Eagles’ Sirianni talks Hurts’ performance against Chiefs in 2021

The last time Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 57 in Arizona, started a game against the Chiefs was October 3, 2021.

In that contest, the Eagles would fall to Kansas City 42-30 at Lincoln Financial Field.

However, Hurts had career-highs of 32 completions and 387 yards in that game. He also threw two touchdowns and no interceptions. Hurts had 434 yards of total offense (including 47 rushing yards on eight attempts). The 387 passing yards were the most by an Eagles quarterback since 2018. 

That was one of Hurts’ best games of 2021, and the Eagles’ offense went toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but they fell short.

On Tuesday, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni discussed Hurts’ performance against the Chiefs.

“I thought he played really well that game,” he said. “Actually, that was one of the things we’re doing too right now, is just rewatching some of that, just like I know they are, just watching some of the things that happened in that game. I thought Jalen played a really good game. I know everybody did, and then just to see him, how he’s continued to grow each day since then.

“That’s some of the things you see there, too, are like, man, he continues to get better. He had a great game this day, but he continues to get better. That’s the kind of guy he is. He just strives to get better each day.

“I don’t have any particular plays that stick out or anything like that from the game, again, just watching it, looking at some things from it. But just Jalen, his leadership, his ability to improve each day, you’ll definitely see that, and you’ve definitely seen him improve since that day.”

That game feels like ages ago, and a lot has changed. Last season, the Chiefs were 27th in total defense, while Philadelphia’s offense was 14th overall. However, in 2022, the Eagles were third in offense, and the Chiefs were 11th in total defense, so both units have improved, but it seems the Eagles would have the edge.

We shall see…

Vikings’ Hunter to replace Reddick in Pro Bowl Games

Vikings OLB Danielle Hunter has been named to the 2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games. Hunter, who will be appearing in his third Pro Bowl, is replacing OLB Haason Reddick of the Philadelphia Eagles, who is unable to participate due to the Super Bowl.

Hunter, 28, started in all 17 games this season and registered 65 tackles (46 solo), a career-high-tying 22 quarterback hits, a team-leading 10.5 sacks and a career-high three passes defensed. His 10.5 sacks are the fourth-most sacks he’s had in a single season in his career. Hunter also totaled 76 pressures this season, the eighth-most in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

The seven-year pro is slated to participate in this year’s Pro Bowl Games alongside QB Kirk Cousins, RB Dalvin Cook, LS Andrew DePaola, TE T.J. Hockenson, WR Justin Jefferson and OLB Za’Darius Smith.

The NFC and AFC teams will face off in the 2023 Pro Bowl Games on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Jalen Hurts leads Eagles to the Super Bowl

The Eagles will return to the Super Bowl after defeating the 49ers 31-7 in the NFC title game at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. 

With the win, the Eagles, who won Super Bowl in the 2017 season, will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona on February 12.

The man doubted in college at Alabama and Oklahoma, and in his first two seasons in the league, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has proven that he can lead a team to a Super Bowl.

Hurts, who finished 15/25 for 121 yards and ran for 39 yards and a touchdown against San Francisco, says there’s still more work to be done.

“I said early in the week that this is not a time for reflection,” he said. “It’s really hard for me to do that. I try to enjoy the moment, but my joy comes in winning. I know the job isn’t done. I never knew how far we would come, I never knew how far we’d go, but I never said it couldn’t be done.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he saw the potential in Hurts when Philly drafted him in the second round back in 2020.

“He is a great young leader,” Lurie said. “He is a terrific young quarterback. When we drafted him, it was the upside we were banking on. We thought he had a huge upside. It takes a couple years. And somebody so dedicated as [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and such a great teammate. Inevitably he is going to maximize everything he has, and that’s what he’s done.”

When the Eagles drafted Hurts, many were shocked because they had just signed Carson Wentz to a big contract the season before. Hurts reflected on that moment after the win.

“It was a big surprise to many,” he said about Philly drafting him. “My favorite [bible] verse, I went through a lot of stuff in college, and it kind of stuck with me, John 13:7: ‘You may not know now, but later you’ll understand.’ Hopefully, people understand.”

To think Hurts would lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl after how he looked in the playoffs against the Buccaneers last season is quite remarkable, but as he said, the job isn’t done. 

Notes:

Jalen Hurts recorded his 15th rushing touchdown on Sunday to set the new single-season record for a quarterback.

