Eagles’ Sirianni uses Tiger Woods to motivate team

There’s only one undefeated team in the NFC, and that is the Philadelphia Eagles(3-0). At this point, the Eagles look like one of the best teams in football, but it’s still early. On Sunday, the Eagles host their former coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars(2-1).

Philadelphia is getting a lot of national headlines because of its great start. However, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni wants to keep this team grounded and hungry. To do that, Sirianni showed his team clips of Tiger Woods.

“That’s something when you’re concerned about getting better every single day, and your sole focus is ‘How do I get better, how do I get better, how do I get better,’ it is easy to block out noise,” Sirianni said on Wednesday. “Whether that’s people telling you how good you are or how bad you are.

“A clip that we showed today was of Tiger Woods – and this is what we showed in our team meeting today. When he was at the top of his game, playing as good of golf as anybody has ever played, ever, he was still obsessed with getting better. He says that, ‘I’m obsessed with getting better. I’m obsessed with being the best.’

“That’s a guy that was playing the best golf of anybody ever. What a great example for us, right? We can learn so many good things from what not to do and what to do. Last week it was a Kobe Bryant film. This week it was a Tiger Woods film of just how am I going to improve my swing today to make sure that I’m getting better even though I’m playing pretty good right now.

“I want them to know that I’m doing that. There are things that happened in that game that I was not comfortable with. There are things I’m obsessed with getting better as the head coach to make sure that we’re prepared to play and the different things.

“So first we have to live that as coaches. We have to preach that through our word-of-mouth. Then other great people like Tiger Woods’ word-of-mouth, and then we have to accomplish that.”

The Eagles have not accomplished anything yet. Jalen Hurts is off to a great start, and the defense is getting done. However, again, they have to keep grinding.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘I think we have yet to play our best ball’

The Philadelphia Eagles move to 3-0 as they defeated Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders(1-2) 24-8 at FedExField on Sunday.

The Eagles led 24-0 at halftime but didn’t score the rest of the way. Philadelphia is 3-0 for the 10th time in franchise history (first time since 2016). The Eagles have also won each of their first two road games of the season for the first time since 2010.

Here’s the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of Philly’s big win over Washington.

The Great:

Defense: Philadelphia sacked Wentz eight times on Sunday, including two strip sacks. Brandon Graham led the Eagles with 2.5 sacks

During the first half, Philadelphia’s defense allowed zero points and 50 total yards (66 rushing, -16 passing) on 28 plays, along with six sacks(four sacks in the first quarter), two FFs, and one takeaway. In the last two weeks, Philly’s defense has allowed only two touchdowns, combining for 11.0 sacks and four forced turnovers. 

DeVonta Smith: He had career highs in both catches (eight) and yards (169). Also, Smith finished the game with a touchdown. The second-year receiver had seven of his eight receptions and 156 of his 169 receiving yards in the first half. After no receptions in Week 1, Smith has accumulated 15 receptions for 249 yards and a touchdown in the last two weeks.

Second Quarter: Hurts and the Eagles’ offense got off to a slow start and went scoreless in the first quarter. However, Hurts and the offense picked it up in the second quarter as they scored 24 points. The third-year quarterback threw three touchdowns passes. He finished the first half with 279 yards and three touchdowns and ended the game 22-35 for 340 yards and three touchdowns. 

The Not So Great:

Second Half Offense: For the second week in a row, the Eagles’ offense went scoreless in the second half. Fortunately, the defense was stout and kept the pressure on Wentz. Hurts threw for only 61 yards in the second half. They punted the ball on three of their five second-half possessions and allowed Washington to score their first points on a safety. However, they did get a first down on their final possession and did not allow Washington to get the ball back.

Bottom Line:

The Eagles get another big win and move to 3-0, and for the second week in a row, the defense played a complete game. Now, the offense has to be good for four quarters, not just one or two.

This season, in three games, Philadelphia has scored 72 points(24.0 points average) in the first half. However, in the second half, they scored only 14 points(4.6 points average). This trend has to get fixed. Back to the defense, they have been stellar after a subpar game in Week 1 against the Lions. If the defense continues at this level, Philadelphia will be tough to beat; we’ve seen this defense beat up on average quarterbacks in 2021, and that trend continues in 2022. 

Wentz was under a lot heat on Sunday, and while it’s still early, it appears the Eagles made the right choice in selecting Hurts to replace Wentz. Round 1 went to Hurts and the Eagles, but Round 2 will be in November.

