Something Jalen Hurts could do better, a player who might help in the red zone and how much does Fletcher Cox still have left.
That’s a small taste of what you’ll find in a Monday Night Football edition of Roob’s Random Eagles Observations!
1. It’s encouraging that Jalen Hurts hasn’t thrown an interception after throwing four last year, but at times these first two weeks I’ve gotten the sense that he may be trying too hard not to throw interceptions and isn’t being quite aggressive enough firing the ball into the middle of the field and into tight windows. Which NFL quarterbacks have to do sometimes. Nick Sirianni also needs to be more aggressive at times. Not saying be reckless and just chuck the ball down the field, but just open up the offense a bit. Hurts is completing a high percentage of his passes, but even with a 91-yarder to Quez Watkins, his yards per completion is down 16 percent from last year, from 13.8 yards to 11.6 yards this year. Last year, Hurts had nine completions of 30 yards or more in 148 attempts, or one every 16 attempts. This year he has just one in 58 attempts. I don’t want more 60-yard bombs. I’d just like to see the offense become a little more vertical and a little less horizontal.
2. Since opening day 2018, players the Eagles drafted have 12 interceptions for the Eagles in 53 games.Who has those 12? Nate Gerry and Rasul Douglas have three each and Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox have two. And that’s it. The last Eagles draft pick with more than three INTs in a season for the Eagles is Jordan Hicks, who had five picks in 2016.
3. Boston Scott hasn’t played a snap on offense this year, but he’s always been a very good short-yardage runner. He’s converted 13 of 18 career chances with one or two yards to go for 72 percent, above the league average of 68 percent. He’s had five career runs from inside the opposing 5-yard-line and scored four times. Scott’s got a low center of gravity, great vision and terrific balance and he’s just a tough matchup down at the goal-line. Based on the 49ers game, the Eagles could sure use some help down there. I’d like to see Scott get involved in the goal-line and short-yardage situations.
4. He’s not Jordan Mailata, but I feel like Andre Dillard will be OK Monday night.
5. One thing I always agreed with Chip Kelly about was rivalries. I get so tired of hearing Eagles players and coaches asked stuff like, “How fired up are you for the Cowboys?” or, “How much more intense is Dallas week?” Like Chip always said, if a player is getting more fired up for the Cowboys, that means he’s not preparing like he should for other opponents. If you’re saying one game is more important than the rest, you’re short-changing those other teams. Sure, a division game is more important in the standings, but as a player you can’t approach it any differently. Rivalries are great for fans, and one of the fun things about being a fan is seeing Duke or the Yankees or the Cowboys or whatever team you hate get beat. Especially by your favorite team. But players have to approach every game with the same intensity, the same preparation, the same motivation. Being a pro means every team is your rival.
6. It would be OK with me if Nick Sirianni never brings up “Dawg Mentality” again.
7. A lot has been made about Fletcher Cox’s two-game start and how much he has left. Cox’s stat line is thin: No big plays, four tackles so far. Yeah, he’s been double teamed fairly often, but we also haven’t seen signs of the disruptive Cox that made six straight Pro Bowls from 2015 through last year. What have I seen? On the one hand, I do think Cox has declined a bit. So far at least, he hasn’t been the player he was two years ago, and we started seeing signs of that last year. But he’s still a really effective interior lineman that offenses have to account for, who makes the players around him better, who is stout against the run and will occasionally get an effort sack. Cox is 30 now and 149 games into his career, and it’s quite possible his days as an elite player are over. But he’s still better than most.
8. I don’t care what uniform he’s wearing, I never get tired of watching DeSean Jackson make big plays. His 75-yard TD Sunday against the Buccaneers was his NINTH career touchdown catch of at least 75 yards, tying Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for most in NFL history. He also now has 26 total TDs of at least 60 yards, most in NFL history, and 33 total touchdowns of 50 yards or more, only three behind Jerry Rice for most in NFL history. At 34, he’s as fast as ever. One of the most electrifying players in NFL history. If I had a Hall of Fame vote, he’d be on my list.
9. Miles Sanders’ 4.9 rushing average is 5th-highest among all NFL running backs since 2019, when he entered the league. His 371 carries are 17th-most.
10. The former Eagles quarterback now playing for the Colts has now gone eight straight starts without generating more than 17 points. He’s lost seven straight starts and is now 3-11-1 since opening day 2020. His winning percentage during that span (.233) is lowest among NFL quarterbacks who’ve started at least 10 games over the last two years.
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