EAGLES

Eagles' passing game struggles go way deeper than Hurts

EAGLES

It’s not just Jalen Hurts.

It’s the entire passing game.

It’s a train wreck.

The Eagles’ passing game has been sputtering for several weeks now, and although it’s been masked by a ton of rushing yards, Nick Sirianni knows in the long run the Eagles have to be able to make plays throwing the football to win consistently.

And they haven’t done it. Not even close.

“My message to the pass group guys (Monday) in film was, ‘Hey, it wasn't good enough in this group yesterday,’” Sirianni said Monday. “That starts with me putting them in positions to succeed, and obviously always – the guy who touches the ball every time is the quarterback; him executing at a high level, and then to the receivers, tight ends, and running backs.

“So not good enough. We're not where we want to be in that part of our game. We're working like crazy to get better at it.”

Sunday's performance against the Giants was the low point, but the Eagles have sputtered through five straight games with fewer than 180 passing yards for the first time since 2005 – when Mike McMahon was the quarterback.

They’ve averaged just 140 passing yards per game since Week 8, which is their 3rd-lowest total in any five-game span in the last 20 years. They averaged 115 from Weeks 3-7 in 2003 and 120 with McMahon Weeks 11-15 of 2005.

They’ve dropped to 30th in the league in passing offense, 29th in passing 1st downs and 20th in yards per pass play.

 

“I think what you've seen is our play-action game has been able to be successful, but when teams know we're dropping back and when we're dropping back to pass, that's where we’ve struggled in the third and longer scenarios,” Sirianni said.

“So that's an emphasis that we know we got to get better at because we know if we want to win the games we need to win, and that really just starts here with the next game here against the Jets, when we need to pass the ball, we're going to have to succeed at doing so.

“That starts with the drop-back passing game … where we need to get better.”

Hurts during these five games has completed 58 percent of his passes with three TDs and four interceptions – three of them Sunday at the Meadowlands. His passer rating since Week 8 is 71.6, which ranks 25th of 28 regular QBs during that span.

DeVonta Smith (280 yards) and Dallas Goedert (205) are the only receivers with more than 83 yards combined in the last five games, and the Eagles are one of only two teams (along with the Jaguars) that doesn’t have a pass play longer than 36 yards since Week 8.

“It starts with me putting the guys in position to make plays against the defenses they're running and getting the ball to our playmakers,” Sirianni said. “Any time we're struggling in a scenario I'll always take the hit and put it on me, because I’ve just got to do a better job.”

But it’s obviously a lot more than the play calls. It’s Jalen Reagor dropping passes. It’s Hurts locking in on one receiver. It’s the running backs not getting involved in the passing game. It’s speedy Quez Watkins not catching a 30-yard pass since Week 5.

It’s everything.

“Listen, we may have a play on the call sheet that we think might work really well, but if our players don't execute it and can't execute it for whatever reason, then we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror as coaches, and then we'll hold the players accountable for their part,” Sirianni said.

“But passing game is not where we want it to be. I take a lot of pride in that. I've been on a lot of teams that have been very successful passing the football, and so no one is taking that harder than me and it's my job to get that fixed.”

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