Did you miss them? The Eagles didn't play during Week 7 due to the bye week, but don't fret; they'll be back at home on Sunday afternoon. Preparations are underway for the team's upcoming game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Steelers. Until then, here's your fix of all things Eagles in today's Morning Roundup!
Eagles Insider: A critical key to the Eagles' 6-0 start? Discipline
There are a lot of things to like about the Eagles' 6-0 start to this 2022 season and we can run down the very long list that includes the running game, an explosive passing game, a defense that leads the NFL with 14 takeaways, and an offense that has only given the ball away twice. The Eagles have won games with a pinch-kicker (thanks Cameron Dicker), they've won raucous home games, and they've gone on the road and done it in front of equally off-the-chain Eagles fans in enemy territory.
Something about the first six games that jumped off the page – and something we all saw in the Week 6 win over Dallas – was a team that has played with terrific discipline. The two offensive giveaways speak to that – a number that is by far the fewest in the league and helps the Eagles to an NFL-best +12 in the giveaway/takeaway category – and so does the team's penalty picture. Philadelphia is averaging 5.2 penalties per game, seventh best in the NFL. In Sunday night's 26-17 win over the Cowboys, the Eagles committed just two penalties for 10 lost yards.
Impressive. And important.
"I think fundamentally we just keep getting better," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "Our players are getting better fundamentally, and our coaches are coaching them better fundamentally. Players are going out there and executing and not putting themselves in tough spots sometimes. When we are making penalties, I don't think we did a good enough job explaining it to them and talking it through with them and then them having to go out and do the hard job and executing it."
You know when you hear Sirianni talk about "correcting mistakes" and you think, "Well, what is he correcting? How can I know for sure?" The penalty numbers spell it out very clearly. In the opener at Detroit, the Eagles had 10 penalties called against them, seven on the offense. It was a bit of a sloppy start, with a handful of those penalties happening when offensive linemen were whistled for being downfield prematurely on a passing play. In the Week 2 win over Minnesota, the Eagles had eight penalties called against them, with seven on the offense.
"We have some things to clean up," guard Landon Dickerson said after that game, "and we'll get them cleaned up."
Tape Study: Jeff Stoutland provides a masterclass on offensive line play
Fran Duffy hosted Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland on this week's Tape Study. He highlighted the early-season play of the offensive line, including the development of Jordan Mailata and Jason Kelce's importance to the unit. Here's a look into his film breakdown:
Stoutland: I use a phrase called "execution fuels emotion." You watch DeVonta here, this is the kind of stuff that we're talking about. When we speak like this, you see the excitement and the enthusiasm by based on a well-executed play. That's the kind of reaction you get from a player.
Fran Duffy: It's gotta be exciting too, coach, as the wide receivers, the tight ends, the running backs, everybody involved in the screen pass, everybody involved in the run game. So you know, hey, on this play, I'm gonna be the one blocking but I'm also gonna be catching screen passes and these guys are going to be helping me out as well.
Stoutland: Absolutely. We're all in on this. You have to be in football. When we slide to the front, you're seeing it create tremendous space right here on Jordan Mailata, which is dangerous. It's like your mom says 'Don't touch the stove.' When it's on, it's dangerous. This is dangerous. Now we know this. And we understand this. And so as soon as Mailata gets this up and under move, he's hearing my voice in meetings, he's hearing my voice on the field. It's dangerous, you must be on high alert for this type of action. So you see him here, come back and see the sense of urgency and trying to snatch this defender so we can't get through.
Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast: Stats that tell the story of the Eagles' 6-0 start
Fran Duffy was joined by four guests on the Bye Week edition of the Eagle Eye In The Sky Podcast. Here's a look at the three-and-out segment, where Ben Fennell and Chris McPherson talk numbers that help tell the story of the first six games.
Favorite stat entering the bye week
C-Mac: A number that jumps out at me is Jalen Hurts's 8.2 yards per attempt, almost a full yard over what he accomplished last season.
Ben Fennell: Let's look at three-and-outs, the ability to have three plays and off the field. We're second defensively in creating three-and-out percentage, over 41% and tied for first offensively in not having those three-and-outs.
Fran Duffy: A year ago at this time, the Eagles were dead last in the NFL in blitz percentage defensively, but now they're in the middle of the pack at 18th in blitz percentage.
Favorite 'Yes, but …' stats
Ben Fennell: I think we're seeing Jalen Hurts create a lot with his legs both in structure and out of structure. I think in the non-structure, what we call these scrambling situations, it's been a little high this year, a 5.6% Scramble rate, that's third highest. 25 scrambles in total, that's the second highest, creating a lot of first downs creating a lot of yardage off of that. But, is that coming at the expense of the pass game? The expense of open receivers? Is he running a little prematurely?
Fran Duffy: The Eagles right now are actually last in the NFL offensively in shifted motion percentages, according to the PFF. Last in the NFL at 34%, which is crazy that that's the low mark –- the average in the NFL is 54%. What's interesting is that yes, they are low in that number, they're the lowest in the NFL. But, when they use motion and when they use shifting, they are very, very effective.
C-Mac: As good as this defensive unit is, the defensive line is allowing almost five yards per carry. That's 27th in the NFL. Yes, the Eagles are giving up a little bit of ground yardage here. But, it's better that, to me, than an 80-yard touchdown pass, which is a quick score, you haven't taken any time off the clock, it's a momentum shifter, it kind of really creates a snowball effect.
Small sample size or telling stat?
Fran Duffy: The Eagles are second in the NFL right now on third down in the first half of games –- 27%, an outstanding number. Then, go to the second half, they're 62.2% on third down. That is last by a wide margin.
C-Mac: According to Football Outsiders, their great DVOA metric, in second half, one-score games, they Eagles offense is fourth best in the NFL. What that speaks to me is even though they may be getting out to these big leads and teams are coming back, the Eagles find ways offensively to put the game away.
Ben Fennell: I've gotta give some credit to Jalen Hurts as a passer – right now, he has the highest yards per attempt between the numbers. It's a big sample size.