A Big Difference

Posted: January 16th, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

There are plenty of similarities between the 2017 Eagles and the current team, from coaches to players to style to how the season played out. It is hard to look at this season and not think back to the group that won the Super Bowl and had such a great year.

Doug Pederson and Nick Sirianni are both offensive head coaches. They use RPOs and creative calls on offense. Both guys are very aggressive and embrace going for it on 4th downs. They see that as a weapon, not a risk.


Both teams were really good on the line of scrimmage. Heck, there are a lot of key linemen who were on both teams (Kelce, Johnson, Seumalo, Cox, Graham).

Both teams started 10-1. QB injuries hurt both teams down the stretch. The 2017 team finished 13-3 and this team went 14-3. Both were the #1 seed in the NFC, but entered the playoffs with some questions that had experts thinking they wouldn’t make the Super Bowl. We know how 2017 turned out. This year is still a mystery.

Both teams had a QB who was on the way to being NFL MVP prior to getting hurt. Carson Wentz was lost for the season. Fortunately Jalen Hurts only missed a couple of games and will have a chance to show what he can do in the playoffs.

There is one big difference.

Star power.

The 2017 team did things more as a group. No runner ran for more than 4 TDs. No receiver had more than 9 TD catches. No pass rusher had double-digits in sacks. That team relied on starters and role players to get the job done. Depth was crucial.

LeGarrette Blount was the leading rusher, with 766 yards. Three RBs ran for more than 300 yards. Five guys had 174 or more yards.


Zach Ertz led the team with 74 catches and 824 yards. Ten players caught 10 or more passes.

No pass rusher had 20 QB hits. Vinny Curry and Chris Long tied for the team lead with 18 each. Long was a backup and still tied for that lead. Brandon Graham led the team in sacks and TFLs. Long led the team with 4 FFs.

No defender had more than 4 INTs. Seven players had 2 or more. Nickelback Patrick Robinson led the team in PDs with 18.

Think about how different the 2022 team is. Jalen Hurts ran for 13 TDs. Miles Sanders ran for 1,269 yards and 11 TDs. Those were the workhorse runners. Sanders was the only RB to go for more than 240 yards.

DeVonta Smith set an Eagles record for most catches in a season by a wide receiver with 95. AJ Brown set the franchise record for receiving yards with 1,496. Smith had 1,196 of his own. Brown led the team with 11 TD catches. There isn’t a lot of spreading the ball around. The Eagles feed their stud receivers.

The defense also featured stars. Haason Reddick led the team with 16 sacks, 26 QB hits, 5 FFs and 3 FRs. Josh Sweat led the team in TFLs and was second in sacks and QB hits. There were a lot of good pass rushers this season, but Reddick and Sweat were the stars.

CJ Gardner-Johnson led the NFL with 6 INTs. CBs Darius Slay, James Bradberry and Josiah Scott all had 2 or more. No other player had more than one.

This isn’t an agrument for one way or the other, just a noticeable difference in the two teams. There is no magic formula in football. You need to do what you do well. The 2017 did a great job of getting the most out of everyone. The Eagles won the Super Bowl with their backup QB. Rookie RB Corey Clement had the game of his life on the biggest stage of his career. Rookie Derek Barnett had the fumble recovery that helped to get the Eagles their final points. Third string TE Trey Burton threw the Philly Special TD pass.

This Eagles team features top end talent. The 2017 team had 2 first team All Pro selections (Kelce, Johnson) and 2 backups (Cox, Wentz). The current team had 2 first teamers (Kelce, Johnson) and 4 backups (Hurts, Brown, Reddick, Bradberry). The 2017 team had 6 Pro Bowl selections (4 starters, 2 backups). The current team led the league with 8 Pro Bowl selections.

The 2017 team performed at a high level in the postseason. Pederson and his staff pushed the right buttons to get that group to play smart, aggressive, physical football. Anyone who has watched a lot of Eagles playoff action over the years has seen teams that came up small. The moment got too big for them. That didn’t happen in 2017. If anything, they rose to the moment.

That team was helped by being considered underdogs. After the Wentz injury, the Super Bowl expectations went away. There wasn’t pressure to win. They were stuck with Nick Foles at QB and there was no way he was going to lead them to a title. Right?

This team will have Hurts on Saturday. He’s not 100 percent, but it seems like pain management is the biggest issue for him at this point. This shouldn’t be like a knee or ankle that significantly hampers his performance. Still, with his injury and some sloppy games late in the season, most analysts seem to think SF is the team to beat in the NFC. That could be a favor to the Eagles, who would gladly embrace the underdog role once again. NFL coaches and players will do anything for an edge, no matter how silly it may seem.

It will be interesting to see how this team does. They had a special season. Can they top it off with a special postseason?



I like Eli a lot more on TV than I did as an opponent. He’s actually kinda funny.

If Daniel Jones wants to honor Eli, he’ll need to throw a pick or two.


One Comment on “A Big Difference”

  1. 1 Eagles News: NFL teams have complained about Philadelphia’s sneak technique – Bleeding Green Nation – Daily Sports said at 10:11 PM on January 18th, 2023:

    […] round, should they beat the Giants. And, of course, as you know, they’ll be at home throughout.A Big Difference – Iggles BlitzThis team will have Hurts on Saturday. He’s not 100 percent, but it seems like pain management is […]