NFL: Overlooked aspects of unbeaten Eagles

By Mason Mesbah

Five weeks into the NFL season and there’s only one team still perfect, and it’s Philadelphia.

To many people, this isn’t that surprising.

The Eagles are the only team in the NFL who know their identity well and are not afraid to stick to it no matter what. This has been a top running team in the NFL for years and using three or four different running backs in their rotation keeps defenses guessing all game long. The running back by committee approach has given them a top rushing offense, ranked fifth overall in the league with 800 yards, and first in rushing touchdowns scored with 12, with starter Miles Sanders fourth overall with 414 yards on 87 carries. However, not mentioned often enough is that they are running behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL which has only gotten better. This definitely makes it easy for the running game to succeed.

Those two things were a given coming into the year. But what Eagles coaches and general manager Howie Roseman did, after realizing they had a great O-line and running game, and a young quarterback on the brink of being great, was to do what they could to help him. They went out and got wide receiver Devonta Smith (353 yards) in last year’s Draft and then traded a first-round pick for a proven top 10 receiver in AJ Brown (436 yards) to add to Quez Watkins (88 yards) and Dallas Goedert (335 yards).

Eagles RB Miles Sanders

In other words, they gave their starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, everything he needed, and he is taking advantage of the opportunity. He has been the second-best running back in that backfield so far (68 carries for 266 yards, 1 TD), and with great protection and new receivers, has lit it up throwing the ball (1,359 yards). Hurts is known for his work ethic and unwavering dedication, and right now he looks like a superstar.

However, the most underrated part of this Eagles offense may well be head coach Nick Sirianni, a former offensive coordinator. He looked at the team he had and relinquished his play calling responsibilities to offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and decided to focus on the other parts of the team. Sirianni accepted that his play calling wouldn’t be the best for the team and let it go, and it has been perfect for the Eagles.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni

Moving to the defense, going into the year they had high level players such as Darius Slay, but no other defensive back that would scare anyone, a very thin linebacking corps, and an older defensive line with some holes. Once again, Roseman went to work. They brought in James Bradberry on a very cheap contract to be the counterpart to Slay, traded next to nothing for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to be a leader and big time safety, drafted Jordan Davis to learn from Fletcher Cox and be a dominant run stopper, brought in Hassan Reddick to come off the edge across from Brandon Graham, Stole Nakobe Dean in the third round of the draft, and brought in Kyzir White to be the coverage linebacker they have been looking for. All in all, the Eagles and Roseman just made numerous moves that fit every need perfectly and were smart about the contracts and trades they gave up. By sticking to their identity, being selfless, and being expert level smart, the Eagles have turned into the top team in the NFL and match up very well against anyone in the league.

Next up for the Eagles are the Dallas Cowboys on October 16.

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