What they’re saying nationally about Eagles after 40-29 win over Saints

·7 min read

The Eagles took care of business on Sunday with a dominant 40-29 win over New Orleans at Lincoln Financial Field.

Philadelphia played with aggression and physicality, Miles Sanders returned for almost 100-yards and Darius Slay again found the end zone.

After weeks of jokes and ridicule, Nick Sirianni is looking like a good coach, Jalen Hurts like a good quarterback, and the Eagles like a legit playoff team.

Here’s what they’re saying nationally about the Birds.

Hurts is Eagles future at QB

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN

One of the biggest things working against Hurts is that Jeffrey Lurie is one of the most pass-minded (and therefore, heavy run-averse) owners in the league. He is into analytics big-time, and the analytics tell him that throwing is the way to go. There’s more than a touch of irony here, as Lurie was influential in the team’s decision to draft Hurts, and now the Eagles are running an offense that doesn’t quite fit Lurie’s belief system. The idea, however, wasn’t to draft Hurts to be QB1, but rather a dynamic No. 2 to Carson Wentz. History had other ideas. Wentz is long gone, Hurts has taken firm control of the reins, and with one of the softest finishing schedules in the NFL, the 5-6 Eagles are set up to make a hard charge at the postseason. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Philly a 39% chance to make the playoffs. Things are starting to fall into place, in no small part because of the electric play of Hurts. So long as that continues, the search for a different lead quarterback should be put on hold.

Eagles set to run right into the playoffs

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic

Yet the same question still looms that seems to define this Eagles season. Is Hurts the long-term answer at quarterback? The framing is false. That decision doesn’t need to be made now, nor does it need to be made next season. It’s also short-sighted to think that question could possibly have a final answer already. Consider how much Hurts has changed since his first start against the Saints a season ago — or since the start of this season. How much more comfortable he is in the pocket. How much better he is at avoiding turnovers. How much more in sync he and Sirianni have become. Players are allowed to grow, too. “Anytime you can run the ball like that, the linebackers have to respect it, the D-line has to respect it,” said Goedert. “They can’t just straight rush up the field. When we can get them to step up, and he’s been making incredible throws — and you can see it each week in practice. His timing’s getting better. His balls, just unbelievable. This whole week throwing it in practice, I was looking at him like, ‘You’ve got a golden arm right now. You’re dotting it.’ It carried over to the game. If he keeps playing the way he is, we’re gonna be real good.”

Hurts is rising in the East

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NFL.com

Hurts so good: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is one of those players who will always spur debate. When he’s struggling, there will be plenty of people who will nod and tell you how he’ll never be a franchise quarterback in this league. It’s an entirely different matter when he’s thriving. That’s when you start to see the possibilities, the qualities that can give him a chance to succeed for a long time if he continues to grow. Hurts has quietly been one of the better stories in this league over the past month. You wouldn’t have known it outside of the Philly area, because the Eagles started the season 2-5. But look at him now. Hurts has led the Eagles to three wins in their last four games, and he just scored three rushing touchdowns in a 40-29 win over New Orleans. He’s throwing the ball less frequently (he’s only had 78 pass attempts during that four-game stretch) but using his legs effectively in an offense that is far more run-heavy today (he’s had at least 55 yards rushing in every game in that time). In fact, Hurts has 618 rushing yards this season, with six left on the Eagles’ schedule, which means he has a pretty good chance of joining Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson as the only quarterback in league history to amass 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. There are still more questions for Hurts to answer in the coming weeks, particularly as a passer. However, the Eagles are contending for a playoff spot largely because he’s found a real comfort zone.

Darius Slay headed to Pro Bowl

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Inquirer

Too much can be made of the Pro Bowl and other such honors. Jason Kelce has been voted to four Pro Bowls, but there were far too many seasons when the Eagles center was overlooked for whatever the reason. But Slay seems to put some stock in the award, and I’m here to make the pitch that he at least belongs in the conversation based off the first 11 games.

The Rams’ Jalen Ramsey will likely get one of the NFC nods based upon his play and name recognition. The Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs could receive a lot of votes because he leads the NFL in interceptions with eight. But Slay has been the better cover corner, at least based upon Pro Football Focus’ rankings, which admittedly aren’t always the best gauge.

Nevertheless, Slay is now justifying last offseason’s trade-and-sign acquisition. He wasn’t necessarily bad a year ago, but he struggled in the three instances when Jim Schwartz had him shadow a top receiver. Gannon has called upon Slay only once this season, and the corner kept Panthers receiver DJ Moore in check. But he has adapted to the zone-heavy scheme and has started to live up to his “Big Play Slay” nickname over the last month.

Eagles playoff contenders amid a rebuild

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NJ.com

With the Eagles struggling to produce a home win during the first 10 weeks of the season, Nick Sirianni’s first victory at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday was one to remember, as the Eagles blew out the New Orleans Saints, 40-29.

The shellacking of the Saints might have marked a turning point for the Eagles: The win not only cleared the way for a playoff push but also made Philadelphia look like a team that no one wants to face down the stretch.

After facing elite talent at QB, Eagles will finish with duds?

Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Philly Voice

Siemian made one great play Sunday, extending a play on third and goal to find Adam Troutman for a first half touchdown. He also scampered for a touchdown run in garbage time. But aside from that he was dreadful, throwing two interceptions, including a pick-six to Darius Slay. His lack of a quick release or ability to regularly run made things easy on the Eagles pass rush, which tortured him all afternoon. And his throwing under duress made things easier for the Birds’ secondary. (We aren’t even going to acknowledge his two garbage time TDs late in the game.)

The trickle down effects of facing bad quarterbacks is palpable. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define a good QB this season as one who is among the leaders in fantasy football points per game this season (through 10 games).

Nick Sirianni a top-10 NFL head coach?

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles will run you out of the building

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

CBS Sports

They can run on anyone. Once Nick Sirianni committed to the ground game, the Eagles became one of the NFL’s steadiest offenses. Not even the Saints, with the No. 1 run “D,” had an answer for them.

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