-This is the third Super Bowl appearance under Jeffrey Lurie’s ownership, having previously reached the league’s championship game during the 2004 and 2017 seasons.

-Currently, Philadelphia is the fourth NFL team to reach three Super Bowls dating back to 2004, joining New England (seven), Pittsburgh (three) and Seattle (three). The Eagles are also the fourth franchise to appear in multiple Super Bowls since 2017, joining Kansas City (two), L.A. Rams (two) and New England (two) in that span.

-Philadelphia is the first NFL team to allow 7-or-fewer points multiple times in the same postseason since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (also W, 38-7 vs. N.Y. Giants). Philadelphia outscored their opponents 69-14 in these playoffs.

-The Eagles scored a franchise-playoff-record 4 rushing TDs in today’s game (2 TDs by Miles Sanders and 1 TD apiece by Jalen Hurts and Boston Scott). Philadelphia’s 4 rushing TDs were the most allowed by San Francisco’s No. 2-ranked rushing defense this season.

-Haason Reddick finished the game with 2.0 sacks, 1 FF and 1 FR. Reddick now has totaled 3.5 sacks this postseason, which are the most by an individual Eagle during a single playoff run. Overall, Reddick has recorded 19.5 sacks in 19 games this season (including playoffs).

Eagles’ Sirianni: ‘This is the most complete team that I’ve ever been around’

In 2022, the Philadelphia Eagles(14-3) had the best record in football in the regular season and are one game away(battle the 49ers in the NFC title game at the Linc on Sunday) from getting to the Super Bowl.

The Eagles have a league-best eight Pro Bowlers and, from top to bottom, have one of the best rosters in the NFL.

According to Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who has been around the NFL as a coach since 2009, the 2022 Philadelphia Eagles is the most complete team he’s been around.

“We had some good Mount Union(University) teams. I mean, we had some really good Mount Union teams, that’s for darn sure,'” Sirianni said on Thursday. “But, yeah, in the NFL, this is the most complete team that I’ve ever been around.

“The thing that makes you say that is that I’ve been taught from very young that it’s O-line, D-line, O-line, D-line, O-line, D-line. It doesn’t matter if it’s my son’s pee wee game, it doesn’t matter if it’s a high school game, it doesn’t matter if it’s a college game, it doesn’t matter if it’s a pro game, the O-line, D-line, wins games and sets the tone.

“We have a great defensive line. We have a great offensive line. And not only do we have these pieces in place there, we also understand that we have backups, and we have rotations, guys ready to step in and make plays, and guys that have stepped in to make plays.

“We also know this about San Francisco: They have a great O-line and D-line. You get to the NFC Championship game, that’s what it’s going to look like. I haven’t looked at Cincinnati or Kansas City, but I am assuming it is similar traits.

“So, it’ll be a battle. Yeah, a lot of credit to our O-line, D-line. A lot of credit to [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Howie [Roseman], and how he’s put this roster together and his staff and [Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line] coach Stout [Jeff Stoutland] and [Defensive Line] coach [Tracy] Rocker and [Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers] coach Wash [Jeremiah Washburn]. We have a lot of guys in place that are making it possible with those guys.”

Sirianni is right; the Eagles are a complete team and may have the most complete team in the NFL, but none of that means a thing if they don’t get the ring.

Eagles’ Sirianni talks comparison between Hurts & Jordan

Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest player in NBA history. In 15 NBA seasons, Jordan won six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVPs, and five-time regular-season MVPs.

Anytime you compare any player to Jordan, you’re saying that player is special. 

After Philadelphia’s 38-7 win over the Giants on Saturday night, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni compared Hurts to Jordan. The third-year quarterback is playing like an MVP this season and have the Eagles one game away from the Super Bowl.

On Monday, Sirianni explained the Jordan comparison.

“You know, when you compare something like that, you’re thinking about — I mean, Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, and I get in arguments back and forth with our players,” Sirianni said. “In my opinion, right, because my height of watching basketball — I’m not trying to start a debate here or anything like that, but in my opinion, my height of watching basketball and who I always wanted to be as a kid growing up was Michael Jordan. I don’t think I’m going to get in many arguments that he’s the best basketball player of all time.

“But the things that Michael Jordan, you were able to see a lot of things about him in “The Last Dance” about his competitiveness and about just his desire and will to win.

“So when you make that comparison, you think — again, when you guys ask me about Jalen, the first thing, as good as he’s played this year, as well as he’s run the football, as well as he’s thrown the football, reading defenses, accurate throws, as well as he’s done all that, what you notice first about him is his will to win, his competitive drive.

