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Eagles News: Sean Desai is a “massive upgrade” on Jonathan Gannon

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 10/23/23.

NFL: OCT 22 Dolphins at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Dolphins game - PhillyVoice
1) The ‘Massive Upgrade’ Award : Sean Desai. The Dolphins’ offense is particularly challenging because they have extraordinarily fast skill position players to go along with a quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa who gets the ball out faster than anyone in the NFL. Sean Desai’s gameplan was to make Tagovailoa think for an extra beat or two before he could get rid of the ball, so that the Eagles’ pass rushers would have a chance to exploit mismatches against the Dolphins’ offensive line. “We mixed and disguised coverages, made him be perfect every time,” Darius Slay said. “We were trying to take away his first read, stuff like that, disguising,” said Josh Sweat. “We knew he was going to get it out fast, but once we got up a couple scores we knew we would have a shot to get him to hold onto the ball.” We all realize that if Jonathan Gannon were still the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, he would have deployed some super conservative, predictable soft shell defense that Tagovailoa would have carved up all night, right? Desai has proven early on that he is not going to run a passive defense that good quarterbacks can annihilate at will.

Sean Desai was the MVC — most valuable coach — as the Eagles defense shut down the Dolphins - Inquirer
“You see why we hired him, right?” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said of Desai. “We knew the type of guy we were getting. I just think he’s done a phenomenal job. What I think he’s done such a good job of is what I admire of any coach: Adapting to the personnel that you have.” Desai hasn’t had anywhere close to the personnel he started the season with in the secondary. In each of the Eagles’ seven games, he has had some different variation with his five defensive backs. And because he had to dip far into the depth chart, he often employed rotations at each position.This week, he was without safety Reed Blankenship (ribs) and slot corner Bradley Roby (shoulder). He was already down a safety with Justin Evans sidelined, which meant that backups Terrell Edmunds and rookie Sydney Brown got the start. Converted rookie cornerback Mekhi Garner even played a few series on the back end. In the slot, Desai started Josiah Scott, who was just re-signed to the roster on Tuesday. Scott may be best known by some fans for surrendering a third-and-30 completion last season against the Cowboys, but he gave the Eagles value snaps vs. the Dolphins.

Roob’s Observations: Eagles have huge character win against Dolphins - NBCSP
4. The Eagles’ defense has really been battling this year despite being undermanned every week, and it’s a credit to Sean Desai and his staff that they’ve kept the Eagles in every game despite relying on so many rookies, undrafted players, practice squad call-ups and street pickups. The one thing they haven’t done is create turnovers. Tough way to win. When Darius Slay picked off Tua Tagovailoa early in the fourth quarter Sunday night, the Eagles had gone 161 consecutive plays over parts of five games since their last takeaway – Jalen Carter’s forced fumble on Rachaad White in the third quarter of the Tampa game. That’s what made Slay’s INT so huge. As well as the defense has been playing, you don’t beat a high-flying record-setting offense like the Dolphins if you don’t take the ball away. Slay was covering Jaylen Waddle when he broke off his man and scooted in front of Raheem Mostert at the Eagles’ 1-yard-line and picked up his 28th career interception. His INT and 16-yard return got the Eagles started on a 78-yard TD drive that gave them a 14-point lead. Ballgame. This defense has been very good without takeaways. With them, they’re going to be outstanding.

The Hot Read, Week 7: Lamar Jackson for MVP - The Ringer
Defense of the Year (of the Week): The Philadelphia Eagles. If I knew one thing entering this NFL Sunday, I knew that an Eagles secondary featuring Eli Ricks, Terrell Edmunds, and Sydney Brown would get burned by the Miami Dolphins passing game. There are a few unimpeachable truths in football, and one is that the Dolphins offense doesn’t really stop for anyone, and it certainly doesn’t stop for this group. Well. The Eagles held the Dolphins to only 10 offensive points (their second touchdown, in a 17-31 loss, was scored off a pick-six). That’s the lowest in a game featuring both Mike McDaniel and Tua Tagovailoa. They sacked Tagovailoa on 8.6 percent of his dropbacks (he averages 4.6 percent under McDaniel), held him to an explosive play rate of 5.6 percent on his dropbacks (he averages 11 percent), and held the Dolphins to 52 yards after the catch (they average 114). This was the best game a defense has had against the Miami Dolphins, and it came just three weeks after this same Eagles unit gave up 31 points to the Washington Commanders. What an astonishing performance from Sean Desai’s unit.

