The Day After – Reality Check

Posted: January 22nd, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on The Day After – Reality Check

The playoffs can be like truth serum. You get to see who a team really is. Brian Daboll took over the Giants this year and wanted to install a winning culture. He didn’t have the most talent to work with, but he got them to play hard and learn how to win. They had more heart than talent. That got them a 9-7-1 record and a trip to the playoffs.

Unfortunately heart doesn’t mean as much when you’re playing the best teams in an elimination game. You need talent. The 9-8 Eagles were dominated and sent packing last January. They just weren’t good enough. The Eagles spent the offseason improving so they would be better this year. Those changes made all the difference and you could see that last night. They were a much better team than the Giants.

The Giants have a good foundation, but they need to make the right moves this offseason if they want to truly compete with the Eagles.

This was kind of funny.



The discussion of Jalen Hurts injury has been odd. I don’t think a lot of the media understand the injury. First, remember that Hurts played the rest of the Bears game the day he got hurt. He threw passes and ran the ball. You couldn’t tell he was hurt.

This injury seems to be more about pain tolerance than anything else. The Eagles didn’t have Hurts do too much in the regular season finale, but it wasn’t a question of whether he could. They simply didn’t want him taking extra hits that weren’t necessary.

After last night I hope people see that Hurts is fine in terms of performance. He can make all the throws. He can run. He can take hits. Hurts won’t enjoy some of those hits, but he’ll be functional.


We talk about the Eagles OL a lot. Sometimes it is hard to understand how good they are. This isn’t like seeing a WR making a highlight catch or a RB putting moves on a LB. There is so much more subtlety to winning in the trenches.

A week ago Dexter Lawrence looked like a wrecking ball with a jersey on it. He dominated the Vikings OL and was disruptive all game long. The Eagles OL neutralized him. They did this with talent and brains. Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce and Isaac Seumalo made sure to get two hats on Lawrence as often as possible. He’s not a guy you want to single-block on a regular basis.

There was a play in the NYG-MIN game that stood out to me. The center started blocking Lawrence. The LG was uncovered. Instead of helping on Lawrence, he helped the LT with the DE. Lawrence beat the center and hit the QB. That play was just dumb. The Eagles had a plan for handling Lawrence and the players executed it well.

When Lawrence needed a breather, Justin Ellis (71) took his place. Kelce ate that dude alive.

That is fun to watch, unless you’re a Giants fan, player, coach or relative of Ellis. My condolences.

Seumalo is the underrated player up front. He had some key moments last night, most importantly when he recovered a fumble. Bo Wulf wrote a good piece on Seumalo. Make sure to check that out.


The OL weren’t the only ones who blocked. TE Dallas Goedert had some impressive blocks. The WRs also did a good job, on runs and screens. DeVonta had a good block on a run by Hurts. AJ had a good block on a quick screen that DeVonta scored a TD on.

The Eagles were the more physical team.


Jonathan Gannon has been a lightning rod since coming to Philadelphia. There is no question that he’s a smart coach. His defense has played well in the two years he’s been the Eagles defensive coordinator.

His style of defense isn’t to everyone’s liking. Also, there are times when his defense has come up short in key situations. It is fair to be critical of him. That said, the criticism is often over the top. People want him fired and talk of him as if he’s incompetent. That’s clearly not the case.

Nick Sirianni went out of his way to praise Gannon on Saturday night.

The win over the Giants is important for Gannon in regard to quieting his critics. The Eagles limited the Giants to 7 points and 227 total yards. Beyond results, Gannon called a good game. He mixed in blitzes effectively. CJ Gardner-Johnson came free up the middle and that led to an INT. Gannon had Haason Reddick stunt on 4th down and that led to a sack.

The Giants only had one play go for more than 19 yards. The Eagles sacked Daniel Jones 5 times and pressured him all game. Saquon Barkley had 82 total yards, but 39 of them came on one play. He was bottled up for most of the game. Jones ran for 78 yards and 7 first downs last week. The Eagles limited him to 24 yards on the ground.

Good gameplan.

Good execution.

A good showing by the Eagles defense in the NFC title game would likely silence most of Gannon’s critics. Of course, that might happen as he heads out of town to become a head coach.


The Eagles defense did some shuffling on the back end. CGJ played safety in base looks, but moved to the slot in sub-packages. He knows the slot from his years with the Saints. It looked like he got more comfortable and more aggressive as the game went on. He was credited with one PD, but tried to jump a few passes.

Reed Blankenship came in at FS when CGJ went to the slot. Blankenship had a good game. He tied for the team lead with 5 tackles, had a PD and a TFL. He played the most snaps of anyone on defense.

K’Vonn Wallace played a bit. He had a good blitz and got a hit on Jones. He also had a PD.

It will be interesting to see what happens if Avonte Maddox returns this week. Lots of good options for the coaching staff.


Brett Kern was brought in as the punter when Arryn Siposs got hurt. Kern had a great career, but was out of the league. I thought he’d be rested and an ideal fit for a short term fix. Kern was disappointing in the regular season.

That changed on Saturday night. Kern wasn’t booming balls, but his kicks were ideal. All three of his punts were downed inside the 20. The Giants were backed up to the 9, 12 and 7-yard lines.

Really good punts and really good coverage. Two of the punts were fair caught. Zech McPhearson tackled Richie James for a loss of 3 yards on the other punt. That’s outstanding special teams.


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