“That comparison is kind of in that aspect of it. Again, was I around Michael Jordan? No, but I was able to watch from afar when I was a kid, but then also you’re able to watch these documentaries, and you see that common denominator of those things — the first thing you asked me about Jalen, I always talk about all those things, all the intangibles that he has.

“That’s where that’s coming from is just that will to win. It’s at a different level. He had that big chain on. What did it say? A breed of one. He’s a breed of one. That’s who he is. He’s unlike anybody I’ve been around just with how much he loves this game, how much winning drives him, how much getting better every day drives him, how much leading drives him. He’s special. He is a special dude.

“That’s where really I was coming from with that, in the sense of, like man, these guys, they’re built different. They’re built different as far as how they go about their business and how they go about prepping for games and compete in games and steady during games. That’s what I was speaking of there.”

You can see Hurts’ competitive fire in his demeanor; as Sirianni said, he’s never fazed. However, Jordan won, and he won big, so for this comparison to stick, Hurts has to win on Sunday against the 49ers, which won’t be easy, but if he’s really Jordan-like, the Eagles will be in Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.

Giants’ Barkley on season ending: ‘It sucks, this was a fun team’

The season did not end the way the New York Giants wanted it to, but when they look back on it, they will realize it was a success.

New York’s season ended in Philadelphia on Saturday night as they fell to the Eagles 38-7 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. 

The Giants, who lost three times to Philadelphia this season, allowed the Eagles to score four touchdowns on their first five drives and trailed 28-0 at halftime. New York was dominated from start to finish.

“Well, crash landing here,” Daboll said after the loss. “Give Philly credit. They did everything better than we did today—tough game. We really got beat in all facets, so it wasn’t one thing in particular. It was a team game, and we just didn’t get it done. Congratulations to Philly. They get to move on, and unfortunately, we don’t.”

After five straight 10-loss seasons, New York was 9-7-1 this year, made the playoffs for the first time since 2016, and got their playoff win since 2011.

Despite the blowout loss, Daboll wanted his team to keep their heads up.

“I told them to keep their heads up,” he said. “They competed hard. It’s a crash landing in the playoffs. Anytime you lose, it hurts because of the amount of effort and energy you put into it each week. And when you lose this time of year, it hurts even more. You work extremely hard to get to this point. You’re blessed to get to this point. It’s hard to do.”

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who can be an unrestricted free agent, showed much improvement this season. He became a better player, and he hopes to continue to grow moving forward.

“I don’t know what I proved,” he said. “I think I improved every week. I thought I was consistent throughout the year. There are certainly things I like to have back, especially tonight. I think there are some things I’ll go back and look to clean up and improve and grow as a player going forward. I thought, overall, I did do that. I grew and improved throughout the year, and I will continue to try and do that.”

Saquon Barkley, who also can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, said the 2022 Giants is a team he won’t forget. 

“It sucks, this was a fun team,” he said. “The guys here, coaches, everything that we were able to build this year. The way we played for each other this year, it was special. Obviously, it didn’t end the way we would have wanted it to end. Not just because of the record or because we made it to playoffs, this is probably one of my favorite teams of all time. That’s a sad thing about the NFL; no matter what, the locker room is not going to be the exact same next year. So just happy to be able to go out there with these guys and lay it all out on the line and compete with them.”

The Giants’ season was a success the moment they beat the Colts and clinched a playoff spot; they should hold their heads high. The future seems bright in New York.

Eagles’ Sirianni on Hurts: ‘He is like a point guard’

The week’s talk in Philadelphia was about the health of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts(shoulder). Would the Eagles be able to run their full offense with Hurts in the lineup? Well, on Saturday night against the New York Giants in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, he answered the question, and it was a resounding, Yes!

Hurts was 16/24 for 154 yards, two touchdowns, and he also rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown, and the Eagles scored touchdowns on four of their five first-half drives as Philadelphia routed the Giants 38-7 at Lincoln Financial Field to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2017.

The Eagles defeated the Giants three times this season and outscored them 108-45 in those three games.

With Hurts in the lineup, the running game was potent as they rushed for 268 yards, which is second-most in team playoff history. Kenneth Gainwell ran for 112 yards and a touchdown; Miles Sanders had 90 yards, and Boston Scott added a rushing touchdown.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni says Hurts distributes like a point guard.

