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Eagles News: Updated NFL quarterback rankings have Jalen Hurts in second place

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 9/29/22.

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Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Commanders Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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NFL QB Index, Week 4: Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson coming for No. 1 spot; Russell Wilson tumbles -
QB2) Jalen Hurts. The rapid rise of Hurts — two years removed from running the scout team — is my favorite development of the young NFL campaign. With Jalen at the motherboard against the Commanders on Sunday, Philly scattered Washington’s defense for 24 points and 322 total yards ... by halftime. His exploits on the ground are noted, but Hurts ascended this list thanks to a pair of on-field lashings with his arm. I love the nature of this missile to DeVonta Smith. Hurts shows complete trust in his receiver nestled between defenders — and total confidence in his own ability to deliver. With A.J. Brown creating equal chaos downfield, I’ll ask the same question my colleague Baldy asked: Is Jalen suddenly the best deep passer in the NFL? He has competition, but his heightened play has the Eagles rolling as Super Bowl material on both sides of the ball.

Eagles All-22 Film Review: Takeaways from the win over the Commanders - BGN
This was the most aggressive was passing attack I’ve seen in a long, long time. We continue to see the Eagles take advantage of Jalen Hurts’ mobility with a lot of package plays/read option/RPOs to keep the offense ticking along, but I’m not going to focus on these plays too much as other things stood out more. I thought there were two areas of this game that really stood out to me. Firstly, the use of empty formations. Secondly, the aggression that Hurts showed vs. single high coverage and the trust they put in their wide receivers. The Eagles have two extremely good receivers and they trusted them to win in one on one situations. This was the best game I can think of for two Eagles starting wide receivers for a long time. Before we get into any clips, I just want to ask you all to watch the Eagles pass protection in these clips. The offensive line was phenomenal. The pockets they gave Hurts at times were almost laughable. You can’t help but smile a bit when you realize how jealous Carson Wentz would have been on the other sideline... (sorry Carson). Let’s start with empty. Empty formations are fantastic if you have offensive linemen who can hold up in pass protection in one on one matchups, wide receivers who can get off press coverage and a quarterback who can beat free rushers if a defender gets through quickly. The Eagles tick all 3 boxes and they are excelling in empty right now. Empty makes it pretty impossible for the defense to hide what they want to do and it makes it an easier read for a quarterback. Let’s look at some examples. This one highlights how easy empty makes the read for the quarterback as defenses can’t disguise coverage at all.

NFC East Vol.76: The NFC East is the NFC Beast - BGN Radio
RJ Ochoa and Brandon Lee Gowton discuss all of the Week 3 division action, give out two new awards and preview Week 4.

Game Review – PHI 24, WAS 8 - Iggles Blitz
Jalen Hurts is playing at a very high level right now. He played the best game of his career against Minnesota and then followed that up with another outstanding performance. Hurts was 22-35-340. He threw 3 TDs and didn’t turn the ball over. He ran for just 20 yards. Give Washington credit for shutting down that part of his game. Fortunately, they couldn’t contain him as a passer. Hurts went deep a lot in this game. He hit DeVonta for gains of 44 and 45 yards. Brown hauled in a 38-yard pass down the left sideline. Hurts threw a pair of deep balls to Quez Watkins. Both were incomplete, but drew PI calls of 23 and 17 yards. It was great to see the long completions, but Hurts needs to be more accurate. Smith went up to make a highlight catch on the gain of 44. He underthrew Brown on the deep ball, but AJ fought through contact and made the catch. That might have been a TD with a better throw. Hurts was off target on throws to DeVonta and Brown in the 2nd half. Both should have been TDs.

A closer look at new Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick’s usage in Jonathan Gannon’s scheme - Inquirer
But getting to the quarterback is paramount and why Reddick is paid the big bucks. Even with Sunday’s production, the smaller-sized edge rusher needs to be more consistent with his moves. Here’s a closer look at film of his rushes and of the various other ways he’s been employed thus far:

NFL Week 4 Picks Against the Spread - The Ringer
The Eagles continue to come out and just jump on their opponents every week. They have outgained opponents by 652 yards in the first half of their first three games. No other team is at more than plus-324. Small sample? Sure. But maybe a sign of good coaching as well. Speaking of good coaching, Doug Pederson has the Jaguars rolling. They moved the ball efficiently all game long last week against the Jaguars. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has the seventh-fastest time to throw in the NFL, according to Next Gen Stats. He has consistently looked comfortable taking what the defense has given him, but is also using his natural ability to make second-reaction plays. The battle between the Jaguars’ defensive line and the Eagles’ offensive line will be fun to watch. It’s possible that the Eagles are just really, really good and are going to continue to steamroll their opponents. But I really like what I’ve seen from this Jaguars team. This feels like a close game. The pick: Jaguars (+6.5)

