What to make of the 2022 Eagles and their impressive start

Nick sirianni Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni gestures as he answers questions during a news conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 24-8. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In modern history, the three best seasons in Philadelphia Eagles history were 1980, 2004, and 2017. All three teams made the Super Bowl, and all three teams won 10 of their first 11 games to start the season, and each of the Eagles’ best squads had unique qualities that made them Super Bowl contenders.

The 1980 team used a defense that was second in the league in total yards to overwhelm the rest of the NFC. 2004 was the culmination of multiple misses in previous conference titles. Weaknesses in the team’s depth and speed ultimately kept the team from winning it all. In 2017, excellent quarterback play highlighted what was a stacked roster built through the trenches on both sides of the ball.

The 1980, 2004, and 2017 clubs were all excellent. But the Eagles’ 2022 squad is entering territory that none of these teams ever dealt with.

The Quarterback

Philadelphia has a long history of excellent quarterback play leading to success. Ron Jaworski, Donovan McNabb, Carson Wentz, and Nick Foles have all had massive years in the past.

What Jalen Hurts is doing is a little different.

Jaworski, McNabb, and Wentz were all secure in their positions when the Eagles had their historic seasons. A bad game wasn’t going to have people call for the backup quarterback or question if the contract given was fair.

Jalen Hurts is a quarterback with his last opportunity here to show he can be the franchise quarterback others were perceived as. Through four games Hurts is playing as well as McNabb, Wentz, and Jaworski all played early on and are winning at an even more impressive rate.

Having your job and stability questioned every week is extremely difficult. But there hasn’t appeared to be a quarterback better prepared for that controversy than Jalen Hurts.

Through four weeks, the uniqueness of the Eagles’ starting quarterback has put the Eagles in new territory.

Balance. Balance. Balance.

The 1980 Eagles had to make do without their top running back for a portion of the season. The 2017 Eagles struggled to run the ball early in the year while the 2004 squad ignored the run completely at times.

In 2022, the Eagles’ offense (and defense) have shown an even greater balance than the previous squads. The Eagles’ offensive line is arguably the best they’ve looked through four games in team history, and the passing attack is as lethal as all the other great years as well.

The balance that the 2022 squad has shown through four games is far greater than anything past teams have done.

Defense

The 2022 Eagles’ defense has been far more impressive than any of their top teams in history.

While people make think this is a hot take, the 2022 squad’s secondary is far greater than what we’ve seen in the 1980 and 2017 squads. Add in a front seven that has been superb through four games than ever surpass what the 2004 squad looked like early, and the Eagles’ defense in 2022 is on track to being one of the best in team history.

There’s a long way to go throughout the season, but the job that Jonathan Gannon has done in confusing quarterbacks and blitzing more than in the past has shown the excellence and just how far the defense can go.

With the combination of a stout defense, a balanced offense, and a quarterback on his last opportunity, the Eagles are in uncharted territory early in their 2022 campaign. While we can’t predict the future, the way the Eagles prepare and have dominated shows there is much to be excited about in Philadelphia.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh