Thoughts on Jalen Hurts’ diminished numbers as a running back, Carson Wentz’s crazy stats and Nick Sirianni crossing a rare coaching hurdle.
Here are 10 random observations for the Eagles as the Eagles attempt to become only the eighth team in the last 40 years to open the season 4-0 after losing the Super Bowl the previous year.
1. Jalen Hurts’ rushing numbers are down – from 5.6 yards per carry in 2020 and 2021 to 4.6 last year to 3.2 this year. Cause of concern? I really don’t think so. A few things: First, if you remove the bowing and maintaining the number 3Research and development– Or 4y-and-1 – plays not designed to pick up large yards – average damage rises from 3.2 to 4.6. Two metrics suggest he was actually as effective — perhaps more effective — than he had been in years past as a runner. First of all, he recorded first downs on 14 of his 31 rushing attempts — or 45 percent. (Remember that landings are considered first landings regardless of landing and distance.) For comparison’s sake, the damage rate was 33 percent in 2020, 42 percent in 2021, and 39 percent last year. His home run success rate is also higher than his career average. The run success rate measures the percentage of runs in which a back meets specific criteria — 40 percent of the yards needed for a first down (or downs) on first downs, 60 percent on second downs or 100 percent on third and fourth downs. Hurts had a success rate of 58.9 from 2020 through 2022 but is at 61.3 percent this year. What all of this means is that Hurts isn’t getting the big yards he has the last few years — he had 68 runs of at least 10 yards in his first three years (19 percent of his rushing attempts) and has just one this year (3 percent of His hasty attempts. But he became a more efficient and intelligent runner. TD pass to Olamade Zaccheaus on Monday night, he could have run for 12 yards and his rushing stats would look better. But you’ll take a 34-yard TD pass on a 12-yard run any day. This appears to be the approach Hertz has taken so far this year. It’s a good idea.
2. Jake Elliott is 6-for-7 as an Eagle on field goal attempts of 56 yards or more. Every other player in Eagles history is 2-for-25.
3. The highest passer rating in Eagles playoff history does not belong to Jalen Hurts or Nick Foles. It belongs to Rodney Peete, who completed 17 of 25 passes for 270 yards in a 58-37 win over the Lions at the Vet in 1995 with three TDs, no INTs and a 143.3 rating. But what is most surprising about this performance is what preceded it. Pitt was terrible down the stretch. Just terrible. In his final five starts before that wild-card game, he threw two touchdowns and eight interceptions. His 57.1 passer rating during that stretch was 2Second abbreviation-Worst in the NFL (ahead of only Kerry Collins). It was horrible. He remains the only Eagles QB in the last 38 years with two or fewer TDs and eight or more INTs in any five-game stretch. But with Randall Cunningham still on the bench, the Eagles had no options. The third QB was Jay Fiedler, at the time an undrafted rookie out of Dartmouth. So Pitt started against the Lions and came out and scored what was at the time 7y-Highest passer rating in NFL Postseason history (and still 15thy-the above). Absolute madness. Thank you, Lomas Brown.
4. Sam Howell on Sunday will become 10thy Different Washington quarterbacks to face the Eagles in their last 12 games. Top nine: Kirk Cousins in 2017, Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson in 2018, Case Keenum and the late Dwayne Haskins in 2019, Alex Smith and Haskins in 2020, Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke in 2021, Carson Wentz and Heinicke in 2022. Last Washington QB to start against the Eagles twice Cousins had one season in 2017.
5. Jalen Hurts’ encouraging passing stats: In the first two weeks of the season, Hurts completed just three passes of at least 20 yards, 27y– Most in the league during that period. Last week in Tampa, he completed five passes of at least 20 yards, 3Research and development-Most in the league in Week 3. Hurts’ yards per completion were 9.1 in the first two weeks but 12.0 on Monday night, the same as his career average. Other than the two interceptions — one of which was a miscommunication and the other of which was a great play on a corner kick (and perhaps DeVonta Smith could have been more aggressive on the ball) — Hurts did a lot of encouraging things against Tampa. The numbers may not look pretty because of the AI, but I like the way it played.