Quotables:

“I think we have yet to play our best ball yet,” Hurts said. “I think we’re close in terms of executing on a consistent basis through all four quarters of the football game. Last year, I remember being asked the question of ‘How close are you? You’re saying this every week?’ Well I think it’s the same situation here. Just got three wins in our column but I could care less about it because we haven’t played to our standard yet. If we can continue to strive and play to our
standard, everything else will handle itself. It’s a day-by-day thing.”

What’s Next:

Philadelphia will battle their former coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars(2-1) next Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Best of the Rest:

-Wentz finished the game, completing 25-of-43 passes for 211 yards. He added three rushes for 22 yards.

-A.J. Brown finished 85 yards on five receptions (17.0 avg.) with a touchdown during today’s game. The score marked the first touchdown of Brown’s career as an Eagle.

-Dallas Goedert totaled three catches for 26 yards and a touchdown. Goedert leads all NFL tight ends in 20-plus yard receptions this season.

Wentz on time with Eagles: ‘I’ll definitely cherish my time there’

This Sunday, Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz will battle the team that drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the team where he had the most success, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the first of two matchups between the two teams.

The first matchup will take place at FedExField as Wentz, and the Commanders(1-1) will battle the Eagles(2-0) for the time since he was traded to the Colts by the team after the 2020 season.

It’s a divisional game, so winning is important, but what might be bigger for Wentz is the opportunity to show Philadelphia he can still get it done; he did acknowledge on Tuesday that he’s excited about the game.

“Yeah, exciting. It’s an exciting time,” he told the media. “Obviously, a division rivalry, you know, been a part of this one for a while. Things look different this year, but it’ll be fun. It’ll be fun. Obviously, it looks a little bit different over there from when I was there. New faces, new coaches, new everything, but it’ll be a fun one.”

During his time with the Eagles, Wentz received a lot of love from the Philly faithful, especially in 2017, where he had his best season as a pro and helped lead the team to the best record in the NFL before tearing his ACL late in the season. Ultimately, the Eagles would win the Super Bowl with Nick Foles at quarterback,

Wentz battled injuries in 2018, and ultimately, Foles would again lead the Eagles to the playoffs. However, in 2019, Wentz would get paid as he signed a four-year, $128 million extension with the team and would lead Philadelphia to the postseason, but he would leave the team’s playoff loss to the Seahawks with a concussion.

Unfortunately, 2020 was Wentz’s worst year as a pro, where he led the league in interceptions in only 12 games, and he would lose his job late in the season to Jalen Hurts. 

After five seasons, Wentz’s time with the Eagles had to come to an end.

Wentz discussed his time in Philadelphia.

“I mean this league, my career has been a whirlwind,” he said. “I’ll tell you that much. A lot of really good memories from my time there. I’m not going to lie—a lot of great friends. A lot of great relationships that I made, you know. Definitely will have some mixed emotions in terms of those things, but nothing crazy jumps out other than my time there was a whirlwind. It was wild. The NFL is a whirlwind, but I’m grateful to still be playing, and I’m excited for this one…

“It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. Obviously, we had a lot of success there. Winning the Super Bowl up there was pretty special. Being a part of that was pretty cool. It’s quite the city, quite the fan base, quite the experience. I’ll definitely cherish my time there, but obviously, being on the other end now, it’ll look a little different. It was a fun couple years there while I was up there. I definitely cherished my time there.”

Things did not end the way he wanted them to in Philadelphia, but according to the seven-year veteran, he grew as a person.

“I mean, I think anytime in life you get thrown a curve ball like that, things change anytime you think, you know what life’s going to look like,” he said. “You know, sometimes I always think God’s up there saying I’m in control, and for me as a man of faith, I think that’s where my faith kicks in and just saying, okay, God, what do you have next for me? I definitely cherished my time that I had up there. It was definitely a wild ride in many, many ways. I grew a lot as a man, you know, got married, had a child, a lot of things. So, I’m very grateful for my time there, but it definitely does catch you off guard things change, and you gotta learn to grow up and change and adapt. At the end of the day, I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for the changes that life has brought, and I’ve grown a lot from it.”

Wentz is off to a decent start for the Commanders, and there’s probably nothing more he would want but to defeat Philadelphia on Sunday. It won’t be easy.

Eagles’ Slay: ‘I am still at an elite level’

One of the subplots of the Eagles’ 24-7 win over the Vikings on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field was the matchup between Justin Jefferson and Darius ‘Big Play’ Slay.  

Both had big years in 2021, and both made the Pro Bowl last season. The second-year wideout was coming off a big performance(nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns) against the Packers in Week 1, while the 10-year corner and the Eagles’ defense were looking to have a bounce-back performance after struggling against the Lions.