After beating the Dolphins, Eagles prove they’re still elite - BGN
There’s no doubt last week’s loss to the Jets in the Big Apple freaked a lot of you out. It was an ugly loss. It was unacceptable. The Eagles lost to a mediocre quarterback in a game in which they committed four turnovers and led with possession of the ball and under two minutes remaining. It confirmed the worst fears of many, that their uneven play in building up a 5-0 record was a house of cards, that the Eagles’ wins were paper thin, and that the entire infrastructure of the 2023 season was about to crash down around them as the most difficult part of their schedule was about to begin. I won’t lie, I felt it, too, which is why Sunday night’s 31-17 victory over the previously 5-1 Dolphins at Kelly Green-splashed Lincoln Financial Field felt so good. Exhale, everyone, because as the Birds showed last night, they’re still among the NFL’s beasts.

BGN Instant Reaction Show - Week 7: Eagles defeat Dolphins, 31-17 - BGN Radio
The Birds are back in the win column! Jess Taylor and John Stolnis share their initial reactions to the Eagles’ statement win over the Miami Dolphins, 31-17.

Nick Sirianni’s response to Eagles ‘Tush Push’ critics is spot on - SB Nation
The idea this play should be banned is ridiculous. Thus far no serious injuries have come from it being run, and honestly it’s Eagles’ center Jason Kelce who’s often on the receiving end of the worst from the Tush Push, as he’s typically on the bottom of the pile with as many as seven or eight players on top of him. A rule change would specifically target one team having success on short yardage in a unique way. If this play was automatic around the NFL and truly balance warping, then maybe there would be a conversation — but calling to ax it is ridiculous.

Eagles Shutdown the Dolphins - Iggles Blitz
Give Sean Desai a ton of credit. He had a back seven that was cobbled together from miscellaneous parts and got them to come up big in a huge game. Desai mixed up his looks and gave Tua some issues. Desai and the defense got a lot of help from the Eagles offense. The Eagles possessed the ball for 36:43. Time of possession can be vastly overrated, but it was important in this game. The Eagles ran 68 plays, Miami only 48. Jalen Hurts was far from perfect. He lost a fumble and threw a pick-six. But Hurts made some big plays and big throws. He finished 23-31-279 with a pair of TDs. He also ran for a TD. Last week Hurts didn’t get help from his guys. That changed. Dallas Goedert was terrific, going 5-77-1. DeVonta 4-49 and had a couple of key catches. AJ was great, going 11-137-1. Hurts hit AJ for a 42-yard play that was a back-breaker late in the game. The defense was fun to watch tonight. Josh Sweat had a pair of sacks and drew a holding call. Haason Reddick had a pair of TFLs. He played the run well and just missed a couple of sacks. Jordan Davis clogged the middle on run plays and also had an impact vs the pass. He shared a sack with Fletcher Cox. He collapsed the pocket on the play where Tua got picked off by Darius Slay. The pass rush affected Tua even when they didn’t sack him.

Week 7: Hurts and Philly push forward; Jackson and Ravens look lethal - FMIA
“Nick comes up to us on the sidelines,” Kelce told me an hour after the game, “and he’s like, ‘What am I thinking?! Get back out there. Let’s do this!’” Jalen Hurts under center. Kelce and four linemates get low. The Dolphins line up three defensive linemen totaling 1,000 pounds, crammed very low within inches of the football. Snap. Hurts gets pushed by two mates from behind, and every Eagle churns legs till the whistle blows. Gain of two. First down. Crisis averted. WIP would have fricasseed Sirianni if the play didn’t work and the Dolphins capitalized on a short field and tied the game. But history is written by the winners. Which, in this case, the Eagles were—31-17 over Miami. And how cool: The two defending conference champs, Philadelphia and Kansas City, are tied for the game’s best record at 6-1. It’s a crazy play. But if you’re good at it, and TruMedia has the Eagles converting 55 of 61 on the sneaks since the start of the 2022 season, you flow with it. No matter how painful the thing is. “Nobody wants to defend that play, quite frankly,” Kelce said, “and for us, it’s not a play that you’re super fired up to run because of how exhausting it is. You’re fired up that—you’re confident in it, but you’re definitely like, ‘Man, this is gonna – ‘ “ Pause. He was going to say, “Man, this is gonna hurt.” But Jason Kelce’s a football player, a physical one who plays in the Physical Football Capital of the World. And so his voice switched, just then.

Eagles Finally Find Their Form in Sunday Night Beating of Dolphins - The Messenger
The Eagles defense played its best game of the year, generating big stuffs in the running game while mostly limiting the Tyreek Hill damage. The offense overcame two Hurts turnovers (a first-quarter fumble set up a Dolphins field goal). The Eagles were charged with zero penalties, though refs allowed their defenders to get a little handsy in coverage. The Brotherly Shove remained unstoppable, and the rest of the running game came through when it mattered. In summary, the Eagles shook off last week’s collapse and looked as good as they have since halftime of last year’s Super Bowl. There are some troubling issues spots (Hurts’ turnovers, mainly), but the Eagles reaffirmed their status as contenders.

2023 NFL season, Week 7: What We Learned from Sunday’s games -
A.J. Brown is a bad man. There was no shortage of intriguing storylines heading into this one. Among them was a showcase of perhaps the NFL’s two top wide receiver tandems: Philadelphia’s Brown and DeVonta Smith, and Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. While Hill certainly had his moments — particularly a gorgeous 27-yard hookup with Tagovailoa for a TD in the second quarter — Brown emerged as the star of the night. First, he hauled in a 32-yard bomb from Hurts, never quitting on the play as Hurts scrambled. He was ruled down at the 1-yard line, and a play later, Hurts pushed in for a second-quarter two-score lead. After the Dolphins tied the game on a Jerome Baker pick-six, Hurts and Brown hooked up again. This time, it was for a 14-yard touchdown in which Brown’s might was on full display when he muscled through a pair of Dolphins defenders for six. Brown’s showing, often emblematic of the Eagles’ physicality overcoming the Dolphins’ speed, saw him finish with 10 receptions for 137 yards. On a night in which all-star skill players dotted the field, Brown was the one who shined brightest.

Jalen Hurts wears leg brace in 2nd half as Eagles top Dolphins - ESPN
“I don’t want to put his business out there, but he’s a tough individual,” receiver A.J. Brown said. “Our style of play, sometimes he scrambles out and may get nicked up,” added right tackle Lane Johnson. “But he does a good job. He never really shows it or complains or anything.” Hurts was late coming out of the tunnel for the second half, and backup Marcus Mariota warmed up on the sideline in his absence, creating some confusion about who would be under center when the offense retook the field. Coach Nick Sirianni, though, said it wasn’t in doubt that Hurts would continue playing. “He played the rest of the game and played at a very high level,” Sirianni said. “I thought he played really outstanding. Man, he is a competitor. There is nobody else I would rather be our quarterback. He played his butt off tonight. He’s tough.”

‘We take everything personal’: Eagles silence Dolphins hype with 31-17 victory, prove to be NFL heavyweights - PHLY
Nick Sirianni strutted into the Eagles’ locker room shouting “Stop doubting the Eagles!” and asking, “Is that pretty enough for you?” Once inside, the players turned up the volume on Dreams and Nightmares. This was not a routine October victory. This one mattered even more. It was a statement game. The Eagles rebounded from their first loss of a season with a convincing 31-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in which they held the NFL’s best offense to one offensive touchdown. They were better on both sides of the ball. They had the more explosive offense. They had the more physical defense. They were the better team. And the rest of the league should take notice, too. The Eagles played like the heavyweights they are. “We take everything personal. No matter, it could be a little team down the street, we take it personal,” veteran defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “That’s our job. You got to play this game with a lot of pride. …We knew they had a really explosive offense. And our job was to slow them down.”

Jason Kelce plans to talk with officials to ensure no mistaken offside calls on tush push - PFT
“I don’t want to speak for the officials, I don’t know, but looking at the jumobtron it certainly didn’t look like Landon was in the neutral zone. I get it, they’re just trying to keep it honest, as much as they can, for the defense,” Kelce said, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. “Now we’ll probably try and stay ahead of this with the officials and just tell them before the game, ‘I’m going to put both of my hands down, so if you see another hand on the other side of the ball, it’s my hand.’” Teams routinely talk to the officials before games about unusual plays just to make sure they’re on the same page about what is legal, and it’s wise of Kelce to do that going forward with a play the Eagles will continue to run, and a play that is rarely stopped unless it’s on a mistake by the officials.

Spadaro: 15 takeaways from the Eagles’ signature win of the season -
1. Want a great answer after a really tough play? The Eagles showed what it was all about late in the third quarter after quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a pass that was intercepted and then returned for a touchdown to tie the game at 17-17. The Eagles drove 75 yards in 8 plays with Hurts completing 5 of 6 passes for 72 yards, the last completion a 14-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown and the Eagles were back in front 24-17. The offense was operating into the wind and the sting from the pick-six was still apparent in the stands – the Eagles had led 17-3 – so that drive showed everything that this team is about – resilience, toughness, explosive, and clutch. Great, great drive.

The Good, Bad & Ugly from the Miami Dolphins Week 7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles - The Phinsider
The league’s highest scoring offense was stymied by a strong defensive unit. The defensive line of the Philadelphia Eagles abused Miami’s banged up offensive line — shutting down the Dolphins’ high octane run game en route to just 45 yards rushing on 12 attempts. The Eagles totaled four sacks in the contest while holding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to just 216 yards passing on the night. The team may not like it. We, as fans, may not like it. However, the Dolphins are going to have to show up and play good ball during one of these big games against a tough opponent if they want to be viewed as serious contenders for a conference crown or a Lombardi Trophy ceremony at season’s end. Sunday night was a failed opportunity to do so, but there are more games left to be played, and more chances for Miami to shift the narrative.

Report: Cowboys aim to extend Dak Prescott this offseason - Blogging The Boys
The Dallas Cowboys know who their quarterback will be for the foreseeable future—Rayne Dakota Prescott. Entering his eighth season in a Cowboys uniform, Prescott will finish 2023 with one year left on the four-year extension he signed in 2021. Unfortunately for the front office, that final year comes at a high cost. On his current deal, Prescott will have almost a $60 million hit against the 2024 salary cap. NFL Insider Diana Russini of The Athletic says the Cowboys see a new contract extension with their franchise signal-caller could be the solution.

Regardless of the circumstances, the grace period for Eric Bieniemy has come to an abrupt end - Hogs Haven
The grace period for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has come to an abrupt end for several reasons. It’s not all on him, some of the circumstances that he is dealing with currently, had much to do with Rivera’s off-season decisions to not thoroughly evaluate the offensive line and quarterback position heading into a critical juncture with new ownership in place. Nevertheless, with the Commanders now having been shut out in the first half a second time this season, Washington is averaging just eight points in the first half of games this season. 21 of the Commanders 40 allowed sacks occurred in the first half of games, too. Washington has faced 85 third downs this year but has converted on just 29 percent of them, which ranks 31st in the NFL.

Giants-Commanders ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’: Can the Giants play Washington every week? - Big Blue View
Tyrod Taylor — I will believe the Giants have a quarterback controversy when coach Brian Daboll clearly says he hasn’t decided who the team’s starter should be — which he has not done. Daboll, though, did not completely dismiss the idea on Sunday night of Taylor starting instead of Daniel Jones. Taylor gave Daboll food for thought with a clean 18-of-29, 279-yard, two-touchdown performance. That’s the best full game played by a Giants’ quarterback this season. For what it’s worth, in my view Jones remains the best option for the Giants at quarterback for many reasons I am not going to get into now. Still, Taylor deserves props for delivering on Sunday.


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