“Jalen [Hurts] is always going to help the running game big time because of what he can do and the threat he poses on the backside,” Sirianni said. “Even if he is not carrying it or even if he is not having runs to him, he is still going to affect the game. That’s what he did. He affected the game because he demands attention on the backside. Not only that, but he runs the show out there. He is like a point guard. He is getting us to good checks. We have checks on. That’s a good defense. They pose a lot of problems.”

According to Sirianni, Hurts’ impact is Jordan-like.

“To have him out there is like — I know this is high praise, but to have him out there is like having — I shouldn’t even go there — it’s like having Michael Jordan out there,” he said. “He’s your leader. He’s your guy.

“Hopefully that’s the biggest respect I can pay to him comparing his ability to being on the field to a Michael Jordan type. This guy leads. He brings this calmness to the entire team. He plays great football. He’s as tough as they come.

“Yeah, I mean, to me, nobody has played any better football than him this year.”

Sanders said Hurts looked like himself against the Giants.

“Seemed like the old Jalen to me,” he said. “I’m not going to lie. Just proud of him. He asks everybody for their best, and we’re going to do that just for him because he gives us our best.”

Hurts knows that opportunities to get to the Super Bowl don’t always come, and the Eagles must seize the moment.

“You work really hard for these opportunities,” he said. “They’re not a dime a dozen. You work really hard for them, and I’m just very eager to continue to grow. I’m eager to go through anything and everything with this group. It’s a special thing, it’s a special feeling, and it’s a special type of togetherness that we have, and I don’t think it’s something that I’ve experienced quite like this for sure on the NFL level. We just want to continue to grow together, hold each other accountable, and believe in one another. I think we just came out hungry.”

The Eagles had more talent and were better than the Giants, so this result is not unexpected. However, the next round will be challenging, and they must keep that hunger.

Giants’ Barkley on Eagles: ‘They’re the number-one team in the NFC for a reason’

When the season started, not many people expected the New York Giants to be two games away from getting to the Super Bowl, but after defeating the Minnesota Vikings on the road in the Wild Card Round last Sunday, the Giants are, in fact, two games away from a Super Bowl.

Defeating the Vikings was challenging, and beating the Eagles, who are the number one seed in the NFC, might be even more difficult as the Giants travel down I-95 to face their division rivals at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday night in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The Giants were swept in the regular season by the Eagles, including a 26-point loss in Week 14 at MetLife Stadium.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who rushed for only 28 yards in that Week 14 blowout, knows that defeating the Eagles won’t be easy.

“Obviously, the first game, they got up right away,” he said Wednesday. “Offensively, I think we did some pretty good stuff, but we could be a little more consistent. At the end of the day, we know they’re a talented team. They have how many pro bowlers? How many all-pros? They’re the number-one team in the NFC for a reason. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”

At this point, according to Barkley, the Giants are a confident bunch.

“Yeah, we’re a very confident team,” Barkley said. “We’ve kind of been that way throughout the whole season. Had our ups and downs, faced adversity, but our mindset has kind of been the same – just continue to come out, go out there with a competitive mindset, believe in each other, and that gives us the best opportunity.”

In 2022, the Giants made the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and won their first playoff game since 2011. As stated numerous times by many, no matter what happens on Saturday night, the Giants’ season is a success. However, Barkley is still hungry for more.

“We’re here for a reason,” Barkley said. “You’ve got to win football games to get into the playoffs. No one is just invited; you’ve got to get in. We got in, to make it to where you want to go – you’ve got to win, or you go home. We did that the first round, and now we’ve got another opportunity in the second round.”

Barkley is a Pennsylvania native, so he knows very well how hostile that Philly crowd will be on Saturday night.

“Their fan base is crazy,” he said. “They’re going to be loud; there’s going to be cheers, there’s going to be boos. There might be some double birds… I expect it to be a hostile environment. It’s the playoffs. That’s how it’s going to be. You know how Philly fans are. Growing up in Pennsylvania, obviously, I wasn’t a Philly fan growing up, but had a lot of Philly fans – I know how passionate they are. It’s going to be fun.”

Talent-wise, it’s not close; the Eagles are the more talented team. However, the Giants play hard and are well-coached, so they have a shot, but they will have to play their best game of the season to do it.

Eagles’ Hurts: ‘I got a bounty on me every week I go out there on the field’

Last season, in his first year as a full-time starter, Jalen Hurts led the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs. However, their stay in the playoffs was brief.

Hurts and the Eagles would get blown out by the Buccaneers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. At one point in that game, Philadelphia was down 31-0 and would ultimately lose 31-15 on the road. 

In that contest, Hurts could have been better. He finished 23/43 for 258 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Many of those yards came during garbage time. 

After that loss, Hurts had this to say:

“I’ll say it again, nobody wants to end their season this way,” he said. “I hate this feeling. I hate this feeling. But, you never waste a mistake, and I do a pretty good job of trying not to do that. I try not to waste a mistake, so just learn from it.”

What a difference a year makes!

This season, Hurts returned a better player, and now the Eagles, who have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in the NFC, start their playoff journey on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field against the New York Giants in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

On Tuesday, Hurts discussed what he learned from that playoff loss to Tampa Bay.

“There was a ton that I learned from, and I took away from that going into the offseason,” he said. “I think it’s helpful for us to have experienced that together as a team and to have a lot of guys back. A lot of guys, like a Jason Kelce, decides to stay because he sees something in what he’s played with and the potential of what could be.”

The best news from Tuesday is that Hurts(shoulder) is not on the team’s injury report, and when asked about the shoulder, he said the following:

“Feeling good.”

Knowing that Hurts is not 100%, the Giants might target his injured shoulder. However, Hurts is not concerned.

“I got a bounty on me every week I go out there on the field,” he said. So, I’m going to go out there and play my game, so whatever happens, happens.”

The playoffs are where you make a name for yourself. Yes, Hurts played like an MVP this season, but if he falters in the postseason, none of that matters, but as he said, he’s not going to waste a mistake, so expect a big performance from him against the Giants. 

Giants’ Barkley on Jones: ‘I know we have an elite quarterback’

For the first time since 2016, the New York Giants were in the playoffs, and for the first time since 2011, the New York Giants got a playoff win as they defeated the Vikings 31-24 in the Wild Card round of the playoffs on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

With the win, the Giants advance to a divisional round game at Philadelphia next Saturday night.

New York lost to the Vikings on Christmas Eve in Minnesota when kicker Greg Joseph hit a 61-yard field goal at the buzzer, but this game was a different story because of the play of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

In his playoff debut, Jones was outstanding. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 78 yards(team record for a quarterback in the postseason) on 17 carries. He is the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era with 200-plus pass yards, two-plus touchdown passes and 70-plus rushing yards in a playoff game.

After the win, Saquon Barkley, who ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns, including a 28-yard scamper in the first quarter and the game-winning two-yard touchdown run in the fourth, was impressed by Jones.

“I would say I’m impressed,” Barkley said about Jones. “I’m not shocked. He’s been doing it all year. He’s really a special player. You know what a way to start it off. I’m happy for him and proud of him, and we’re going to need him and keep leaning on him.”

Giants head coach Brian Daboll was proud of Jones.

“Daniel, I’ve said it all year; he’s been good for us,” Daboll said. “Continues to be good for us. He played a good game. I think there was a lot of other people that played good games to help him play a good game, and he’ll be the first to admit it. But as a leader on our football team, I’m proud of him.”

Barkley believes the Giants have an elite quarterback.

“I know we have an elite quarterback,” Barkley said. “I think he’s shown that most of the time. But we’ve also got amazing players around, too, so we”ve got his back no matter what.”

The fourth-year quarterback is happy with the win but knows more work needs to be done.

“I think it’s a big win for us,” he said. “Obviously, a big playoff game. I thought we played well in all three phases and did enough to win the game. We’ll enjoy it tonight, but we have a lot of work to do moving forward.”

The Giants were swept by the Eagles this season, including a 48-22 beatdown at MetLife Stadium; Jones is excited to get another crack at Philadelphia.

“We’re excited,” he said. “They’re a good team. A divisional opponent. We’ll prepare this week like we do any week and be as prepared as we can going in.”

The Giants continue to play with house money. No one expected them to win a playoff game when the season started. However, many believed the Vikings were a beatable team in this spot, and New York took advantage of it.

Back to Jones, he was exceptional against Minnesota, but Philly will be a bigger test, and we will see if Jones and the Giants can pass it.

Notes:

-This was the Giants’ first victory this season against a team in the NFC playoff field; they had been 0-6 vs. Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle and Minnesota.

-The Giants totaled 431 offense yards, a figure they exceeded just twice in the regular season – 445 against the Vikings here on Dec. 24 and 436 yards at Jacksonville on Oct. 23.

-The Giants’ 31 points are their second-highest total of the season and the second time they exceeded 30 points