D’Andre Swift is doing things not seen around these parts since LeSean McCoy was the Eagles’ starting running back. The hometown hero has cut-on-a-dime moves, plus the ability to escape defenders in space once he hits the second level. He’s a big play waiting to happen.
Swift has 44 carries for 305 yards since taking over the lead-back role from Kenny Gainwell in Week 2. Head coach Nick Sirianni has promised to ride the hot hand when asked who his starter is, yet it seems pretty obvious right now that the job belongs to Swift. His teammates couldn’t stop grinning during an informal locker room poll. His style just hits different.
“It’s been a lot of fun with him out there,” tight end Dallas Goedert said. “When he hits those holes, he’s doing so much on the second level making people miss, setting people up — you know, I was right behind him when he hurdled that dude. That got me going. That was pretty sweet. But, he’s a tremendous player and he’s been doing really good so hopefully we can keep making big lanes for him to run through.”
“He’s a big-time playmaker,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “He’s electric with the ball in his hands and that’s something I’ve been able to witness since his days at Georgia. He’s been who he’s always been and he’s doing that for us now.”
Inside Access: Recapping Wednesday’s Eagles Press Conferences
The Eagles were deep into their film study of the Washington Commanders on Wednesday. They aren’t taking anyone on the schedule lightly, especially not the team that ended their bid for a perfect season in 2022. The NFC East is tightly stacked through the first three weeks, with the Eagles (3-0) holding a one-game lead over the Commanders (2-1) and Cowboys (2-1).
One area where the Eagles have struggled to start the year is passing in the red zone. They have converted less than 50% of their opportunities inside the 20-yard line while Jalen Hurts has gone 3-of-10 for 10 yards and one touchdown down there.
“It’s about finishing drives and scoring points,” Hurts said. “It’s our job to execute whatever is called, you know, and we’ve had a number of opportunities to do that. And so, we just need to put it in. Put it in the end zone.”
Jalen Hurts on the Tush Push: “I have no thoughts on it. We’re the only people doing it as well as we are. Guy even wanted me hurt for it, too.”
Jalen Hurts on Washington: “They are a great team, and they have great players, and obviously you want to go into every game with a certain level of intensity and respecting every opponent we play, and so we’re ready for the opportunity to play against them.”
Jalen Hurts on Olamide Zaccheaus: “He’s a guy who just comes in and puts his best foot forward and works really hard and is for the team. He’s a guy who obviously if he’s not in that first three or in that slot position coming out, he’s staying after, trying to get extra work in. We’re doing routes, catching up on that because they will come a time when everybody has to play.”
Dallas Goedert Provides Update on Eagles teammate Avonte Maddox
The Eagles placed nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox on injured reserve back on September 20 after he tore a pectoral muscle against Minnesota. He’s out for the remainder of the 2023 season. Dallas Goedert — Maddox’s good friend and former roommate — provided an update for everyone.
“He’s as good as he can be. I’ve been spending some time with him, trying to keep his spirits up,” Goedert said of Maddox. “You know, to have a season ended due to injury is never fun, and the bright side is — what I keep telling him is in a couple of months you’ll be feeling good, his foot will be feeling good from the time off, once this season ends just get ready for next season because it will be a big year for him.”
Dallas Goedert on Not Being Targeted: “It’s always tough, you know I love catching the ball and I love playing with the ball in my hands, but with this offense that’s not always going to be the case. Defenses do different things to take us away. But it’s one of those things that you just gotta stay into it, you never know what play is going to be the next play, when is going to spark a big run, or when you’re just going to be needed.”
Eagles News and Notes: James Bradberry Takes Slot Job
James Bradberry was the primary replacement for Maddox at nickel cornerback in Week 3. The Pro Bowler was targeted four times: 2-of-4, 26 yards, 56.3 rating. Rookie Sydney Brown also saw some time in the slot against Tampa Bay.
“He’s been playing well, hopefully, he continues to improve and get better,” Bradberry said of Brown. “He’s been doing well, though.”
James Bradberry on Terry McLaurin: “He’s a great receiver because I think speed, at the point of attack I think he does a good job of going after the ball, and he has strong hands.”
Eagles Left tackle Jordan Mailata was asked about the offense looking less explosive than last year’s edition. They are stalling out drives and settling for more field goals than touchdowns, yet the Eagles are still averaging 28 points per game and 384.3 yards per game. Both of those marks rank sixth best in football. Mailata isn’t too worried.
“That’s just the fundamentals that we live by, the patience, we know who we are,” Mailata said. “And just because we’re not putting up the numbers right now, we know we can. We’re not playing up to the standard that we know we can play at. But that’s going to come. We just gotta keep putting in the hard yards and go from there.”
AP Photo/Chris O’Meara