American Football

The Linc – Jonathan Gannon has “yet to deliver a defining defensive exhibition against a top-shelf QB”


NFL: SEP 25 Eagles at Commanders
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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 12/27/22.

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links …

What we learned from Eagles-Cowboys: Jonathan Gannon’s record vs. top quarterbacks remains suspect – Inquirer
Jonathan Gannon still struggles against top-tier quarterbacks. Let’s address the elephant in the room — a mind-boggling third-and-30 blown coverage — first. Question Jonathan Gannon’s Cover 2 call all you like, but if Josiah Scott does his job, T.Y. Hilton doesn’t likely get behind the secondary for a 52-yard grab. Scott said he was communicating the call as Dallas quickly snapped and was thus late to react to the receiver’s route. Some fans wanted cornerback Darius Slay to cover for his teammate, but that’s just not how it works. He was playing trail technique and was responsible for the curl-to-flat. Scott was supposed to have the deep half. Credit Prescott and Hilton, as well. They took advantage of a mistake. But there was plenty of Prescott taking advantage of the Eagles. He completed all 24 of his passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns vs. zone looks, according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats. That’s, uh, not good. So that would mean — gets calculator out — Prescott was just 3-of-11 for 47 yards and an interception vs. man defense. Gannon played a little more man than usual, but the disparity in numbers reflected an inability to adjust. […] Now is not the time to panic. Gannon should have enough against New Orleans. The Andy Daltons of the NFL haven’t given him headaches. It’s top-tier quarterbacks who can pick apart his soft zones who have. Gannon’s defensive backs have been sound in executing his calls most of the season. But if the pass rush doesn’t get home — and there were some early lulls against the Cowboys — the better throwers of the league will find the schematic holes. Maybe Gannon didn’t want to show all of his cards with the possibility of a postseason rematch. He didn’t get particularly exotic when it came to receiver CeeDee Lamb, who caught 10 of 11 targets for 120 yards and two touchdowns. But Gannon has yet to deliver a defining defensive exhibition against a top-shelf quarterback.

More bad injury news for the Eagles – BGN
The injury bug sure is biting the Philadelphia Eagles hard lately. Not too long after it was reported that Lane Johnson is out for at least the rest of the regular season with an abdominal issue, NFL Network reported that Avonte Maddox is “out indefinitely.” The Eagles’ nickel cornerback is said to have a “significant toe injury.” Maddox got hurt on a play where he sacked Dak Prescott during the Eagles’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys. For the most part, Maddox was looking pretty good prior to the injury. And the Eagles sure looked a lot worse without him with Josiah Scott getting abused in the slot. Scott’s struggles prompted the team to give K’Von Wallace some playing time at nickel. It’s hard to feel great about those guys as the top options in the slot moving forward.

Adversity Strikes – Iggles Blitz
Ugh. Maddox has looked good as the NB in the last two years. Josiah Scott took over for him on Sunday and struggled. As Ian noted in the tweet, if CGJ returns, he could take over as the NB. He played that role for the Saints and was quite good at it. Scott has been involved with multiple coverage breakdowns this year. He has the physical ability to be a functional NB, but he seems to get confused when offenses attack his side with bunch sets and/or intertwining routes. And you sure don’t want him one-on-one with a receiver like CeeDee Lamb. If Scott is the NB in the postseason, teams will attack him over and over. As for Jalen Hurts, lots of speculation by insiders, but no real news. He will do everything he can to play this week. The Eagles also have to be smart. They don’t want him to rush back and get hurt again. They need him for the playoffs more than anything. We’ll deal with lots of speculation, but probably won’t know anything for sure until Thursday or Friday.

2022 Eagles starting to look like 2017 Eagles, and that’s OK – NBCSP
And as we sit here wondering when Jalen Hurts will be able to play again and how the Eagles will manage without Avonte Maddox and how much time Lane Johnson will have to miss and how this team is going to possibly rebound after flat-out handing a game to the Cowboys, it’s hard not to think back to that 2017 team, which powered through way more challenges than this team has faced and wound up parading up Broad Street. Every NFL team is going to have injuries and bad losses and fumbles at the worst possible time and loose balls that bounce the wrong way and unthinkable penalties and near-interceptions and disasters in coverage and blown leads and special teams catastrophes and you name it. And that stuff can kill a team. And it often does. The lesson we learned in 2017 is that if you’re mentally tough enough and physically skilled enough and have tremendous leadership from your veterans and unfailing positivity from your head coach, you can overcome anything.

The First Read, Week 17: Four things that will be decided this week; updated MVP rankings –
2) The NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. Philadelphia (13-2) would’ve been sitting pretty if it had beaten the Cowboys in Week 16. Instead, a 40-34 loss means it will have to wait until Sunday’s home meeting with New Orleans to clinch the NFC East and a first-round bye. The Eagles clearly had their chances to leave Dallas with a victory. They’ll have even more opportunities to succeed against a Saints team that has been erratic all season. The major question here is whether Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts will be healthy enough to play after sitting out this past week with a shoulder sprain. His backup, Gardner Minshew, played admirably, but four turnovers (including two picks and a fumble by Minshew) doomed the Eagles in that Dallas loss. This matchup might necessitate Hurts’ return to the field, even if he’s not 100 percent. After all, the Saints have been stingier on defense lately — allowing just 58 points over their last four games — and at 6-9, they’re trying to keep their own flickering postseason hopes alive. There’s no reason for the Eagles to wait until Week 18 to seal the top seed. They also know the Vikings (12-3) are still pushing for that bye, even though Philadelphia holds the tiebreaker over Minnesota. The bottom line here is that the Eagles are the better team, one that is coming off a frustrating loss and playing a high-stakes game in front of their home crowd. The smart move is to believe in them.