NFL picks against the spread: Vic Tafur’s Week 4 predictions - The Athletic
The Jaguars are good at stopping the run, but nobody is stopping Jalen Hurts this season. He is relentless and has 916 yards passing, 167 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, and one can only imagine what his numbers would be if the Eagles didn’t get out to huge leads every week and hit cruise control. The Jaguars’ defense, meanwhile, still gives up too many big plays. Jacksonville opponents have averaged 8.38 yards to go on third down — most in the NFL — yet somehow its defense ranks 21st in third-down conversion rate (42.4 percent). There might be some line value here, as the Jaguars are coming off a big win on the road against a hobbled Chargers team that kept losing bodies as the game went on. Trevor Lawrence is much improved this season, but I think Doug Pederson will have some tricks up his sleeve for his former team. I like the backdoor cover. The pick: Jaguars (+6.5)

Takeaways from ESPN Receiver Tracking Metrics: Who leads rankings - ESPN
Brown, 25, has been elite in two of the three categories in his career. In addition to being one of just three players to record a 99 Open Score in a season since 2017, he also has the second-highest ever YAC Score in a season, a 97 in 2019. Why did Brown put up just 869 yards last season? His Catch Score was poor (33), while Tennessee was a run-first team and he missed four games due to injuries. Should the Eagles be alarmed by Brown’s Catch Score? Not particularly. For starters, getting open is the most important attribute, and it’s also the most stable. In other words, we can be more confident in Brown’s ability to get open being excellent than his catch rate over expectation being below average. Plus, Brown’s Catch Scores the two prior seasons were 63 and 53, respectively.

2 defenses to start, 2 D/STs to fade in Week 4 fantasy football - DraftKings Nation
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are 3-0 and are arguably the favorites in the NFC through three weeks, led by their offense which ranks fifth in points per game (28.7). Jacksonville’s defense is surprisingly ranked third in fantasy points per game (12.0), but Week 4 feels like the game in which they’re tested against a contender at full strength. Jalen Hurts is leading the Eagles’ offense to new heights, which means it should come at the expense of Jacksonville’s defense this Sunday.

A hidden advantage of rotating defensive linemen for Eagles - NBCSP
“Any time you relay information with each other it gives you a little edge,” Jordan Davis said. “We’re all trying to figure out any tendencies, anything to do with the snap call, the way the offensive line is set, anything like that. “Because it’s football and each week is going to be different and what you see on the field might not be the same thing that you saw on film, so you get those little tips and pointers, and when it’s your turn to go out there you feel a little bit more prepared for what you’re going to see.” Edge rushers Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick have played the most snaps out of this group – both have played 131 snaps, or 63 percent of the Eagles’ defensive plays. Javon Hargrave (57 percent), Fletcher Cox (56 percent), Milton Williams (45 percent), Graham (41 percent), Marlon Tuipulotu (39 percent), Davis (32 percent) and Patrick Johnson (23 percent) are also in the regular rotation. Don’t be surprised if Tarron Jackson (7 percent so far) sees his snaps increase as well, now that Derek Barnett is out for the year. This is a very close-knit group and a very unselfish group. It has to be for everybody to willingly give up snaps to their teammates without complaining. But they all make the most of it by helping each other out as much as possible.

Grant Calcaterra: ‘All of that hard work paid off for me’ -
He knew the play was designed to go his way when the huddle broke, so Grant Calcaterra felt a little something extra on the opening play of third quarter of Sunday’s game at FedEx Field. Calcaterra lined up on the left side of the formation and ran a crossing route, turned, and saw Jalen Hurts’ pass thrown perfectly. Calcaterra made the catch, made a man miss, and turned upfield for another big chunk of yardage. Welcome to the NFL, kid. First-and-10 after that 40-yard gain. “It was super exciting,” Calcaterra said on Wednesday from his NovaCare Complex locker. “Obviously, before the play, I knew the play call and I was just kind of going out there and doing my job. It was a big catch and I was able to make a guy miss. That being my first one, it was exciting and afterwards I was pretty psyched. I smacked Coach (Nick) Sirianni’s hand pretty hard, so yeah, it was a lot of fun.” A sixth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Calcaterra dressed for the first time on Sunday and he made the most of his 17 offensive snaps. Given everything that Calcaterra has been through in his football playing career – stepping away from the game after three seasons at Oklahoma due to a series of concussions only to return to play at SMU in 2021 – and then to work his way into the NFL Draft, only to suffer a hamstring injury in his first Training Camp, he was going to realize the significance of the moment.

As shootings continue, Jalen Hurts “prays for change” - PFT
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who has spoken out about gun violence in the past, addressed the topic again on Wednesday, given that a shooting at a local high school football scrimmage left a 14-year-old boy dead and three others injured. “It’s very sad,” an emotional Hurts said, via Josh Tolentino of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Kids are doing what they love in a place where it’s supposed to be safe, where we say, ‘Go chase your dreams.’ They’re out there playing football, and they don’t make it home. It’s just very unfortunate. I’m praying for the families. I pray for change.”

