The Eagles picked up two wins in five days to extend their record to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. Although the Birds are having a historic season, if you ask any member of this team, they're just getting started. I'll take you inside the locker room and around the NovaCare Complex as Philly has a mini-bye week before preparing for another game in prime time.
A TRUSTED PROCESS IN PHILADELPHIA
The Eagles bye came in Week 7, followed by a Week 8 home game against Pittsburgh. Players and coaches alike said the time off allowed for self-scouting, but also was a chance to get ahead on gameplanning for Week 9 in Houston.
There was a lot of confidence in the process. Sirianni said there are always adjustments to be made when developing both his process and approach to each new week, but with a quick turnaround to prepare for the Texans, the focus was on high-energy walkthroughs and diligent meetings.
"It's full speed to the snap in walkthrough, full speed to the snap in walkthrough, high detail in meeting. So, we've trained to do this, and we have great guys that know what it takes to get to the top of the mountain and know what it takes to prepare – they set the tone for everything," Sirianni said.
Following the win in Houston, Sirianni said players and staff spent the plane ride back to Philly rewatching the game.
"Right now 8-0 is fine, but it's not the goal," Sirianni said. "There are a lot of goals, but none of them can be accomplished unless you take care of business each week, so always our goal is to handle this week and feel good about it because we have a little bit more time to sit with it."
In the Eagles' win against the Steelers, Jalen Hurts threw a career-high four touchdowns. Postgame, he fielded questions about his development as a passer.
"I think it's about being able to be a threat in many different ways, and that's something that a guy like me has the ability to do that," Hurts commented. "Naturally, I've been able to run – we talk about dual-threat, but I like to call it triple-threat. You have to be able to kill them with your legs at times, make the throws when you need to in the passing game, and kill them with your mind, what you see and how you act."
I followed up with Hurts on the topic during his weekly press conference. I wanted to know when he realized that the mental component to the game was just as important as what he can do with his arm and his legs.
"I think it's something that is often overlooked when you talk about a quarterback's game," Hurts said. "The third threat of trying to be a coach on the field and knowing what I'm supposed to do and knowing everybody's job – it's something I definitely challenge myself to do and it's not easy. It's not easy. It takes a lot of preparation."
A.J. Brown said as one of Hurts' receivers, he certainly benefits from his quarterback's commitment to the mental side of the game. However, Brown joked that sometimes he just wants Jalen to "relax," and be proud of what he's accomplished.
"That's who he is. That's the person he is and I admire that from afar and he's teaching me something," Brown said.
On Thursday night in his hometown of Houston, Hurts showed yet again how to win with all three components. He completed 21 of his 27 pass attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he carried the ball nine times for 23 yards.
Hurts now owns the record for most consecutive regular-season wins by an Eagles quarterback with 11. He is also the leader of an 8-0 team – something he remains very business-like when asked about the record.
"I know it's special for the City of Philadelphia – I've been 8-0 before and lost in the National Championship. So just take it day by day. Take it day by day. We haven't accomplished anything yet and it's a day-by-day thing of us controlling the things we can, playing to our standard, and trying to grow every day. I think that's truly what it's about."
Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen was asked if Hurts' vast improvement this season has come as a surprise. Steichen quickly responded that he had no doubt Hurts would produce at this high level.
"The way he has been playing, the way he goes about his process and his business, it's tremendous," Steichen said. "The guys feed off it. You see it on the practice field, you see it in the meeting rooms, and to carry it over every Sunday and being consistent – that's what you want in a quarterback, and he's doing that now."
RUNNING FOR MILES
Running back Miles Sanders is having the best season of his career. He's the team's leading rusher with 656 yards through eight games that ranks sixth amongst all NFL running backs in 2022.
What's most impressive? His patience and power to get downhill. As he's developed as more of a patient runner recently, it's allowed him to gain more yards after contact. Heading into Houston, Sanders had 431 rushing yards after contact and ranked in the top 10 in his position group in that category.
Sanders was just shy of 100 yards on Thursday night and has been averaging a career-high 80.4 yards per game – his best game coming in Week 4 against Jacksonville when he put 134 yards on the ground.
On October 28, leading into Pittsburgh week, Sirianni was asked about the "spark" Sanders has provided.
"Miles is obviously our guy and is making big plays on top of big plays," Sirianni said. "That's not something that's surprising to us because we see that in practice every day."
Sirianni also mentioned how the running back group as a whole has played fundamentally sound football, not one back has committed a turnover this season.
If you ask Sanders, Boston Scott, or Kenneth Gainwell, they all point to the offensive line led by Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland. Sanders ended his postgame press conference on Thursday night saying, "shout out to the O-line, shout out to Coach Stout, and the defense, yes sir!"
As long as the unit upfront continues to produce at the level they've been, this trio of backs has many miles to go.
The Eagles look to extend their perfect start to the season while maintaining an undefeated all-time record against the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football.