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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s defense is really struggling to get off the field

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/5/23.

NFL: DEC 03 49ers at Eagles Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Eagles stats: Defense fails to get off the field on third down; offense stumbles in the red zone - Inquirer
72.7%The high-powered 49ers offense converted 72.7% of its third-down attempts (8-for-11), marking the Eagles defense’s worst third-down performance by percentage of the season. Two of those conversions were for touchdowns, both of which were passes. Outside of their first two drives, the 49ers seldom found themselves in third-and-long situations thanks to their success on first and second down. Now the Eagles defense has allowed the worst third-down conversion percentage in the league at 47.3%. In the team’s last three games, opponents have gone 29-for-50 (58%) on third down. It won’t get any easier Sunday night — the Cowboys offense has the second-best third-down conversion percentage in the league at 48.5%.

6 lies and 6 truths we’ll tell ourselves after the Eagles’ blowout loss to the 49ers - BGN
If you’re not going to call the plays so that you can oversee everything happening on the sidelines, then you need to have more of a feel for the situation than Sirianni showed in the second half. Down 28-13 and facing a long 4th-and-1 inside his own 35, there was absolutely no reason for the Eagles not to go for it. Sure, had they not converted, the Niners would have already been in field goal position and the game would have been over, but one of the defining characteristics of Sirianni’s Eagles is their aggressiveness. They are the bullies. Not only that, the likelihood of the defense getting a stop after the punt in that spot was not great, as nearly everyone online vocalized in real time. But perhaps even worse was Sirianni’s decision to put Jalen Hurts back into the game trailing by three scores after he had just gone into the locker room under the concussion protocol. Even if they weren’t concerned about a concussion, the last half of the 4th quarter should have been Marcus Mariota time. There’s no way D’Andre Swift should have been on the field late in the game to absorb that soul-crunching hit that would have rattled the bones of even the toughest player in the game, especially when he was grossly under-utilized when it actually mattered. And for everyone concerned about the lack of a consistent Eagles’ running game this season, that falls as much on Sirianni as Johnson. Sirianni, as the head of the coaches, is in charge of the gameplan. He’s in charge of the personnel usage. If there’s something happening he doesn’t like, he has the ability, as the sideline CEO, to step in and change something.

At the Podium: Jalen Hurts on Week 13 loss to the 49ers - BGN Radio
Following the Eagles embarrassing loss to the 49ers at home, Jalen Hurts spoke with the Philly media.

Report: Former Colts LB Shaquille Leonard signs with contending Eagles for season’s final stretch - Stampede Blue
The 4x NFL All-Pro was surprisingly released by the Colts in-season a few weeks ago, as he’s been seemingly unable to fully recover physically from two back surgeries and a lingering lower leg nerve issue that’s limited him over the last two seasons. Leonard had been serving in a platoon with E.J. Speed at the Colts ‘Will’ linebacker spot, handling running down duties before being subbed out on obvious passing downs. He was consistently unhappy with his reduced playing time, and the Colts were looking to make a change to Speed full-time regardless—as Leonard would’ve otherwise been a ‘healthy’ inactive going forward, had it not been for his shocking midseason release to provide him a better opportunity elsewhere. Leonard had 65 tackles (34 solo) during 9 starts for the Colts this season. The Eagles have been seeking upgrades in their struggling linebacking corps, and while Leonard presumably isn’t what he once was when he was truly ‘The Maniac,’ he may still be able to help out a contender with his instincts, play-recognition, and unique knack for finding the football. Given the truly great seasons he had with Indianapolis as a special player, as well as the servant leader he was in the community, Colts fans obviously wish him well in Philly going forward.

Dallas Cowboys miss out on free agent LB Shaq Leonard - Blogging The Boys
There are several potential reasons why Leonard chose the Eagles over the Cowboys. It was clear that Leonard wanted to join a contender where he believed he could have an immediate impact. While it would have been a luxury for Dan Quinn to be able to add an experienced linebacker such as Leonard, the emergence of Markquese Bell and Damone Clark at the position doesn’t make it a dire need. For the Eagles however, they need a player who can immediately start for them at the position, and can elevate their defense. Regardless of the reason, it stings for Cowboys fans to see a player publicly choose to play for the Eagles over them. Leonard couldn’t have chose a more intriguing week to make the decision, as the Cowboys host the Eagles on Sunday in a big-time NFC East rematch.

Reviewing the Eagles’ notable in-season acquisitions so far in 2023 - PhillyVoice
That TD aside, Julio Jones has 4 catches on 7 targets for 8 yards, and his snap counts dipped significantly with Watkins’ return to the lineup this past Sunday. When A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert are all healthy, the No. 3 receiver (whoever that may be) doesn’t see many targets in the first place, and Jones now finds himself getting fewer snaps than Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus. He could be a cut candidate if the Eagles need a roster spot at some point.

