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Morning Roundup: Jalen Hurts is 'always chasing that progress'

Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts

It is Philadelphia vs. Kansas City on Monday Night Football. Get ready for a meeting between the teams with the two best records in the NFL with Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings.

Jalen Hurts is heating up

"Always chasing that progress," said Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts as he met with the media on Thursday for the first time since the bye week.

For QB1, there has been a clear progression from his NFL MVP runner-up season in 2022.

Hurts has improved as a passer this year, raising his completion percentage to 68.9 percent from last year's 66.5 percent. Through his first nine games of this season, Hurts has 15 passing touchdowns compared to 14 through the first nine games last season.

The most notable growth and progression in Hurts' game has come in the last few weeks. Since Week 7, the quarterback has a 75.0 completion percentage, an average of 8.8 yards per attempt, an 8-to-1 passing touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio, and a 125.5 passer rating.

"There are always things that you grow in as far as the scheme and everything like that, but he's done a good job just in total football this year," said Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni. "Last year he had an MVP-type season. This year he's having another great season, and he's just growing in all areas."

Hurts has thrown more passing touchdowns in his last 3 games (8) than in his first six games (7). His completion percentage and passer rating since Week 7 both rank second in the NFL over that span.

With QB1 heating up, so has the offense. Since Week 7, the Eagles have averaged 32.3 points per game compared to 25.8 points per game over the first six contests.

Hurts attributed the improved success on offense to the rhythm he and first-year Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson have found.

"It has a lot to do with that," Hurts said. "You have to have a feel and that is a real thing. The standard that we have for ourselves internally is very high."

"As we evolve, we are getting a great feel for what this team does well and how we deploy the resources necessary to maximize everybody in the offense," Johnson said. "By no means are we a finished product or do we expect to be a finished product at Week 9, it is about constant growth offensively."

The offense ranks in the Top 10 in every major offensive statistical category except red zone efficiency. However, the red zone offense has an efficiency percentage of 71.43 percent over the last three games, ranking fifth in the league over that span.

With Hurts finding his groove, his offense has followed suit, leading the Eagles to an 8-1 record and the top spot in the NFL. – Written by Owen Boyle

Feel the pressure

The Eagles' defense has been getting to the quarterback early and often this season.

The defense ranks third in the NFL with 154 quarterback pressures with defensive end Josh Sweat leading the charge. Sweat's 50 pressures are fourth in the NFL this season.

On the other side of the ball, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a 47.7 completion percentage, 5.7 yards per pass, 2-5 passing touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio, and a 49.4 passer rating when pressured.

When not pressured, Mahomes' number are significantly better. His passer rating improves by 60 points to 113.6 and his 15 touchdowns when not pressured are the most in the NFL.

"He does everything in a great way," said cornerback Darius Slay. "He continues to keep playing this game at a high level. He is going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks."

Mahomes, who has won the NFL MVP twice in his career, is still playing at an elite level. He is in the Top 5 in completions and passing touchdowns, while sixth in the league in passing yards.

That still does not hide the fact that, like most quarterbacks, Mahomes and his offense struggle when the opposition gets pressure on the single caller.

Five of Mahomes' eight interceptions have come while under pressure, which is second-most in the league. Mahomes has also taken the eighth-most quarterback hits (55) this season.

However, the Chiefs' offensive line has been one of the strongest groups in the NFL. An offensive line anchored by center Creed Humphrey has allowed just 12 sacks, the fewest in the league this year.

"When you are playing a quarterback like him, you have to take your opportunities when they arise," said defensive end Brandon Graham.

It will be key for the Eagles' defense to apply the pressure and take their opportunities on Monday Night Football. – Written by Owen Boyle

Battling Big Red

The novelty of Andy Reid coaching against the Eagles, with whom he was the head coach for a franchise-record 14 seasons, has largely worn off. Monday night will be Reid's fifth game (he has compiled a 4-0 record) as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs against the Eagles.

For Reid, of course, it's just one of one game.

"Every game is its own deal, so I don't think about all that. I'm just trying to get ready for this one and do the best we can do," Reid said this week, meeting the Philadelphia media on a conference call.

Reid, now in his 11th season with the Chiefs and the winner of two Super Bowls, including Super Bowl LVII against Philadelphia this past February, expressed appreciation and affection for the Eagles he coached who are still here – defensive end Brandon Graham, center Jason Kelce, and defensive end Fletcher Cox.

"I love those guys," Reid said. "They're good guys. Those are good human beings and that's probably the most important thing. And obviously, they're good football players."

The teams have changed since February. Kansas City's defense is among the best in the league. The offense still has quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce leading the way.

The Eagles' defense is ranked first in the league in stopping the run, and Reid commented on what has made Philadelphia better in that department.

"They drafted a really good player (defensive tackle Jalen Carter) and No. 91 (Cox) doesn't seem to get old," Reid said. "I'm not sure what you guys are feeding him, but he is something else. Those cheesesteaks are working."

Here is a look at Reid's games against the Eagles to date …

  • In a 2013 Week 3 game at Lincoln Financial Field, Kansas City sacked quarterback Michael Vick six times in a 26-16 win. Reid was given a warm welcome by the fans, who also came out to cheer the halftime retirement of Donovan McNabb's No. 5 jersey. An Eric Berry's 38-yard interception return for a touchdown was the game's biggest play.
  • In Week 2 of the Eagles' Super Bowl-winning season of 2017, the team fell short at Arrowhead Stadium, 27-20. Carson Wentz passed for 333 yards, but Kanas City defensive tackle Chris Jones had three quarterback sacks and Kareem Hunt had a big game on the ground.
  • In Week 4 of the 2021 campaign, Kansas City won a shootout in South Philadelphia as Mahomes threw 5 touchdown passes and outdueled Jalen Hurts, who passed for 387 yards, a career high. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was too much; he caught 11 passes for 186 yards and 3 scores.
  • February 12. The Super Bowl. Do we need to remind anyone? – Written by Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

By the numbers

  • Since 2021, Nick Sirianni has produced the second-highest winning percentage (.721, 31-12) among NFL head coaches.
  • Since 2017, Philadelphia has the third-best primetime winning percentage (.677, 21-10) in the NFL, winning seven of its last eight games.
  • Philadelphia is an NFL-best 17-5 (.773) in road games since 2021.
  • The Eagles are first in the NFL in rushing defense (66.3 ypg). Philadelphia has allowed its fewest rushing yards through nine games (597) since 1944 (538).
  • Philadelphia ranks first in the NFL with a 50 percent third-down conversion rate. The Eagles also lead the league in fourth-down conversions (76.5%).
  • Brandon Graham will tie David Akers (188, 1999-2010) for the most regular-season games played in franchise history.

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