown’s 1B by the end of the season. Smith was criminally underutilized as a rookie; that there were 37 players targeted more often than he was is nonsensical. Of course, it didn’t help that the Eagles had the lowest passing play percentage in the NFL. Running the ball was effective for them (especially against lesser teams) but, in the bigger picture, it limited their opportunities to get the ball in the hands of one of their very best players. One would hope the Eagles have learned from not targeting Smith enough. He should benefit from an offense that figures to pass the ball more often (though to what extent exactly is unclear). Smith should also benefit from a more developed rapport with Jalen Hurts. The two were certainly clicking in the one media-attended OTA practice they both participated in. With Brown in the fold, teams won’t be able to always assign their top cornerback to covering Smith. Or, if they do, they’ll live with Brown lined up on a CB2.

Biggest reasons for Eagles optimism in 2022 - BGN Radio
After looking at some of the biggest concerns with the Birds, Brandon Lee Gowton and Jimmy Kempski are back to take things in more positive direction! The guys discuss the top reasons to be excited about this year’s team.

Jalen Hurts heads into 2022 Eagles training camp with the most continuity of his career - PhillyVoice
On the downside, continuity can also sometimes lead to predictability. At the end of the 2022 season, Hurts struggled in the Eagles’ two games against the Giants as well as their playoff matchup against the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers in particular had a plan that frustrated Hurts, making him stay in the pocket, or if he was going to escape, they made sure it was to his left, where he is much less comfortable. Opposing teams now have a full season’s worth of Hurts’ tape and tendencies to figure out how to make life difficult for him, and he’ll have to prove he can adjust. Sirianni acknowledged that opposing defenses’ familiarity with Hurts could be a challenge to overcome. “The other aspect of that is, ‘OK, they know we run this, this and this,’” he said. “And to an extent, teams did late in the year because they had so much film on us.”

In Roob’s Observations: Eagles need more than Hurts for a top passing game - NBCSP
1. The Eagles learned the second half of last season that they could beat a lot of bad teams running the ball more than they threw it. They learned in the playoffs that philosophy doesn’t work against an elite team with a smart defensive coordinator and a 31-point third-quarter lead. The Eagles averaged 31 pass plays per game last year — fewest in the NFL and the Eagles’ fewest since 1992. It was fun while it lasted, but when the Buccaneers forced the Eagles to throw, disaster struck. Jalen Hurts, a 23-year-old making his first postseason appearance, had to throw 43 passes, his most since Week 4, and the passing game just wasn’t evolved to the point where it could function. It wasn’t just Hurts. Jalen Reagor played 53 snaps on offense in that game (and had two yards), which will handcuff any quarterback. But the reality is that the Eagles just didn’t have the sort of high-powered passing game you need to be competitive these days. And that more than anything is what has to change this year. It’s not as simple as “Jalen has to get better.” It goes a lot deeper than that. Play calling has to improve with more variety and more aggressiveness. Pass blocking has to get better — the Eagles were only 14th in sacks allowed per pass attempt last year. Big plays have to increase — only six teams had fewer 30-yard completions last year. A.J. Brown has to play like the star we think he is. And Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith have to keep doing what they did in 2021. With these backs and this offensive line, the running game will still be there when the Eagles need it. And there will be plenty of opportunities for the Eagles to deploy the running attack. But they can’t rely on it, and their ability to develop a big-time passing game is one of the biggest keys to this 2022 season.

Ranking new alternate helmets: Cowboys bring back classic look, Bengals’ white tiger instant hit - CBS Sports
4. Eagles. The Eagles are only wearing the black helmets for one year (before switching to Kelly green), and the franchise was smart by not getting too flashy with this design. All the Eagles did was switch the midnight green helmets to black, with a sleek look and no midnight green outline. The Eagles can wear these with the all-black alternate uniform combination that debuted in 2014 (black jerseys have been worn since 2003). Philadelphia can also wear the helmets with the white jerseys and black pants, as the Eagles wore black pants with the white jerseys for the first time last year. These helmets were made for prime time, even if they are a one-off.