This was the first time these two went head-to-head, and it was evident by the night’s end that Round 1 went to Slay. 

According to Pro Football Focus, when Slay was on Jefferson, he held him to one catch on six targets and had a career-high tying two picks.

In addition, Slay also finished with a career-high five passes defensed.

After the win, Slay said he was looking forward to the matchup against Jefferson.

“I take no matchup lightly, but he is one of the best in the world,” Slay said of Jefferson. “I am one of the best in the world, too. I was looking forward to the matchup.”

Jefferson, who finished the game with six catches for 48 yards, gave props to Slay.

“He’s a competitor for sure,” Jefferson said. “I knew that I was going to get that from him. I mean, he’s a great cornerback. He’s a great player. A great guy, too.”

At age 31, Slay is playing at a high level, and he still believes he’s an elite corner in the NFL.

“I have a lot of respect, but you know how it always goes, the older you get, they think you are falling off, but I am not one of those guys,” Slay said. “I am still at an elite level. I deserve a lot of respect. I think the league respects me enough. It is just the media.”

76ers star James Harden was in attendance on Monday night, and after his first interception, Slay gave the ball to the 10-time All-Star.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know he was at the game until they put him on the [videoboard],” Slay said about Harden. “He is one of my favorite players. I am like, why not? I get a chance to meet James Harden, a Hall of Fame basketball player. If I make a play tonight, definitely a pick, I have to give him the ball because he is well respected in the league and my favorite. I thought it was a good opportunity.”

After allowing 35 points to the Lions last Sunday, the Eagles’ defense got the job done against the Vikings, and ‘Big Play’ Slay was one of the biggest reasons. 

Eagles’ Sirianni on Hurts: ‘Big-time performance on a big-time stage’

After the first two weeks of the NFL season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the game. 

After having a combined 333 yards of total offense in the team’s win over the Lions in Week 1, Hurts was even better in Philly’s home-opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

Hurts completed 26-of-31 (career-high 83.9%) attempts for 333 yards, TD, INT(which wasn’t his fault), and a 108.7 passer rating while adding 57 yards and 2 TDs on 11 carries.

He had a combined 390 total yards on offense with 3 TDs in the game, and more importantly, the Eagles defeated the Vikings(1-1) 24-7. With the win, Philadelphia improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2016.

The 83.9% completion percentage was the highest by an Eagle since Nick Foles produced an 84.8% mark (28-of-33) back in 2018.

“Shoot, I mean, 83% passing. With that many attempts, what was he, 26 of 33(28/33)? Yeah, that’s pretty darn impressive,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said after the win.

Last week against the Lions, he started the game 0/5. This week, Hurts started 11/11 for 151 yards and 1 TD. It marked the longest streak of consecutive completions to start a game in his career.

“It was a big-time performance by him, obviously in the run game and the pass game,” Sirianni said. “Great run. Both of his touchdown runs were outstanding runs. The one, I know it, was only four yards out, but it reminded me of that New Orleans one he made last year.

“Big-time performance on a big-time stage.”

Eagles center Jason Kelce was happy about what he saw from his quarterback.

“Another outstanding performance,” he said. “He threw some unbelievable balls. He made a lot of plays. This was a really great, well-rounded game for him; it seemed like. I have to go back and watch the tape, but when I’m watching the tape, I’m not assessing the quarterback. I just know the offense was moving really well, and it seemed like Jalen was doing phenomenal.”

For Hurts, who completed passes to eight receivers, including four players that finished with 60-plus yards, it’s not about his performance but about the performance of the team.

“I think we just came out and played very efficient, he said. “You know, talked about last week. Last week I talked about the inconsistencies and the urgency and the communication and the operation. And that starts with me. Obviously, we operated at a high level early on in the game. I think that’s something that we have to be able to sustain throughout the whole entire game regardless of the situation. That starts with everybody. I think as a whole, as a team, coming out here and playing on Monday Night Football. I remember what happened last time we played on Monday Night Football. I haven’t forgotten about that. To be able to come out here and perform at a high level as a team, that’s big for us.”

Big win for the Eagles, and if Hurts continues to play at this level, Philadelphia will continue to soar.

Eagles’ Sirianni on Jefferson: ‘He poses a lot of problems’

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been a stud since he entered the league in 2020. In two seasons, Jefferson has made the Pro Bowl twice, and he’s been one of the better wide receivers in football. 

Last season, Jefferson had a monster year as he had 108 catches for 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Last week, Jefferson had nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ 23-7 win over Green Bay.

