Q&A: Birds Look Super After 3 Games
As one of the last two undefeated teams remaining in the NFL, and coming off of another blowout victory, the Philadelphia Eagles look like contenders.
On the latest episode of “Q&A” on Inside The Birds, former Eagles standouts Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell broke down the latest win over the Washington Commanders and looked ahead to Doug Pederson’s return to Philly as Jacksonville Jaguars head coach.
Quintin Mikell: “The biggest surprise has been Jalen Hurts and the way he has progressed, especially last game watching him pick apart the secondary with such ease and confidence. We said it before, we’ve said it last year, this team, in order to get to where they want to get to, he’s got to step up to the plate, and he by far has done the best job stepping up.”
Jason Avant: “There were so many mechanical problems that he had last year with not recognizing the tempo of the NFL and getting the ball out late, him at times just not knowing where to go with the football and him leaving the pocket when there was clearly throws to be made inside of the pocket, just inaccuracy at times. He’s corrected a lot of those things and he’s throwing the ball with confidence. Big ups to the organization and to those that believed in him.”
Avant: “Where’s the run game when it comes to closing the games? I think we’re throwing the ball entirely too much with these leads and not depending on the run game as much. Now, I will say that Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne shut down our run game and they were clearly giving our middle three the blues the entire game. We had a few run lanes, but most of our good runs were off tackle. We had a few that hit up in the middle and the reason they would get those is they would double team up to it and the linebackers wouldn’t show. We have to figure out a way to be able to move that level of player, because those dudes are big and super strong in comparison. I love Jason Kelce, but Jason Kelce was having a hard time moving those dudes. We have to figure out how we can close ballgames out with the run, which we should be able to. I think because we’re doing so well in the passing game, we have so many great receivers, we’re starting to be a 70-30 pass team, which we should really be a 50-50, 60-40 pass team.”
Avant: “Our athletes up front were better than theirs, by far. Jordan Davis on the second play of the game literally picked up the center and moved him to the left and knocked the ball down.”
Mikell: “A lot of the sacks, if you go back and watch them, most of them were in four-man rushes. What the linebackers were doing with that young center, they were walking up and basically engaging the center’s eyes to try to get those 1-on-1s outside. It was like a five-man look to force the protections to be in 1-on-1s.”
Avant: “T.J. Edwards is starting to become one of my favorite players because T.J. Edwards is like me on defense. The measurables don’t add up to the production and why this guy is always near the football, why he’s on the field with one linebacker in the game. When they run a five-man front, they don’t put in Kyzir White, who is the faster and more athletic player, they’re keeping TJ Edwards in the game, who runs a 4.8 40 (yard dash) and is covering people and breaking up passes. He just shows up no matter what you put in front of him and I have to love and respect that because that’s the type of player I was. It doesn’t make sense that I was able to play 10 years, it doesn’t make sense that I was able to get open on some of the guys I was able to get open on because my measurables don’t add up. So, I’m starting to fall in love with the way the guy plays.”
Mikell: “He’s grown on me a lot. I love his physicality. I just always thought that he was too slow to play the position, but he was spot on last game.”
Avant: “DeVonta Smith out-athleted a dude three straight times. Those plays are not normal. You shouldn’t be 150 pounds doing that type of stuff, to be able to go up on top of someone’s head on a 50-50 ball and come down with it three times in a row is very elite. That’s what you want from this receiving core.”
Mikell: “They need to start running the ball more, they need to start letting these linemen start to tee off, because after a while, they’re going to get sick of taking drop steps and getting teed off the entire game.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com
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