Shaq Attack - Iggles Blitz
We definitely need some context here. Leonard is a decorated player with an outstanding track record. But the 2023 version is a different guy. After all, there is a reason the Colts were willing to release him. Do not expect Leonard to be a magic elixir. That said, Leonard can help. The Eagles will have him compete with Nick Morrow and Christian Elliss for playing time. The trio might split reps until Zach Cunningham comes back. Cunningham has been the team’s best LB this year. Leonard has to learn the Eagles system before he can play. They might figure out a couple of packages for him. The Eagles definitely want him on the field, but also want to keep expectations realistic. I think that’s why Nick Sirianni referred to this as a “depth move”. As bad as things were on Sunday, that was a worst case scenario. Let’s keep that in mind. The Niners are deadly because they have dynamic skill players and the best scheme in football.

The First Read: Case for/against top 10 NFL MVP candidates; biggest risers and sliders from Week 13 - NFL.com
Why he could win: Hurts had been rolling until that loss to the 49ers on Sunday. He engineered comeback wins against both the Chiefs and Bills, and it’s apparent that the knee injury that plagued him earlier this season is behind him. Hurts has hurt opponents with his arm and his legs, but most importantly, he’s generally been indomitable when his team needs him the most. Last year, he was the runner-up to Patrick Mahomes for MVP. This season, he’s been the most clutch quarterback in football. Why he couldn’t: Hurts would’ve pulled into a strong lead if the Eagles had won that game against San Francisco. Since it ended in surprising fashion — with Hurts leaving briefly for a concussion evaluation and the 49ers winning in a rout — every other serious candidate in this conversation received a boost. It shouldn’t be lost on anybody that Hurts lost his shot at last year’s MVP when he sustained a shoulder injury late in the season. If he gets banged up again at this time of year, that certainly won’t help his cause. Final verdict: Hurts still has a great shot at winning this award despite the loss to San Francisco. This next game against Dallas looms extremely large.

Nick Sirianni changes his tune on Eagles’ lackluster running attack - NBCSP
“We know we have to establish the run game and we have to be better in the run game,” Sirianni said Monday, after the Eagles dropped to 10-2. “We just have things where … there were a couple times where we got behind the sticks. Doesn’t mean you still can’t run in that situation. But we have to be better as coaches devoting ourselves to the run game to take pressure off everybody. So, yeah, as we looked at it yesterday, there is no doubt that we have to do that.” This sure sounded like Sirianni questioning offensive coordinator and play caller Brian Johnson, who has done a lot of good things this year but does seem to have a tendency to drift away from the ground attack if the first few carries don’t produce big yards. Swift ranks seventh in the NFL with 4.7 yards per carry but has just 30 carries in the Eagles’ last three games and now has three games this year with 10 or fewer rushing attempts. On Sunday, Kenny Gainwell played nine more snaps than Swift (39 to 30) and had more scrimmage yards (47 to 27). Gainwell has done some good things at times this year, but Swift is ninth among running backs in scrimmage yards. Gainwell is 55th.

NFL Week 14 Power Rankings 2023: How all 32 teams stack up - ESPN
2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2). Pleasant surprise: ST coach Michael Clay. The Eagles’ special teams group turned from a weakness in 2022 to a strength this season. Philadelphia entered Week 13 with the No. 1 special teams ranking in the NFL, per ESPN’s Football Power Index. Britain Covey is third in punt return average (14 yards per return), Jake Elliott is 6-of-7 on field goal attempts of 50-plus yards, and the coverage units have been sound.

Week 13 DVOA: 49ers Dominating the NFL - FTN Fantasy
The San Francisco 49ers move into the top spot in DVOA this week after a huge victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers rank as the eighth-best team ever tracked by DVOA through 12 games. However, we also still have the Baltimore Ravens super high, much higher than other advanced metrics. In fact, the Ravens are the 11th-best team ever tracked by DVOA through 12 games.

Giants roster move: Matt Barkley waived, making room for Tyrod Taylor - Big Blue View
In what is likely a sign that they expect Tyrod Taylor to be ready to be in uniform next Monday night against the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants have waived veteran backup quarterback Matt Barkley. Taylor, on injured reserve since suffering a rib injury while scrambling during a Week 8 loss to the New York Jets, had his 21-day practice window opened on Monday. The Giants have 21 days to decide where to activate the veteran quarterback or leave him on IR for the remainder of the season. Barkley was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 31 He was added to the 53-man roster Nov. 8, the same day Daniel Jones was placed on IR due to his torn ACL. Barkley did not appear in a game for the Giants.

Our worst NFL predictions of the 2023 season - SB Nation
The Giants win will the NFC East. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I was so dumb. Now look, I’ll defend making that claim before the season began, because it really looked like this team was poised to put it all together to take a big step forward in 2023.

Terry McLaurin is the Washington Commanders’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee - Hogs Haven
Terry McLaurin has been a leader for the Washington Commanders, and a fan favorite for years. He spoke about his desire to change the lives of young people as a rookie, and he has been working towards that goal every year. McLaurin continues to work with the community that has embraced him since being drafted in the 3rd round in 2019. Since then he has been a team captain, a leader on and off the field, and a Pro Bowler who earned a big contract extension earlier this year.

Monday Football Monday #162: Week 13 NFL Recap - The SB Nation NFL Show
RJ Ochoa, Mark Schofield and JP Acosta recap all of Sunday’s Week 13 NFL action.

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