Eagles overreactions: Weird trend emerging amid hot start originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles are 3-0, they're one of the best teams in the entire league, and they... have some stuff they need to work on, because that's how it goes.
I don't want to come off as a true Negadelphian because the Birds did so much well on Sunday. The first half was a roller coaster of delightful football on both sides. Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown looked like stars while the defensive line demolished Carson Wentz.
But I have a complaint, an assessment, and a hot take coming out of the Birds' third win of the season.
Let's get to overreacting:
1. Second halves need to be way better
It's great that the Eagles are 3-0, but uh... what in the world is up with these second halves?
Here's a breakdown through three weeks:
Week 1: 24 first-half points | 14 second-half points
Week 2: 24 first-half points | 0 second-half points
Week 3: 24 first-half points | 0 second-half points
It's awesome that the Birds have put up 24 points in each game so far this year, but this whole "start hot, fade fast" vibe is not going to work against good teams.
Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts need to get this corrected immediately because if they don't, this still-brief trend could become a habit with the Eagles not facing much legitimate competition for weeks to come. Why change when it's working, right? But just like a bad pass can result in a touchdown, this rough approach to winning games isn't sustainable and it's not smart.
I haven't really seen a lack of aggression from the Eagles' offense in the second halves. Hurts is still taking shots downfield, they're just not connecting as often. The third-down calls aren't bad, they're just not converting as regularly. I don't have a single thing to point to as the culprit for these uninspired second halves. I wish I did; that would make it much easier. They just aren't executing as well.
Maybe Sirianni and his coaching staff have sensed something they can work on. I hope they have. Otherwise this style of play is going to come back to bite them at some point and cost them a win they otherwise should've salted away with ease.
2. Jalen Hurts is a Top 5 QB right now
Here's a list of quarterbacks I would want leading my team this season over Jalen Hurts:
That's it. Jalen Hurts is currently playing like the fifth-best quarterback in the NFL, and frankly he could be higher depending on who you ask.
Eagles were not having the same first-down success as last week which meant longer third downs, and Hurts' accuracy and timing on the longer throws was pretty iffy on the team's first two drives. He started the 1-for-5 with a late third down throw to Brown and a throw behind Smith.
I'd wondered how Hurts would look with tighter coverage at the corners after the Vikings gave him a ton of space to operate last week:
Was this going to be a problem?
Nah. Hurts settled in and started making great throws.
He's doing everything well right now. He's hitting easy mid-level throws, like the 40-yarder to Grant Calcaterra to open the second half. He's making easy throws, like one in the flat to Zach Pascal to pick up a first down in the second quarter. He's giving A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith chances at big moments by putting the ball in winnable positions on shot plays.
My main complaints about Hurts' game heading into this season were his decisiveness and his accuracy. He sometimes seemed reluctant to make a fast decision, knowing he could bail himself out of eventual pressure with his legs, which led to missed opportunities. And sometimes his ball placement last year was just off the mark, leading to a completion percentage (61.3%) that ranked 26th in the league among qualified passers.
This year Hurts knows his offense and is showing it. He's making decisions early in plays and communicating effective changes at the line (just look at the chatter between Hurts and his wide receivers on Brown's touchdown catch in the second quarter), and he's completing passes with much better accuracy (67% through three games) than last season.
If Hurts keeps this up, the "it's only been X games" excuses will start to fade and he'll simply be an elite quarterback... if he isn't already.
3. This is Carson Wentz's last year as a starting QB
If you still believe in Carson Wentz, I simply don't know what to tell you.
He turns 30 this season and he's still making rookie mistakes. He looks like the exact same guy that he was in 2018, and 2019, and 2020, and 2021. His MVP-worthy 2017 campaign continues to look like one of the great outlier seasons in NFL history.
And after this year, I don't think he will ever be a starter in the NFL again.
The guy just makes the game so difficult, for himself and for his team.
He has shown time and time again that he won't learn from his past. He still holds on to the ball too long:
Gonna be a long day for the boys in burgundy ð ð pic.twitter.com/8TuazfC0M8
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 25, 2022
He still can't make simple three-yard throws into the flat or over the middle, constantly throwing off-target or airing it out past his guy.
His play style doesn't just make Wentz look bad, it makes his whole team look bad. He takes bad sacks on third downs instead of throwing it away, making Ron Rivera's life harder if he wants to go for it on fourth down. He turns the ball over consistently, making the defense's life harder with short fields.
Sure, he can still uncork a deep bomb to Terry McLaurin every once in a while. But Wentz is simply a bad investment at the QB position, and I can't imagine any team believing in him and his "potential" after this season.
We all know who he is. And he's bad.