The Philadelphia Eagles are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, and they have shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Second-year head coach Nick Sirianni and company have made massive strides from where they were at this point last year. Last year, after playing six games, the Eagles were 2-4, and no one was even considering talking about them as legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
2021 was not only Nick Sirianni's first year as a head coach, it was Jalen Hurts' first year as an NFL starting quarterback. Pair these two things together and you are bound to have some growing pains, which the Eagles definitely did. Their offense lacked the threat of the big play, and while they were statistically the best rushing team in the NFL, it was only enough to squeak into the playoffs at 9-8.
Hurts So Good: Philly's Star QB Coming into His Own
So far this season, the Eagles are still dominating the run game, but they have been able to open their offense up with the addition of Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown. Brown and Hurts were friends before the trade with the Titans happened, and their connection is extremely visible on the field. Brown has been able to make an immediate impact and even had 155 receiving yards in his first game with his new quarterback and team. Brown has also made it impossible for defenses to stack the box against the Eagles, leaving even more rushing room for the best running quarterback and offensive line in the league.
The whole NFL knows that Jalen Hurts excels at both throwing and running the ball, and Sirianni makes sure he is not underutilizing his quarterback's full skillset. In each game, there is a combination of designed runs for Hurts mixed with run-pass options. These plays allow Hurts to read the defense and make the decision, showing the trust Coach Sirianni has in his quarterback, even though some might say he is inexperienced.
Last year, Hurts led all quarterbacks by a wide margin with 784 rushing yards and ten touchdowns. While many pointed out the risks involved with letting your most valuable player take that many hits, Coach Sirianni has stuck with his gut and allowed his players to do what they do best. His strategy is working better than he ever could have expected, and this young coach and quarterback duo is quickly winning over a very stubborn Philadelphia fanbase.
With his play so far this season, Hurts has impressed more than just Eagles fans, he has put the whole league on notice. Out of all quarterbacks, Hurts has the eighth-most passing and second-most rushing yards. His twelve total touchdowns are good for fourth in the NFL and have been a huge reason why Philadelphia boasts the third-best scoring offense, averaging 26.8 points per game.
Sirianni's Offense Unlocks Hurts' Potential
Along with scoring a lot of points, Sirianni's offense has been fantastic at taking care of the ball. Hurts has thrown only two interceptions this season, and he has shown why his coach has so much trust in him. As long as Hurts can continue to make the right decisions, this offense is going to continue to succeed. Sirianni's schemes rely on opening the field up by running the ball and short gains like the run-pass options mentioned earlier. While there were flashes of how well this worked last year, Hurts did not seem nearly as comfortable as he does now when he has to make a split-second decision.
The Eagles will come out of their bye week to some very winnable games against the Steelers, Texans, and Commanders. These three teams have fewer wins among them than the Eagles so far this season, and with two of these games in Philly, they should dominate.
No one thought this team would be undefeated as long as they have been, and with a week of rest to rejuvenate them, there is no reason why the streak should not continue. Coach Sirianni has done an incredible job of getting the offense to come out firing, and they are averaging 21 points in the first half, which is the best in the NFL by five points. If the Eagles start these next few games as they have been, they can put all three of those teams away early.
There are so many possibilities when a team decides to start a new quarterback and hire a new head coach in the same year. Now in their second year together, Eagles fans seem to have hit the lottery with the pair their team went with, and now it is just a matter of how far they can go and what they will achieve together.
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