‘Make Sure He’s Ready”
Q&A: Shelve Hurts Until Full Strength
The latest Philadelphia Eagles victory saw the team go through peaks and valleys, along with needing to now adjust for the injury to their star quarterback.
On the latest “Q&A” podcast on Inside The Birds, former Eagles standouts Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell broke down the 25-20 win over the Bears, discussed the outlook of the team in the aftermath of Jalen Hurts’ shoulder injury, and previewed the Week 16 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason Avant: “When I saw it, I thought it was going to be his collarbone. You usually break your collarbone in that situation when you get a 250-pound dude putting all of his weight on him on purpose. It was definitely on purpose. The reason I know that is because I’ve had conversations with many defensive linemen that have said before, ‘If I get a chance, I’m going to try to knock the QB out.’ That was one of those. That’s why a couple of weeks ago when everyone was so impressed with Jalen Hurts running for 150 something yards versus the Green Bay Packers, I didn’t want to see that.”
Quintin Mikell: “It’s tough on the running QBs because [opposing defense’s] plan is to inflict as much damage as they can on these quarterbacks. It was tough to see. I’ve had a shoulder sprain before in college. They are not fun to deal with. I played through them, but I was a safety, not a QB. I wasn’t expected to throw. Every type of movement hurts. If I’m Nick Sirianni, I’m going to sit him the next two games even if he’s 100% to make sure he’s ready for that playoff run.”
Mikell: “He has been a starter in this league. He’s smart, he’s done it before. You just can’t go in and expect him to do too much. Just go in and play your game plan. They’re going to have to rely on the run a little bit more, hope your defense plays aggressive and gets some turnovers and extra possessions for the offense. I hate to say the word game manager but it’s almost like he has to be one for this next game. Just manage the game, don’t make any big mistakes, put the ball where it needs to be, no turnovers, and get out of there with a win.”
Avant: “I think Gardner Minshew’s a baller. I think he’s probably the best backup – top five-backup, for sure – in the league.”
Mikell: “The way to attack this Eagles offense is you have to attack this offensive line. What I saw [from the Bears defense] was a lot of stunts, movement, guys weren’t just coming off of the ball and playing gaps. It made it more difficult for the o-line to do their combos and pulls because you’re not sure if someone’s going to be where they’re supposed to be. If I’m Jason Kelce and I’m pulling and there’s a guy in front of me who all of a sudden slants, it changes everything up all the way down the line. Every time there was a zone run, they were forcing Jalen to pull the ball and run.”
Mikell: “When you’re going into a game and a team’s not letting you get off the RPOs when you want, then you need to go back to a traditional run game, which we’ve seen them do in the past. For whatever reason, they refused to do it early on and that affected the rest of the game.”
Mikell: “He’s a big, strong body. Scheme-wise, as a cornerback, there’s only so much you can take away. When you’re taught to funnel the ball, especially if you’re in man coverage, you’re expecting the linebackers to be in the middle of those passing lanes…When you have a guy that’s 230 [pounds], can run screens, run down the field, can do pretty much everything, it’s tough sledding.”
Avant: “He’s so good at slants. He’s explosive and sudden as well. You don’t want to give up the go route, and he makes it look the same. He’s fast for that big body. He gets all of that in motion and then breaks inside, you can’t do anything about that. You would rather give that up rather than him running by you.”
Avant: “They’re facing some bad o-lines. However, our guys are dominant. Once this happens, leading the league in sacks, it’s going to continue to happen because the confidence is at an all-time high…You have B.G. (Brandon Graham) who’s a superior bull rusher because he gets low and he can hit on the rise and keep his momentum. Then you have Josh Sweat, who gets off the ball better than everybody, and he’s long and rangy. Then you have a great bender and counter-rusher in Haason Reddick. Those three dudes with three different styles are just unguardable, especially when they bring them to you at different times. Then you have gap shooters like (Javon) Hargrave and a big powerful dude like Fletcher Cox, it’s a lot of variety up front.”
Avant: “It’s going to be a tough game because we won’t have the read-option element in this game without Jalen Hurts. Micah Parsons is going to face a more traditional dropback passer, which is a traditional Parsons versus Jordan Mailata matchup, tough for Mailata. The Eagles can do what the Jaguars did and get the ball out extremely quick to their playmakers. They’re missing Anthony Brown, he’s out for the season. You have a very aggressive Trevon Diggs, who all three of our guys can by with a double move, we just have to be willing to take those shots.”
Mikell: “I think our defense is going to shut them down. Dak (Prescott) hasn’t been the same since his injury, he gets skittish back there and throws interceptions. Their defense is up and down, but Dak and this offense is really their weakness right now.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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