Philadelphia Eagles News
Two-and-oh always looks great, no matter how the Eagles reached this point. The Eagles held a team meeting on Friday, the day after beating Minnesota 34-28, and then hopped off the crazy train for a couple of days in a mini-bye kind of weekend.
What do we know about the Eagles to this point, with so much more of this marathon season to go? Let’s dive in here …
1. 2-0 looks good, no matter how you slice it
There are always ups and downs to a game and to a season, and that was the case in the two outings the Eagles had in a span of five days, but the bottom line is the team won both times and sit at 2-0 and that’s exactly the goal for this football team. Within that, the Eagles learned to win games despite some adversity – injuries, turnovers, etc. – and that will serve them well for the remainder of the 2023 season.
2. The depth on this roster has been tested
In a big way, really. The Eagles missed three defensive starters (linebacker Nakobe Dean, cornerback James Bradberry, safety Reed Blankenship) to start Thursday’s game and then lost a host of players at various points of the game – most notably cornerback Avonte Maddox – and played on. Mario Goodrich, for example, played the first 37 snaps of his NFL career and more than held his own. All of that experience gained now is going to pay off down the line.
3. The best of the offense is yet to come
The players and coaches acknowledge that they have things to improve upon on offense, and that’s simply part of the play-and-correct part of the NFL. And for sure, it hasn’t been perfect but the Eagles have shown a lot of positives and are unbeaten against two good teams, coming off a game in which they scored 34 points and put up 430 yards of total offense. More work to do, yes, and everyone knows it, but that’s something to understand.
4. Some under-the-radar roster additions have paid off early
Thinking specifically here of safety Justin Evans and linebacker Zach Cunningham, two veterans who have stepped in and really helped this defense. Evans played with New Orleans last season after missing three years with a knee injury and he has started both games and come up big in both wins. Cunningham, added to the roster during Training Camp, has been around the football in both games and is probably just now rounding into peak football shape. And here is a shoutout to linebacker Nicholas Morrow, signed as an unrestricted free agent, released, added to the practice squad, and, then, boom, he’s starting against Minnesota. He kept his focus and was there when the Eagles needed him.
This is a reminder that every single roster move means so much and is part of the overall roster makeup. The Eagles have been challenged, yes, and players like Evans and Cunningham have risen to the moment.
5. Turnover ratio is still king
In a world of statistics, turnovers still rank at the top of the list. The Eagles are no doubt lamenting that they’ve turned the ball over twice – a Jalen Hurts fumble in Week 1 and an interception in Week 2 – but they’ve compensated for those giveaways by forcing an NFL-high six takeaways – five on defense and one on special teams. That plus-4 is a huge reason the Eagles have started 2-0.
6. DeVonta Smith is at the top of his game
In his third season, it’s already been established how good DeVonta Smith is. Let’s face it, he’s elite. And he’s off to a brilliant start with 11 receptions for 178 yards and two scores. He is averaging 16.2 yards per reception, more than two yards higher than what he averaged in his first two seasons. The guy is a stud and he and A.J. Brown are, indeed, a dynamic duo.
7. The schedule is wacky and the Eagles don’t care
A game on the road to open the season. The home opener four days later. Then a long break and a Monday Night Football game ahead in Tampa. It doesn’t matter, not a bit. The Eagles are going to line up and play football and that’s just what this team is all about. No talk. No boasting. Just play ball.
8. The defensive line is as good as advertised
Everybody is chipping in, but let’s start with defensive end Josh Sweat. Could he be among the most underrated ends in the league? Sure seems like it. He has 1.5 quarterback sacks in two games and has been large when it has mattered most. Sweat plays with power, has a great get off, and bend. He’s so good. Up and down the line, the performance has been there and some of the younger players – Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter included – have contributed a lot, as hoped and expected.
9. We’re only two games into the season
No hot takes here, just observations. The general rule of thumb for every game and every season is to start fast and finish strong. So that’s where we are. The Eagles are 2-0 with 15 games to play. They are a hunted team. The NFC East is going to be challenging. The NFC is likely a whole lot better than some observers thought weeks ago. This team doesn’t waver from the one-day-at-a-time mentality. Looking ahead is not productive. Tampa Bay is next.
10. The maturity gained from the 2022 season means something
You see it from year to year: Reaching the playoffs in 2021 helped the 2022 team navigate the season. Even though every year takes on its own personality, advancing as far as they did last year is helping this team. Hurts means it, for example, when he says that the only thing that matters is winning games, and while he is self-correcting after two games, he understands the bottom line. There isn’t a selfish mindset with this team. Competitive, oh yes. But the team wants to win and the players want to do what it takes to win, even if that means sacrificing some individual accomplishments. That kind of mentality doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s a special collective approach to have.
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