Ten thoughts about the Eagles after a narrow week 9 loss

Jalen Hurts
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass in the first half during the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles on September 19, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles were unable to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers yesterday, but there is plenty to talk about when recapping the narrow loss. Here are ten things on my mind this morning.

Nick Sirianni deserves a chance

The Eagles might have failed to beat the Los Angeles Chargers, but for the first time in a long time, they turned a lot of heads and proved a lot of people wrong. The self inflicted errors have started to disappear and Nick Sirianni has shown clear growth as both a coach and a play caller over the past month.

He’s heard all of the noise when it comes to running the ball and has adapted. For two consecutive weeks, Sirianni’s gameplan has been built on the run-game and the results speak for themselves.

The team might not be perfect, but Sirianni’s willingness to change is clear. Nobody expects him or his offense to be perfect, but they expect growth. The rookie head coach is taking steps in the right direction which is more than can be said for his defensive coordinator.

Jonathan Gannon is on borrowed time

The Eagles came into this game allowing the highest completion percentage of any team in the NFL. That didn’t change on Sunday and the number now sits at a staggering 75.5% after Justin Herbert picked apart the defense to complete 32/38 passes.

While Sirianni is making adjustments, Gannon’s all seem to be short lived. The bad habits continue to creep out of the woodwork and the lack of blitzing partnered with the corners constantly playing with a huge cushion is just opening up massive windows of opportunity for the most mildly competent quarterback.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There is no way that the likes of Jeffrey Lurie can be watching this defense constantly wave the white flag before the ball has even been snapped and be happy about it.

Jalen Hurts vs Justin Herbert revealed a lot

Jalen Hurts isn’t a terrible quarterback. Seeing someone as polished as Herbert, who came out of the same draft class, act as a direct contrast, was eye opening to say the least. Hurts lacks touch, consistency, accuracy, and the confidence to scan through reads. The gulf in talent became inherently clear early on.

While Herbert was able to carve up a soft Eagles defense, Hurts struggled to take advantage of a secondary that was down to its bare bones and missed several big deep shots.

DeVonta Smith proved that all he needs is an opportunity and he’s going to make defenses pay. The question now is whether or not Jalen Hurts is the man who can give him that shot on a consistent basis.

DeVonta Smith is going to be special

DeVonta Smith has looked dangerous in nearly every game this season, but this was his biggest day at the office so far. It could’ve been much bigger had Jalen Hurts connected on a few more shots, but the Heisman-winning receiver is running routes like the savviest veteran and blocking like a lineman. His future is undoubtedly going to be a highly decorated one if he continues to play at the level he is.

The Jordan Howard resurgence?

It’s so strange to think that after a breakout with the Eagles that was cut short due to injury, Howard went to Miami and was never able to relight the fire. The former Bear then returned to Philadelphia and had been lost in the shuffle ever since, at least until he was given an opportunity two weeks ago.

Since then, Howard has been looking like the running back most Eagles fans remember him as, rushing for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The only question to ask is why he was left on the practice squad twiddling his thumbs for so long?

Jalen Reagor…might not be

Over the last 6 weeks, Jalen Reagor has 52 yards on 8 receptions and 14 targets. Are there other issues that contribute to this? Yes. Is it still deeply concerning? Yes.

Nobody is expecting Justin Jefferson esque’ production, but he has to bring more to the table than Dorial Green-Beckham. He’s been given plenty of time to get this figured out and nothing is changing.

Has the defense checked out?

We saw Fletcher Cox call out Jonathan Gannon not too long ago and Javon Hargrave followed in his footsteps by making a passive comment about his coordinators reluctance to blitz.

Is there even any room for growth under Gannon?

Probably not. I just don’t know where he can go from here. It shouldn’t take players showing clear frustrations with him to act as the catalyst for change. His scheme is clearly built to help cornerbacks and that’s great, but when it comes down to the final drive of the game and you know it’s already over before its started, there really has to be a broader discussion.

Tyree Jackson is a big boy

Tyree Jackson didn’t see too much action, as expected, but when he did line up in 13-personnel looks and lay down some blocks, he looked like The Great Khali. I’m excited to see how Sirianni implements him in the offense over the next few weeks as he gets eased into the equation.

Landon Dickerson is flying under the radar

While all eyes are on Jalen Hurts and the offensive weapons, there need to be some keeping an eye on what second-round rookie Landon Dickerson is doing. The versatile guard silently handled business against a strong Chargers pass rush. He’s flashing athleticism in run-blocking and has only allowed 1 sack in 406 snaps so far. Not bad considering he missed the entire offseason due to the fact he was rehabbing an injury.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire