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Eagles News: ESPN ranks Philadelphia as the most frustrating NFL team to watch

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/29/23.

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New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

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

Most frustrating NFL teams to watch in 2023: Ranking the top 10 - ESPN+
1) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES. The offensive issues have been simplified to a credo we’ve heard since the beginning of the Reid era: Run the ball more. Fans actually cheered a handoff in the second half of the Giants game after being frustrated by pass after pass. When you consider the Eagles have gone from running the ball 48.7% of the time a year ago to 46.3% this season, there appears to be some merit to the idea they have gotten away from running the football. The only problem is that Philadelphia wasn’t as run-happy of a team as it seemed. The 2022 Eagles ran the ball a ton, but that was mostly late in games when they were ahead by multiple scores. On early downs in neutral game scripts, they threw the ball 58.8% of the time, which was the sixth-highest rate. This season, they’re throwing the ball 59.7% of the time in those same spots, which is the fifth-highest rate. The difference in the rushing rate mostly comes after halftime, and that’s a product of the Eagles playing closer games. Last season’s team led by an average of 8.7 points after three quarters, and so they were running to chew up clock. The 2022 Eagles ran the ball on 66.4% of their snaps in the fourth quarter. The 2023 Eagles aren’t so lucky. Their average lead heading into the fourth quarter has been by just over two points, and so they throw to try and extend their lead. This team is only running the ball 51.8% of the time in the fourth quarter. You can argue they should run the ball more in neutral scripts, but they haven’t gotten away from the offensive philosophy that helped them thrive a year ago. Because the defense has been porous for most of the season, that philosophy has produced less impactful results. This seemingly comes to a head on a weekly basis, where Eagles fans hope to see the 2022 team and see a particularly frustrating impersonation for drives or quarters of time. While acknowledging that two regular-season wins are likely on the horizon, I’m not sure major schematic or stylistic changes will happen until 2024. Plenty of fan bases would love to be in the position the Eagles enjoy right now. It’s a testament to how good the 2022 team was — and how unrelenting Philadelphia fans are in their quest for success — that supporters seem almost disgusted to be the second-best team in the NFC.

Eagles-Giants film analysis: Lots of positives but why can’t the Birds deal with the blitz? - BGN
There was so much positive stuff to look at this week, so it was a little bit of a shame to see the same issues against the blitz. The Eagles did make some changes earlier on in the season and did run some hot routes, so I know that they can do it, and I want to see some of these changes in week 18 when they play the Giants again.

On the Shane Page #11: Offensive and defensive takeaways from Eagles Week 16 win vs. Giants - BGN Radio
Shane Haff and Jonny Page share their offensive and defensive takeaways from the Eagles Week 16 win against the Giants.

NFL Week 17 playoff and elimination scenarios - SB Nation
Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles can lock up the NFC East this weekend, becoming the first team in the division to win back-to-back titles since Philadelphia did it in 2004. They have two different path: An Eagles win and a Cowboys loss or tie to the Detroit Lions ... OR ... an Eagles tie and a Cowboys loss.

Game Review – PHI 33, NYG 25 - Iggles Blitz
Brian Johnson and Sirianni did make some changes to the offense. They ran more pistol than usual. They used more motion. That could have been done as a counter-measure to all the Giants blitzing. Or maybe the coaches just wanted to mix in more motion. They used more 12 personnel than recent weeks and even mixed in some 13 personnel looks. The coaches also spread the ball around more on offense. The biggest complaint with the offense is how they handled the blitz. The Eagles had downfield routes a lot of the time. Hurts didn’t have time to get the ball to those receivers. There were a couple of passes to RBs in the middle of the game. That was a good adjustment. Unfortunately they went back to the downfield routes after that. The coaches need to work on this.

Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread - The Ringer
There was a good piece this week by Tim McManus and Josh Weinfuss on ESPN.com about Jonathan Gannon’s awkward exit from the Eagles last offseason. One big takeaway from their reporting: The Eagles really feel like they would have had Vic Fangio as their defensive coordinator had Gannon been more transparent about taking the Cardinals job after the Super Bowl. Instead, they hired Sean Desai, and Desai has now effectively been replaced by Matt Patricia. Not a great outcome! The good news for the Eagles here is that they are relatively healthy, and against inferior opponents, they’re going to have a significant talent advantage. The Cardinals, meanwhile, own the NFL’s second-worst record at 3-12, and Gannon’s defense is the worst in the NFL. I don’t feel good about trusting the Eagles, but I think they’re going to light up the scoreboard in this one. The pick: Eagles (-10.5).

NFL Week 17 Preview: Fantasy football advice, betting tips and matchups to watch - PFF
Favorite bet: Eagles -10.5. The last time the Eagles won a game by double-digits was in Week 3 when they defeated the Buccaneers 25-11. But that will change in Week 17, as the talent differential here is massive. Look for the Eagles to get plenty of pressure on Kyler Murray and for their defense to step up in a big way.