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence named AFC Offensive Player of the Week - Big Cat Country
Through three games this season, Lawrence has completed 77 out of 111 passes (69.4 percent) for 772 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception. He also has a quarterback rating of 103.1. Under the tutelage of head coach Doug Pederson, Lawrence has been blossoming into a star, and is showing off the skill set that made him one of the most highly-touted quarterback prospects to ever enter the NFL.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy may be saving his job - Blogging The Boys
It has been both exciting and surprising to see the way that the Dallas Cowboys have responded to Dak Prescott’s absence after his hand injury. With Cooper Rush behind center, an offensive line that has come together much faster than expected, and a defense that has been everything we hoped and maybe a little more, they have strung together two wins and remained in the thick of the race to win the NFC East. Many players are getting praise for the way they have stepped up. Dan Quinn remains highly regarded, and Kellen Moore came in for some deserved praise after the way the offense came to life in the second half against the New York Giants. But quietly, another important member of the organization has taken steps to silence some critics and cool off what was considered a very hot seat since the end of last season. Head coach Mike McCarthy may be in the process of saving his job. The stretch of games without his starting quarterback, however soon it ends, is the strongest argument possible that McCarthy is a better head coach than almost anyone gives him credit for being. Keeping a franchise competitive without your QB1 is one of the most difficult things to do in the NFL. It requires an ability to adapt and adjust, as well as having built a strong roster around the backup to ease the load. In past seasons, we saw the Cowboys flounder when the starting QB was out. Now, things have changed.

Commanders vs Cowboys Wednesday Injury Report: The offensive line continues to deal with injuries - Hogs Haven
Two players didn’t practice today. Head Coach Ron Rivera said that starting left tackle Charles Leno came in with a sore shoulder yesterday and they gave him a vet rest day. C/G Wes Schweitzer is in the concussion protocol. He missed Week 2 with a hamstring injury, then came back last week to replace Chase Roullier(knee) at center. If Schweitzer isn’t cleared for Sunday’s gam against the Cowboys, veteran center Nick Martin will likely start after signing with the team 8 days ago.

Giants-Bears, Week 4: 5 storylines to follow this week - Big Blue View
Sunday’s game features two of the most anemic passing attacks in the NFL. So, don’t expect a high-scoring offensive shootout. The Bears are last in the NFL averaging an unbelievable 78.3 yards passing per game. Justin Fields’ season-high in passing yards is 105, and that is the only time this season he has reached 100 yards. Through three games, Fields has attempted just 45 passes and completed only 23. Two teams, the New York Jets (52.7) and Arizona Cardinals (48.3) are averaging more than 45 pass attempts per game. The Giants are trying to throw the ball (30.7 attempts per game, 25th overall). It’s just that quarterback Daniel Jones is ending up running with it way too often. Jones is averaging 8.3 rushing attempts per game, many of those just running for his life to escape pass rushers. Jones averages 4.8 rushes per game for his career. The Giants (162.3) are 30th in the league in passing yards per game, and Jones has yet to reach the 200-yard mark this season. If either team can get just a couple of explosive passing plays on Sunday that could go a long way toward determining the outcome.

Chargers sign WR John Hightower to practice squad - Bolts From The Blue
On Wednesday morning, the Chargers announced the signing of wide receiver John Hightower to the practice squad. The move comes after the team signed outside linebacker Derek Tuszka on Tuesday to help replace the losses of both Jalen Guyton and Joey Bosa, respectively. Hightower played collegiately at Boise State University before being selected by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft.

What Evan Neal can learn from his rough MNF Giants debut - SB Nation
Overall, I think one thing can be learned from Neal’s performance: the NFL is really hard, especially at lineman. As media members and fans of the sport, people are raising their standard based on the absurd play we’ve gotten from rookies such as Rashawn Slater and Tristan Wirfs. Neal had a rough game, but there’s precedent for his improvement over time, and it comes from his teammate: LT Andrew Thomas. Thomas had a rough start to his career. In 2020, his Blown Block rate was 4.8 percent, fourth highest among all left tackles with a minimum of 100 snaps. That number dropped drastically to 2.5 percent in 2021, and this year he’s among the bright young stars at the position. Sometimes, it takes time for everything to click, and that patience needed for Thomas is what Giants fans will need for Evan Neal throughout his rookie year.

Charles McDonald of Yahoo Sports, & The Gauntlet Game of the Week - The SB Nation NFL Show
This week on the SB Nation NFL Show, Rob “Stats” Guerrera, Kyle Posey, and Justis Mosqueda discuss the biggest matchups coming up in Week 4. Also, Stats sits down with NFL writer from Yahoo Sports Charles McDonald to discuss an interesting pole he posted the other day–and whether he really believes in the Miami Dolphins. We wrap things up with this week’s gauntlet to decide which big-time game in Week 4 is actually the best on the schedule.


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