Which NFL GMs have helped and hurt their teams the most in 2022? – The Athletic
Up: Howie Roseman, Philadelphia Eagles. The GM and his staff are being rewarded for having the foresight to draft Jalen Hurts, who replaced Carson Wentz as starter late in his 2020 rookie season, and to replace coach Doug Pederson with Nick Sirianni in 2021. In the offseason, Roseman made aggressive moves to surround Hurts with weapons (wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, among others) and the best line in football. He also upgraded the secondary with the key signing of James Bradberry to play opposite Darius Slay. It has all added up to give the Eagles, at 13-2, the best record in the league.

Nick Sirianni updates injury situation and more –
Dawg mentality. “When you have a group of guys like we have and the leaders that we have with a Lane Johnson, with Brandon Graham, with Jason Kelce and Jake Elliott and Jalen and Fletch (Fletcher Cox) and (Darius) Slay and those captains, and even those guys on our leadership council and even guys beyond that, these guys aren’t going to be phased,” Sirianni said. “We’re going to move on, we’re going to correct our mistakes (from the loss at Dallas) and move on from that. “One of the earliest talks that we have in Training Camp is ‘how are we going to, adversity is coming. I don’t know when it is and in what direction it will come, it could come in your personal life, it could be in your football life, it can be anything, how are we going to handle that?’ That’s something that you just know about life, and football is no different. When you have to go through those things in life and when you have to go through those things in football when you have the leaders we have, it makes those roads a little bit easier to navigate. “We’re going to dig deeper, we’re going to find more answers.”

7 Cowboys lessons learned in the Eagles win – Blogging The Boys
They did not have a lack of opportunity, as Minshew dropped back to throw 40 times. But they again did not get a single sack or even a QB hit. It was like a switch was thrown from on to off after the team led the league in sacks through the early part of the season. However, they did generate pressure, and unlike in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, it appears to have really helped throw Minshew off enough to make the crucial final stop of the game. Still, to see the clear strength of the team suddenly take a leave of absence is more than disturbing. Dallas needs to find it again in the final two games before the postseason. It the biggest issue on a defense that has some other things yet to work on. The Cowboys only punted once. The Eagles never had to. That seems an issue to consider.

NFC playoff picture, Week 17: Giants aim for clinching party Sunday at MetLife Stadium – Big Blue View
The New York Giants can clinch their first playoff berth since 2016 with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The 8-6-1 Giants are 3-point favorites over the 4-9-1 Colts, who face the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night. The Giants are hoping for a victory celebration with their home fans on Sunday.

Washington Commanders will announce new mascot on Sunday; the Hogs could sue Dan Snyder over the name – Hogs Haven
The Washington Commanders announced their new name, logos, and uniforms on 2/2/22 after a campaign that supposedly took fan input into the selection process. They also worked on a mascot and we’re set to announce it during Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns. The final two choices were hog and dog. Washington sent out promotional emails for the game last week that said the Hogs would be recognized, and former Head Coach Joe Gibbs would be in attendance.

Knee-jerk Reactions: Colts Fall to 4-10-1 After Losing 20-3 Against Chargers on Monday Night Football – Stampede Blue
NICK FOLES HAS ATROCIOUS PERFORMANCE IN DEBUT AS STARTING QB. The change at quarterback didn’t matter. Despite benching Matt Ryan and turning to another veteran in Nick Foles, Indy’s offense had another atrocious performance against the Chargers Monday night. Foles completed just 16 of his 27 passes for 143 yards with zero touchdowns and three interceptions. Foles was sacked seven total times on the night, the second-most the Colts’ offensive line has surrendered all season. In total, Indy’s offensive line have given up 56 sacks through 15 games this season, a number the unit last gave up in 2017 when Jacoby Brissett was the starter. Indy’s offense also went 0-for-10 on third down conversions, which is the second time the offense has failed to convert on third down this season (0-for-14 against New England). As a unit, Indy’s offense mustered just 173 total yards and averaged 3.5 yards per play. Some may point to Foles’ lack of reps with the offense as one of the reasons for his awful performance. While partially true, Indy’s offense has been awful for almost the entire 2022 season, and another sudden change at signal-caller wasn’t going to magically fix the same issues we’ve seen most of the season. Although it’s been just one game, perhaps it’s already time to bench Foles and turn to Sam Ehlinger for the remaining two games of the season. At this point, it can’t hurt, especially if Indy wants to get a bit longer of an evaluation on Ehlinger’s potential moving forward.

How Brock Purdy and George Kittle sank the Commanders – SB Nation
The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. There is a oft-repeated phrase around NFL circles, that “you want to be playing your best football at the end of the season.” The San Francisco 49ers might be the latest example of that theory. While the 49ers are down to their third-string quarterback, rookie Brock Purdy, they have won eight-straight games, including all three of Purdy’s starts. With talent on offense, and one of the league’s best defenses, the 49ers look scary right now. But there was something about their victory over the Washington Commanders that should terrify the rest of the NFC. The best statline of the season from tight end George Kittle. The tight end caught 6 passes for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with the 120 yards representing a season-high. In the past two weeks, Kittle has four touchdown receptions, matching his four touchdown catches through the first 15 weeks of the season. And on Saturday against the Commanders the rookie quarterback and his tight end found a few different ways to punish the Washington defense.

Monday Football Monday #120: NFL Week 16 Action Recap – The SB Nation NFL Show
***The news that the Denver Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett was released after recording this episode.*** Happy Holidays everyone! RJ Ochoa and Pete Sweeney run through all of the NFL action from this past holiday weekend.

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