NFL QB Index, Week 17: Patrick Mahomes, Brock Purdy tumble; Tua Tagovailoa back at No. 1 - NFL.com
6) Jalen Hurts. This was the get-back game Hurts desperately needed. It wasn’t perfect, of course – he threw a pick-six that was caused at least partially by Dallas Goedert falling down – but for the first time in a while, Hurts and the Eagles executed in a fashion that defined their 2022 run to the Super Bowl. A touchdown drive that ended in a 36-yard connection to DeVonta Smith was a perfect example of how this group can perform when everything is working properly, starting with a nice Hurts gain on a designed run, and ending in a beautifully executed pass over the middle to the speedy Smith for six. Hurts made some magic, too, recovering a high snap to complete a pass to Grant Calcaterra for a first down, and evading the rush to deliver an on-the-run rocket over a defender to A.J. Brown for a key first down on a drive that ended in a D’Andre Swift touchdown. This is what the Eagles can be when they clean things up. We’ll see if it’s a sign of things to come.

Spadaro: Root for the Cowboys this weekend? - PE.com
The scenario plays out for the Eagles this way as they eye the highest possible seed in the NFC postseason: A Dallas win over Detroit on Saturday night would aid the Eagles, as would Washington defeating San Francisco on Sunday. Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Detroit all have 11-4 records with the 49ers currently holding the advantage in the race for the No. 1 seed, a bye week entering the postseason, and home-field advantage throughout. All of that is subject to change, of course, in this wild and woolly conference playoff picture. “We’re just worried about taking care of what we can control, and that means having a great day of practice and going out on Sunday and beating the Cardinals,” safety Reed Blankenship said. “All that other stuff, I don’t think anybody is thinking about that. That’s for the fans and the media to talk about.” It sure is, and everyone sure is. And Blankenship is correct: The Eagles should only be focusing on this Sunday’s game against the 3-12 Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field, and after that, a road game at the Giants to close out the regular season. If the Eagles take care of their business, they’ll win the NFC East for a second straight season – there has been no repeat winner in the NFC East since the Eagles did it from 2001 through 2004 – and then, well, this is where it gets interesting. A Dallas win over Detroit on Saturday night would give the Eagles the inside track on the No. 2 seed in the conference, and a Washington win on Sunday over San Francisco would put the Eagles one victory away from that coveted No. 1 seed.

Cardinals to place Marquise Brown on injured reserve - PFT
Cardinals receiver Marquise Brown has been battling a heel injury throughout the season and Arizona has elected to shut him down. Via multiple reporters, head coach Jonathan Gannon said in his Friday press conference that the Cardinals will place Brown on injured reserve. In 14 games this season, Brown caught 51 passes for 574 yards with four touchdowns.

Bright spots on the Arizona Cardinals offense - Revenge Of The Birds
It’s tough to judge Kyler as a passer this season—he’s coming back from injury, is acclimating to a new system, has a poor O-line in front of him, and has one of the worst WR rooms in the league. Let’s bulk up the line and give him someone like Marvin Harrison Jr. to throw to before we rush to judgment. But he has laid to rest any concerns about whether his rushing/mobility would be compromised after his ACL tear. He has 187 yards rushing since coming back (5.5 YPC) and 3 TDs, in addition to the plus PFF grade. He looks pretty spry out there, so Cardinals fans can at least be encouraged about that.

Cowboys injury report: Tyron Smith questionable, Rico Dowdle ruled out - Blogging The Boys
Smith is listed as questionable on this week’s final injury report. Zack Martin was downgraded to DNP yesterday for rest but has been removed from the injury report. Hunter Leupke and Malik Hooker were listed as full participants Thursday and and have no injury designation heading into this week’s game. Meanwhile, Rico Dowdle did not practice yesterday and was ultimately ruled out. Surely the Cowboys will call up Malik Davis for Saturday. Jonathan Hankins was also ruled out.

Giants’ real QB question isn’t about Tyrod Taylor or Tommy DeVito - Big Blue View
So, who’s next? Please don’t tell me Russell Wilson or Justin Fields. Wilson will be 36 next season, isn’t the player he once was, and makes no sense for a young, building team. Fields? Why would you trade for a player who hasn’t yet answered the question of whether or not he is a legitimate NFL quarterback? Especially when he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and you will almost immediately face major financial decisions with him? If you are going to start over, do so with the four- to five-year runway of a quarterback at the beginning of a rookie contract. To me, it is clear that the potential long-term answer has to come from the 2024 NFL Draft. If you are within range to get one of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels you probably have to do that if you’re the Giants. If you can’t, or choose not to, grab one of those players it seems like the Giants have to look at the second tier of quarterbacks in the 2024 draft class — J.J. McCarthy of Michigan, Michael Penix Jr. of Washington and Bo Nix of Oregon — and figure out how to make one of those players a Giant. That is a much bigger, and more important question than whether Taylor or DeVito should be playing in these final two insignificant games.

Commanders vs 49ers Thursday Injury Report: Brian Robinson is limited in practice again - Hogs Haven
The Washington Commanders are coming off a loss to the New York Jets. They have two more games left in the season. Next up is a home game against the San Francisco 49ers. Ron Rivera named Jacoby Brissett the starting QB, benching Sam Howell yesterday. Washington also announced several roster moves this morning. Rookie RB Chris Rodriguez, Jr. was placed on injured reserve after injuring his ankle last week. LB De’Jon Harris returned to practice yesterday, and he was activated off of injured reserve today.

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