Colts Make a Number of Roster moves on PUP and Active/NFI List Ahead of Training Camp - Stampede Blue
The Indianapolis Colts announced a number of roster moves on Sunday, as the team placed linebacker Darius Leonard, defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis, safety Rodney McLeod, and wide receiver Michael Strachan on preseason or ‘active’ PUP. [BLG Note: Hot Rod is recovering from an injury while entering camp.]

Scouting Jets cornerback Craig James - Gang Green Nation
The Jets already have a core special teamer in Justin Hardee who doesn’t contribute on defense, so if James is going to make the team in addition to Hardee, he probably needs to beat out guys like Rachad Wildgoose and Isaiah Dunn. James probably brings more to the table than Hardee in terms of his ability to contribute on defense, but he’s not on the same level as a special teamer, despite having good potential there. It’s therefore unlikely he would be given a chance to compete for Hardee’s spot, but he could be a useful backup in case Hardee gets injured or something. If he does make the roster, it’s likely James would be active most Sundays. However, if not, there’s a good chance they’ll keep him on the practice squad and activate him when they need special teams reinforcements. [BLG Note: Joe Douglas lands another former Eagle.]

What is considered success for the 2022 Jaguars? - Big Cat Country
Personally for me, I’ll few the Jaguars 2022 season as a success if they’re still alive in the playoff hunt in November. I mean, really alive. I’m not talking about the scenarios where if X team loses to Y team and Z team ties another team on the third Tuesday of December when it’s raining. I’m talking about if they keep winning, they’re in kind of alive. To me, showing you can push for the playoffs in 2022, whether they make it or not, is a successful season.

NFL teams with expensive QBs usually can’t afford great WRs, but the Cowboys are cheating the system - Blogging The Boys
One of the most frustrating moves from the Dallas Cowboys this offseason was trading away Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a measly fifth-round draft pick. Of course, this trade wasn’t about the draft pick the Cowboys received in return but rather getting Cooper’s $20 million base salary off the books. The team now has a quarterback making $40 million annually on average and that can be a little stressful on the cap, so it becomes very important to spend money wisely. While the Cowboys have been criticized for not finding ways to “keep’em all”, it’s worth mentioning that most teams in the NFL handle things in a similar fashion. Teams with a great quarterback and a great wide receiver come to a crossroads when it’s eventually time to pay them both. And that means organizations are forced to make a tough decision, pay the quarterback or pay the receiver? Considering the demand for a quality quarterback is a top priority, that means star receivers who command big contracts could be moved to create more financial flexibility. That sentiment has never been more true than this past offseason when two of the league’s top receivers were traded away. In fact, take a look at the league’s three most expensive wide receivers and how they are no longer with the team that drafted them.

Big Blue View mailbag: Offensive line, UDFAs, more questions - Big Blue View
Gino, what I can tell you is that Will Hernandez finished 58th and Matt Skura 72nd among 85 qualifying tackles last season in pass-blocking efficiency, per Pro Football Focus. Unfortunately, Mark Glowinski was No. 77. Among centers, Billy Price was 26th among 40 qualifying centers. So, yes, there was more pressure up the middle than was ideal. As for Andrew Thomas, as I understand it the hope is that this second surgery will alleviate the long-term concerns. Obviously, though, ankle surgeries in back-to-back years is not ideal. Thomas told the team’s official website that he was “prepared to be ready” for training camp.

Outlining Washington’s Logan Thomas contingency plans - Hogs Haven
Why Cole Turner has an opportunity to cement himself as a viable option for OC Scott Turner and QB Carson Wentz quickly, but also, can Antonio Gandy-Golden make a case too?

Josh Hawley ran 7.2 in the 40 at the January 6 combine - SB Nation
Weird things happen when you’ve covered sports for a long time. It frames your life differently, your world view, and sometimes it even means seeing a man running in a suit and wondering “could he run the 40 faster than Rich Eisen?” I know that’s a very specific example, and for good reason. On Thursday night during the primetime broadcast of the January 6 commission, video of Missouri senator Josh Hawley running through the capitol building to avoid the insurrectionists he saluted shortly before. As a result Hawley became a meme. I’m not here to make jokes. I’ll leave that up to Twitter. I’m here for science. We only have a very short video of Hawley sprinting to go off, but this is my source material, starting at 0:50.

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