Decision-Making From Eagles’ Jalen Hurts
It all starts with the quarterback. The former University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts has proved his worth to the franchise this season. The 2020 second-round pick has improved tremendously after a shaky start to his NFL career. Last season, head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen assembled an offense focused on running the ball last season. This season, however, Hurts has been more decisive with his throws, darting passes in all areas of the field to his plethora of receivers. Simply put, Hurts does not force the ball and makes excellent decisions for the offense. Can Hurts sustain this level of play throughout the remainder of the regular season, though?
Running Backs Protecting The Ball
Running backs Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott have protected the ball in 2022. In eight games for the Eagles, the trio has not committed a fumble that resulted in a turnover. In previous years, Sanders and the company have had issues putting the ball on the turf. In 2022, the Eagles ball carriers have done an excellent job of protecting the rock in route to an 8-0 start to the season. With outstanding success thus far, questions will arise as to whether running backs can protect the stone in less-than-ideal weather conditions and colder climates.
Miles Sanders is a TD machine 😅 (via @Eagles)pic.twitter.com/cTNvw0A4OH — ESPN Fantasy Sports (@ESPNFantasy) November 4, 2022
Sure-Handed Wide Receivers
Moving on to the receivers, they have done a fine job with looking passes in and catching everything being thrown by Jalen Hurts. A core led by the explosive duo of A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith, the Eagles have dropped just eight passes on the year, good for the fourth lowest in the NFL in 2022. Credit to receivers coach Aaron Moorehead for getting on his receivers and coaching them up with better technique this season. Comparative to last season, the team has committed fewer drops resulting in more explosive plays from the offense. As stated previously concerning the running game, the December and January weather may factor in reeling in passes as the season progresses.
Offensive Line Production
Rounding out the offense is the offensive line. Regarded as perhaps the best unit in the league, it’s not a surprise to see this unit mauling opposing defenses this season. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has his group playing at an elite level this year. Despite absences from left tackle Jordan Mailata and right tackle Lane Johnson, former Auburn tackle Jack Driscoll has stepped in and played well. In addition, backup guard Sua Opeta and backup center Cam Jurgens have played meaningful snaps on the line this year. All in all, the Eagles enjoy a multitude of riches at the position.
While the Eagles’ sacks allowed numbers are up compared to last year, the rushing lanes have been plentiful. On top of that, this season, Jalen Hurts has had plenty of protection when making key throws in crucial situations. The Eagles’ draft philosophy of building through the trenches has worked wonders for the front office, and this season is no exception. However, as the season progresses and players wear down, the offensive lines’ health could be an issue. With this Eagles offensive line having an extensive injury history, they’re one play away from a backup being named a permanent starter.
.@JalenHurts ➡️ @1kalwaysopen_ again 😤#PITvsPHI | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/lCr5oWZNNB — Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 30, 2022
The Eagles have committed just three turnovers in eight games. With 18 total touchdowns this season, the team has a turnover margin of +15. Philadelphia not only leads the league in this category, but they are also the only team in the NFL with a differential of plus-ten or more. The offense is playing collectively perfect, or close to it, football, and turnover margin is a huge factor in the team being undefeated in 2022. The leveling-out process for the offense may take time, but one has to think it will happen before the end of the season.
Scoring At Will
Points scored are a moniker for a powerhouse offense in the NFL. The Eagles sit at number two across the league in points per game (28.1), and touchdowns scored (29), respectively. They’re also the only team in the NFL to have scored 20-plus points in every game played this season. However, opposing defenses have had trouble containing this team on the scoreboard in 2022. Even the best teams in the league have a week or two throughout a season where they put up a dud. While the Eagles haven’t been susceptible to losing a game and putting up a weak offensive performance, their time may be coming before the season’s end.
Wrapping Things Up
While the Philadelphia Eagles lead the league in wins, points scored, total touchdowns, and more, the production drop-off is sure to come. Sustainability within the National Football League is hard to come by. While the league continues to churn out innovative offenses fit with MVP-level talent, defenses seem to adjust and adapt. While Philadelphia leads the NFL in all major offensive categories, it’s hard to imagine they can continue to produce the yardage and points through the regular season’s second half. Can they do it? We’ll have to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.