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Eagles can make these 3 changes after the bye week to make playoffs


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Eagles can make these 3 changes after the bye week to make playoffs

Updated: Dec. 15, 2021, 6:30 a.m. | Published: Dec. 15, 2021, 6:30 a.m.

By Chris Franklin | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

The Eagles have made their way back to the NovaCare Complex after a week of relaxing and refocusing their efforts to obtain a potential playoff spot.

The Eagles, currently in the ninth spot and tied with four other 6-7 teams vying for a postseason berth, will look to make some changes in the final four games of the season, trying to ensure that they would be among the final playoff teams.

Here are three changes the Eagles could make to help their final push for the playoffs:

Jalen Hurts uses his outlet passes more than he previously has this season

While quarterback Jalen Hurts was on the sidelines dealing with his ankle injury, watched as backup quarterback Gardner Minshew dumped the ball off to running backs Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell for success. Both running backs combined for eight catches for 55 yards. Minshew’s ability to throw to the running backs kept the offense moving, allowing them to continue drives successfully, ending with points. If teams use a linebacker to cover the flat areas, the running backs have the speed to get past most linebackers, creating chances for big plays.

If Hurts is still not 100%, this will be a good way to replace the rushing yards that he may not rack up. The passes to the backs would also be used to protect himself from being hit as much as he was on zone reads and draw plays.

Whether it is a dump-off pass to a back who runs for 50 yards, or the ball is in the air and caught for 50 yards, it is still the same amount that winds up in the passing yard totals.

Eagles blitz more than they have this season

The Eagles have used a lot of zone coverage this season, trying to keep or throws in front of them and not be beat deep. Implementing this style of defense has allowed quarterbacks to complete a higher percentage of their passes and, at times, keeping the defense on the field for long periods.

Two of the Eagles’ final four games will be against the Washington Football Team and quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who has struggled this year when facing pressure. According to Pro Football Focus, Heinicke has completed only 50.9% of his passes when under pressure this season, throwing four interceptions and seeing his quarterback rating fall to 73.7.

The Eagles do not necessarily have to go all out and sell out on the blitz. Still, if defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon continues to mix in the pressure and find ways to bring it from different parts of the field, it could go a long way in helping the Eagles make the playoffs.

Find a third receiving option

The Eagles offense has been running the ball well, averaging more than 200 yards on the ground in the last five games. However, when throwing the ball, teams are starting to key on wide receiver DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert.

The Eagles have to find someone who could become a third reliable option in the passing game. Wide receiver Quez Watkins seemed primed to do that. However, there could be questions about Watkins’ availability this Sunday against the Football Team because of his placement on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Fellow wide receiver Jalen Reagor has had issues with consistency, making crucial drops when a big play was needed to be made. If a third option does arise, the offense will truly be balanced and tough to defend.


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Honestly I’d start lining Gainwell up in the slot quite a bit. I think he has the skill set to play quick, shifty slot WR role very well. 

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If Hurts continues to be a 1-2 look QB, it doesn't matter how many receiving options he has......

We heard a lot in the preseason how Sirianni was using Gainwell in the slot....which would be a good idea right now.

But again, Hurts has to get much quicker with his reads and anticipation......if he needs more time to develop that, Siriannin needs to instruct him to get out in the flat....buy time behind the line and keep looking downfield.......he could create a lot of havoc in the defensive backfield....

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