6. D’Andre Swift’s 308 yards is 5y-The most in Eagles history in the first three weeks of the season. Which is incredible considering he only had one carry on opening day. The only Eagles’ running backs with more receiving yards through Week 3 are LeSean McCoy in 2013 (395) and 2011 (346) and Wilbert Montgomery in 1981 (346) and 1980 (327). Given that Swift spent three years with the Lions, it’s easy to forget how young he is, but Swift is only 24 years old. If he continues to play at this high level, it will be interesting to see if Howie Roseman breaks tradition and tries to retain Swift. Roseman insists he is not philosophically opposed to signing long-term deals, but he never does. Swift doesn’t have much wear on his tires – he averaged just 9.1 carries per game with the Lions. He is only two months older than Kenny Gainwell. If this continues? I can see a scenario where Roseman actually tries to continue to pull back. Why doesn’t he do that?
7. With Sidney Brown and Justin Evans both out injured — Brown with a hammer blow, and Evans with a neck injury — the Eagles are down to just Terrell Edmunds and Reed Blankenship among healthy safeties. Brown will miss Sunday’s game and Evans is questionable and can play. Since Brown was operating in the slot Monday night in Tampa before getting injured, they also only had James Bradberry and Mario Goodrich in the slot. And the Eagles don’t want him exclusively in the slot. The Eagles don’t have a lot of options, but one interesting scenario to me is Mekhi Garner, the undrafted rookie out of LSU who is currently on the practice squad. Garner spent training camp playing corner, but at 6-2, 210 pounds, he has great size and with his frame, strength, ability and willingness to stop the run, Garner certainly has the attributes of a safety (or slot). Honestly, it feels more like a safe place than a corner. The Eagles have a logjam at corner but Garner has had a solid summer and I’d like to see him get some work at safety. I think safety might be Garner’s best path to the 53-man roster, if not this year then in the future.
8. The combination of the Eagles’ win over the Buccaneers on Monday and the Packers’ loss to the Lions on Thursday means Nick Sirianni now has the highest winning percentage among NFL coaches. Matt LaFleur dropped from .710 to .700 with the loss to Detroit, and Sirianni improved from .694 to .703 with the win in Tampa. The next few people on that list are Bill Belichick (.660), Kevin O’Connell (.650), Andy Reid (.641), Sean McDermott (.640), and Mike Tomlin (.636). Among those who have coached for more than two years, the only head coaches in NFL history with a higher winning percentage than Sirianni are Hall of Famers Guy Chamberlin (.784), John Madden (.759), and Vince Lombardi (.738). George Allen (.712) and Ralph Jones (.706). Chamberlain and Jones coached in the 1920s and 1930s. If the Eagles win their next 15 games, Sirianni will move past Chamberlain and move into the lead.
9. Dallas Goedert has 63 receiving yards in three games. He had no extension Two matches with 63 yards or fewer since 2020. In his first two games after coming off Injured Reserve in October 2020, he had 15 yards against the Cowboys and 33 yards against the Giants. You know he expected a lot more in the receiving game than 63 yards during Week 3. Especially after he averaged 59 yards per game last year, 2Second abbreviation-Highest in the league. Goedert had his eyes on his first Pro Bowl and his first 1,000-yard season. He can still achieve those goals. But even though his receiving stats aren’t great, he’s a back end and one of the main reasons the Eagles are averaging 186 receiving yards per game. This is one of the main reasons why they are 3-0 ahead. And Goedert is genuinely happy no matter how many catches he gets if the Eagles win and he’s contributing in any way. Make sure you never hear him complain about catches or goals. Goedert is a professional.
10. Even though he sat on the bench in 2020, started just seven games last year and was out of the league this year, Carson Wentz still scored 12 goals.y-Most touchdown passes in the NFL since 2017.
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