This week, Jefferson and the Vikings travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles on Monday Night Football. Philadelphia had a shot at Jefferson in the draft, but they chose Jalen Reagor, who eventually was dealt to the Vikings in August.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was impressed with Jefferson coming out of LSU, and he is impressed with him now.

“I can always go back to my first initial reaction to [Minnesota Vikings WR] Justin Jefferson,” Sirianni said this week. “We were out of the playoffs, and it must have been, what — this was — we didn’t make the playoffs in Indy one year, and I wanted to watch all the players in the National Championship Game that were playing that night between Alabama and LSU — Am I right there? I wanted to watch all the receivers and quarterbacks that were going to be eligible.

“So that week leading up to that, because we weren’t in the playoffs, I watched [Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe] Burrow. I watched [WR] DeVonta [Smith]. I watched Justin. I watched [Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr] Chase. I watched all those guys, and I remember putting on the tape and going, man, this Justin Jefferson guy is really, really good. Like he’s really quick. He’s got great hands. He runs really good routes.’

“It made the game a little bit more he enjoyable for me. I put the game on, we’re watching the game, and I’m watching the game with it, and he catches the ball, and he puts his foot in the ground quick, and you get the zoom up of it on the TV camera, and it was like, okay, he’s exactly what I thought. He does have all that quickness. That close-up view really helped me learn that.

“I’ve always admired his game and respected his game. He poses a lot of problems. He’s a great football player, and we have some great football players, too. Yeah, he’s got a great game.”

Sirianni probably should be coaching Jefferson, but stuff happens. However, fortunately for Sirianni, he has A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

Eagles’ OC on Hurts: ‘I thought he was really efficient’

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts played well on Sunday in the team’s 38-35 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Hurts threw for 243 yards on 18-of-32 passing and rushed for 90 yards and 1 TD on 17 carries. He had a combined 333 yards of total offense.

Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was happy with Hurts’ performance.

“I thought he was really efficient. When you look at him, when he ran the ball, he was efficient,” Steichen said Tuesday. “When he was throwing it, I thought he was really efficient. To average 7.2 yards on the pass game is pretty good. He made some tremendous throws. His accuracy was on point. I think he had about four throwaways, but overall, just a really strong performance from him.”

The third-year quarterback came out of the gate 0/5, but Steichen was impressed by how well he bounced back.

“It’s the next-play mentality,” Steichen said. “[Head] Coach [Nick Sirianni] talks about it all the time, that next-play mentality. I think that’s where his mindset is at all the time is just continuing to grow and be on the next play. I thought he did a hell of a job bouncing back. I think everyone did.”

Hurts had 17 carries on Sunday, and he took a lot of hits, including a vicious hit from Lions DB Tracy Walker, which led to his ejection. According to Steichen, Hurts does a solid job of avoiding big collisions.

I think Jalen has a great feel,” Steichen said. “He has a natural ability to not take the big hit. Does it happen sometimes? Yeah, it does, but you can see that he slides at the right moment; he gets out of bounds when he needs to. Then he takes some of those hits when he slid, yeah, he did, but he knows when to get down, and I think he has a good feel for that.”

On Sunday, Hurts targeted A.J. Brown 13 times. The next closest players were Dallas Goedert, DeVonta Smith, and Kenneth Gainwell(4). At this point, Steichen is not worried about ball distribution and does not believe it’s an issue.

“No, I don’t need him to worry about that,’ he said. “Really, wherever the ball is going, it’s first read, second read. He goes through his progressions, and that’s where it is.”

Notes:

On Tuesday, the Eagles placed DE Derek Barnett on Injured Reserve and signed DE Janarius Robinson from the Vikings practice squad.

Barnett, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal in the offseason, tore his ACL in Sunday’s win over the Lions and will miss the rest of the season.

The Great, Not So Great, & Bottom Line of Eagles’ win in Detroit

The Philadelphia Eagles(1-0) started slow but revved things up in the second and third quarters and held on to defeat the Detroit Lions(0-1) 38-35 at Ford Field in the season-opener. 

After being down 7-0 early, the Eagles scored 24 second-quarter points to take a 24-14 lead at halftime. Philadelphia would take a 38-21 lead into the fourth and got the win as Jalen Hurts converted on 4th-and-inches with just over a minute left in regulation.

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of the Eagles’ win over the Lions.

The Great:

Run Game: Philadelphia, who led the league in rushing last season, ran for 216 yards and four touchdowns. Hurts rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries; Miles Sanders had 96 yards and one touchdown, including a big 24-yard run on third down with 2:21 left in the fourth quarter to continue the Eagles’ attempt to run out the clock. The running game was big in 2021, and it looks like they will have similar success in 2022.

