#Opponents #daring #Eagles #run
The Eagles recorded a too-close-for-comfort 34-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings in front of a national audience last Thursday.
They were still the national narrative the following two days as wide receiver A.J. Brown looked anything but happy jawing on the sideline of that game with quarterback Jalen Hurts. Head coach Nick Sirianni stepped in to intervene.
After the game Sirianni’s explanation of “I didn’t see what was going on with that,” followed by “You don’t need to know what was going on right there” as well as Hurts’ comments of “We won, I don’t want to make it bigger than what it is,” stoked national conversations about the relationship between receiver and quarterback.
The bottom line is the Eagles are still figuring out how to keep pass catchers Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert involved and happy against defenses that are daring new play caller Brian Johnson to run the football.
The Eagles had 48 rushes for 259 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings, including 28 carries for 175 rushing yards and one score for D’Andre Swift, who had just one carry in Week 1.
Hurts completed 18 of 23 passes for 193 yards with four sacks. There were no complaints from Smith, who caught four balls for 131 yards and one TD. Goedert got six receptions for 22 yards after being targeted just once in the season-opening win over the New England Patriots. Brown had only four grabs for 29 yards, although he had a touchdown reception nullified by a holding penalty.
“It’s going to look like that when you have so many good players on your roster,” Sirianni said Monday. “Again, it’s tough because you always want to get them involved, but like 23 pass attempts to 48 rushing attempts? … Naturally somebody’s numbers are going to be a little bit low. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it goes. But I do believe that all these guys in this building genuinely love each other and genuinely are happy for each other’s success. Do they want to contribute because they know they’re capable? Of course. Do sometimes frustrations run high because they’re not able to? Of course. Those are all part of it.”
Sirianni couldn’t stop himself from revealing how he felt about the sideline blowup … or tiff … or intense discussion, whatever it was.
“I would say on a frustration scale – I wasn’t able to know fully about it until after the game, but on the frustration scale of what I have seen between receivers and quarterbacks, or whatever, we’re talking about a two out of 10. But, I get it. We have to have things to definitely talk about. In my opinion that’s what that was. That’s a two out of a 10.”
Sirianni is confident he and his coaching staff will find a way to play to the strengths of their receivers, just like the runners. The template for defending Hurts is out there courtesy of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Take away a top target or two and make Hurts beat you from the pocket.
“We’re not in a panic mode or anything like that,” Sirianni said. “Have the pass numbers been down? Yeah. Does the defense play into that? Of course, it does. Fortunately for us … not everybody has this luxury; we’re able to win on the ground and we are able to win in the air. So, you are able to balance off what the defense does. I thought Brian and the offensive staff did a phenomenal job of saying, ‘OK, they’re packing this in the middle of the field right here and keeping all these guys high and having this three-down front. All right, cool. You guys are doing that. We’ll do what we have to do to win the game.’”
The Eagles are 2-0 with extra time this week to get ready for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night.
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