Why Jalen Hurts is different than Bobby Hoying, the Coach of the Year Philly connection and why Nelson Agholor's comeback season doesn't mean the Eagles made a mistake.
Welcome to a holiday edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations!
1. One of the biggest differences so far between Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts: Hurts has completed more long passes on third down in a little less than 2½ games than Wentz did this year in 11½ games. Hurts has already completed four passes of at least 32 yards on third down. Wentz had three completions of 32 yards on third down all year. Hurts has a higher passer rating (88.9 to 76.4) on third down and only one fewer TD pass than Wentz (3 to 2). Hurts' ability to make plays both running and throwing on third down has been huge so far. Makes him very tough to defend on those key snaps.
2. Miles Sanders needs 190 rushing yards the last two games to become the Eagles' first 1,000-yard rusher since LeSean McCoy in 2014. Considering he's averaging only 13.5 carries per game, it's not going to be easy. Sometimes it seems Doug Pederson is the only guy in the NFL who can stop Miles.
3. A lot of people are comparing Jalen Hurts to Bobby Hoying as a warning to not get too caught up in what Hurts does in his first few starts, and that's fair. Hoying was indeed fantastic in his first three career starts back in 1997, throwing for 835 yards with six TDs, one INT and a 98.1 passer rating. A few things to keep in mind: Hoying was 25 and wasn't a rookie. Hurts is 22. Hoying had already played in eight preseason games and had two full offseasons before getting a chance to start. Hurts hasn't had either. Hoying also had Irving Fryar and Rickey Watters catching passes and a coach committed to the running game to take some pressure off. Hurts hasn't had any of that. And most of Hoying's production in those three games — 4 of the 6 TDs — came against a 29th-ranked Bengals defense. Hurts beat the No. 1 Saints defense and threw three TDs against the No. 10 Cardinals defense. Finally, Hoying was a statue in the pocket and when he began struggling throwing the ball he didn't have any fall-back options. Hurts' legs are slump-proof. Not drawing any conclusions. Time will tell how good Hurts is. But while there are some similarities, I have a hunch Hurts won't wind up out of the league in a couple of years like Hoying.
4. The Eagles haven't had an offensive, defense or special teams player of the week this year. Seven opposing players have been named Player of the Year after facing the Eagles. Has any team ever had a Player of the Week differential of minus-7?
5. Jalen Hurts is going to save Doug Pederson's job.
6. Sean McDermott, Ron Rivera, John Harbaugh, Andy Reid and Kevin Stefanski are all legit Coach of the Year candidates this year, and all were in Philly in 1999 — the first four with the Eagles and Stefanski attending St. Joe's Prep. Brian Flores, another strong candidate, was attending high school in Brooklyn in 1999.
7. There's plenty to criticize the Eagles' front office for, especially when it comes to wide receivers. But letting Nelson Agholor go is not one of them. Anybody who was paying attention last year understands he needed a change of scenery. And it's not like he's gone to the Raiders and done anything he didn't do here. In 2017 and 2018, he averaged 63-for-752 with 6 TDs for the Eagles, and this year he's on pace for 48-for-781 and 8 TDs. So very similar numbers. I'm happy for Nelly. He should get a nice long-term contract from the Raiders. He's proven he belongs in the NFL. But it's not like there's something the Eagles missed. It wasn't going to happen for him here. Sometimes players really do need a fresh start. The Raiders got him back to where he was a couple of years ago, which was great to see.
8. The Eagles-Cowboys rivalry goes back 60 years, but only four Eagles QBs have beaten the Cowboys twice in a season: Sonny Jurgensen (in 1961), Randall Cunningham (1988 through 1990), Donovan McNabb (2000, 2001, 2004) and Michael Vick (2011).
9. The Eagles have gone for it on 4th down 31 times this year, already tied for 5th-most in NFL history. The record is 39 set by the 1995 Patriots. The Cowboys have already gone for it 30 times on 4th down, converting 53 percent. Sunday's game will be the first in NFL history between two teams that have attempted 30 4th downs.
10. If Carson Wentz doesn't play again this year, he'll finish the season with the lowest passer rating by a former Pro Bowl quarterback in his 20s who started at least 10 games since Drew Bledsoe in 1995.
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