A.J. Brown: In his Eagles’ debut, Brown had 10 catches for a career-high tying 155 yards. Brown had 128 yards at halftime, including a big 54-yard reception in the second quarter. According to Elias Sports, Brown finished with the most receiving yards ever by a player in their Eagles debut. Brown’s debut felt like Terrell Owens’ debut with the Eagles in 2004. Hurts and Brown are close off the field and seem to have a connection on the field.

Jalen Hurts: After starting the game 0/5, Jalen Hurts picked up his play and led the Eagles on three scoring drives in the first half. Hurts combined for 256 offensive yards (189 passing, 67 rushing) in the first half. That is the most offensive yards he has produced in the first half of a game in his career, and he finished with a combined 333 yards(90 yards rushing) and threw for 243 yards on 18-of-32 passing.  

Not So Great:

Rushing defense: Detroit ran for 181 yards against Philadelphia. D’Andre Swift had a career-high 144 yards on the ground, including a touchdown, and Jamaal Williams had two rushing touchdowns. 

Second-half defense: Philadelphia had difficulty slowing down the Lions in the second half. Detroit scored three touchdowns on their four second-half drives. Goff was able to carve up the secondary and had a clean pocket for most of the game. The way things were going, Detroit might have scored again if they had gotten the ball back.

Bottom Line: 

The Eagles won a game they were supposed to win. While they almost blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead, they were able to hold on. Philadelphia must do a better job of getting after the quarterback and stopping the run. Brown is a weapon, but going forward, the Eagles have to get others involved, including DeVonta Smith(no catches). It appears the offense is going to put up a lot of points, but Hurts did a lot of running, and not sure he can keep that up for 16 more games, but again, they’re 1-0.

What’s Next:

Eagles battle the Vikings on Monday Night in their home-opener at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Best of the Rest:

In his Eagles’ debut, James Bradberry reached the end zone for the first time in his career on a 27-yard interception return in the second quarter. The play was set up by a tip by LB Kyzir White, who was also making his Eagles’ debut.

-Philadelphia leads the league in season-opening wins since 2011, posting a 10-2 record in its last 12 season openers.

-Head Coach Nick Sirianni improves his season opener record to 2-0.

Eagles’ Sirianni on Hurts: ‘I can see him continuing to grow’

The last time we saw Jalen Hurts in a meaningful game was in January in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers in the wild-card round, and it wasn’t pretty. 

Hurts struggled as he threw for 258 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Many of those passing yards came with the game out of reach. The offense sputtered, and ultimately, the Eagles would fall to the Buccaneers 31-15. 

Entering his third season, Hurts has more weapons at his disposal as the Eagles added a bonafide number one wide receiver in A.J. Brown to go along with what they have on the offensive line and running game. On paper, Hurts would have everything he needs to be successful.

On Wednesday, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was asked how different Hurts is today compared to the guy who walked off the field against the Buccaneers.

“Again, we’ve talked a lot about his development as a football player,” Sirianni said. “I think what we have seen in practice over and over again is him being able to get through reads quicker, him being more accurate with his throws. So, it’s the same thing we’ve been talking about throughout the last, seems like about the last month, of just his progression as a player.

“Again, I think you guys will probably be able to predict what I’m going to say here. Guys that are competitive, guys that are tough, and guys that love football have the ability to reach their ceiling, and I can see him continuing to grow.”

Look, what Sirianni said is not surprising; it would have been surprising if he said that Hurts had not improved. 

Here’s reality, based on what the Eagles did in the offseason, the pressure is on Hurts to perform at a higher level than he did a year ago. Last season, Philadelphia snuck up on teams and made it to the playoffs. That’s not happening in 2022, and Hurts has to rise to the occasion.

 

Eagles trade WR Jalen Reagor to Vikings

Jalen Reagor’s time in Philadelphia is over. The third-year wide receiver was traded to the Minnesota Vikings for a seventh-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Ironically, Reagor was selected by the Eagles(20th) out of TCU, one pick before the Vikings selected two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, Justin Jefferson.

Philadelphia has been looking to solve their issues at wide receiver, and last season they got DeVonta Smith in the draft. This offseason, they acquired stud wideout A.J. Brown from the Titans, so after a disappointing season for Reagor in 2021, you knew his time in Philadelphia was probably going to be over at some point.

Last season, the 23-year-old had 33 receptions for 299 yards and two touchdowns in 17 games. In two seasons with the Eagles, Reagor, who had 24 starts in 28 games, had 64 catches for 695  yards and three touchdowns.

Reagor is still young and has shown flashes, so maybe a change of scenery could be what his career needs to flourish.