A hidden advantage the Eagles may have Sunday at FedEx Field, an encouraging performance by an older veteran, a ridiculous Dallas Goedert stat and one thing the next seven quarterbacks the Eagles face have in common.
The Eagles are undefeated, Roob’s 10 Random Observations are undefeated and we’ll both try to keep it going this weekend!
1. Washington has a few terrific defensive linemen in tackles Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen and edge Montez Sweat. But one thing they don’t have up front is depth. Payne has played 82 percent of Washington’s defensive snaps, Allen 81 percent and Sweat 79 percent. Those are astronomical figures at a position where most teams rotate a bunch of guys on and off the field. The Eagles, for example, don’t have a lineman that’s played 65 percent of the snaps. Washington’s lack of depth up front forces them to play Payne, Allen and Sweat way more than they probably want to. That could give the Eagles a big advantage late in the game Sunday because their offensive line can really wear down that Washington d-line as the game goes on if those guys are playing that many snaps. Could be a real advantage as we get into the third quarter. We know the Eagles love to go tempo and they’re very good at it. They’ve run 18 no-huddle snaps in each of their first two games – that’s 27 percent of their plays – and out of eight possessions in which they’ve run at least two no-huddle snaps, they’ve scored six touchdowns ( along with an unsuccessful 4th down and a blocked field goal). What better way to attack a d-line that’s playing too many snaps and could be gassed by the second half than by going up-tempo and really trying to take it to that defensive front with the best o-line in the league? I’d expect a ton of tempo from the Eagles Sunday at FedEx.
2. One of the most encouraging things to come out of the Eagles’ win over the Vikings Monday night was the performance of Fletcher Cox. He finished with four pressures, a sack, a QB hit and two hurries, and his Pro Football Focus grade jumped up from 50.8 in Detroit to 79.8, his 3rd-highest in his last 31 games and highest since the Raiders game last October. Honestly, Fletch looked shot in the opener, and his play Monday maybe wasn’t up to his old all-pro days, but the Eagles don’t need the 2017 or 2018 version of Fletch. They just need the 31-year-old six-time Pro Bowler to be a solid rotational piece, and on Monday night he was that and more.
3. Jalen Hurts’ performance against the Vikings was his third career game with 330 passing yards and 50 rushing yards. The only players with more in their entire career are Steve Young (7) and Russell Wilson (4).
4. Dallas Goedert is averaging 11.3 yards per target over the last two seasons, which is absolutely absurd. That’s the highest in the NFL since opening day 2021 — not just among tight ends but all players with at least 75 targets. So he’s averaging more yards per target than every wide receiver in the NFL. His combination of picking up 15.2 yards per catch and catching 74 percent of his targets makes him as efficient as any receiver in football. When you factor in his next-level blocking? There will be a point – and it’s not that far off – where we talk about Goedert as the best tight end in football.
5. None of the next seven quarterbacks the Eagles are currently scheduled to face has won a playoff game. Carson Wentz (twice) and Kyler Murray are 0-1, Mitch Trubisky is 0-2, and Trevor Lawrence, Cooper Rush and Davis Mills haven’t played in the postseason. The only remaining QBs the Eagles are slated to face this year who have won a playoff game are Matt Ryan (3-6), Aaron Rodgers (11-10) and presumably Dak Prescott (1-3).
6. If you’re an Eagles fan, who do you root for in that Monday Night Giants-Cowboys game in East Rutherford? The Giants are 2-0, and the Cowboys are 1-1, but you would think that the Cowboys are still more of a legitimate threat in the NFC East than the Giants. But do you really want the Giants to be 3-0? I guess a lot of it comes down to how long Dak Prescott is going to be out. If he’s going to miss half the season, then you root for the Cowboys, with the thought that they’re going to lose their share of other games anyway. But if Prescott is really going to be back in a few weeks, it’s probably better if the Giants win to get Dallas as many losses as possible before Prescott returns. But honestly? It probably doesn’t matter because the Eagles are better than both of them.
7. Miles Sanders’ 5.1 rushing average [5.13] is 4th-highest in NFL history by a running back after 42 games (minimum 500 carries). He trails only Bo Jackson [5.4]Jonathan Taylor [5.3] and Nick Chubb [5.2] and is just ahead of Chris Johnson [5.06] and Barry Sanders [5.0], the highest Hall of Famer on the list. Shady is 10th at 4.9.
8. The Eagles have to get more out of their return game because two games in, they’re right back to where they were last year – 25th in punt return average, 27th in kick return average and dead last in average field position, starting their average drive at their own 22-yard-line. Incredibly, only three of their 20 drives so far have started outside their own 25. Twelve have started inside the 20. They already have four TD drives of 80 yards or more, most in the league, and they also lead the league with 45 yards. per possession. With this offense? And these weapons? If they could get some decent field position, they’d be virtually unstoppable.
9. Have to admit I was a little concerned about TJ Edwards after the opener. That was one of his worst games since he became a starter early in 2020. But he looked like a different guy Monday night in terms of tackling, coverage and blitzing. It was surprising to see how poorly he played against the Lions because Edwards has always been so consistent, so steady and just such a physical presence. Edwards is such a key part of this defense. He’s in the middle of everything in both the run game and the pass game, and he’s got the green dot helmet and never leaves the field. The Eagles need Edwards to play at a high level, and it was a relief to see him doing it Monday night.
10. Eagles PR stat guru John Gonoude passed along this one from Pro Football Focus: Lane Johnson hasn’t given up a sack since Week 11 of the 2020 season and hasn’t even allowed a QB hit since Week 7 of last year. That’s 15 consecutive games without allowing a sack and 11 straight without allowing a QB hit. Incredible. Johnson’s ankle is finally healthy for the first time since the middle of 2018, and it shows. Nick Sirianni on Johnson: “Lane is the best right tackle in this league. I don’t even think it’s particularly close.”