Eagles still searching for an identity 6 games into season

Fri Oct 15 6:24pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Six games into the season, the Philadelphia Eagles are still seeking an identity.

Nick Sirianni's play-calling has been questionable, quarterback Jalen Hurts has been inconsistent and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon's unit struggles against elite teams.

''When you've struggled the way we've struggled the last two weeks, that's the question you ask yourself every time, what is our identity, what do we need to do? Those are conversations that we're obviously having as an offensive staff,'' Sirianni said Friday, several hours after a 28-22 loss to Tampa Bay that wasn't as close as the score indicated.

''We have strong convictions and strong feels of what we think it is. Now, do we know 100% what our identity is? No. I don't actually think anybody in the NFL knows 100% what their identity is right now in game six. I think you're still building - even the teams that have been together for a long time. ... We are growing, we are finding it out more and more each week, and obviously we're accelerating that as much as we possibly can to put our guys in the best position we possibly can put them in.''

Change isn't coming.

''We're going to continue to do the things we've been doing as far as play-calling and game-planning,'' Sirianni said. ''We feel like we have a good process there of how we go through it. I am fortunate that on this staff, I have guys that have experience calling games, which is helping me throughout games. So, we're going to continue to stick with that. We've got a lot of confidence in that, and we've just got to execute and do better, but confident in our process there.''

The game plan for Thursday night against the Buccaneers called for pass, pass, pass. Miles Sanders had one carry in the first half. After the Eagles (2-4) fell behind 28-7, he got 50 of his 56 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.

Hurts was 12 of 26 for 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He made plays with his legs, scoring twice. But Hurts continues to miss throws from deep balls to mid-range ones.

''I'm not doing enough,'' Hurts said. ''I'm not doing enough right now to win. I'm not doing enough to start fast. We all know that this is a team sport and that it takes a collective group, and it takes all 11. But that one in the 11 is me, and it starts with me, and I will be better.''

The offense struggled for much of three quarters last week but rallied to beat Carolina 21-18. The fourth-quarter comeback wasn't going to cut it against the defending Super Bowl champions.

WHAT'S WORKING

Sanders ran well when he got the ball, averaging 6.2 yards per carry against the NFL's stingiest run defense. But he needs to carry the ball more than nine times.

NEEDS HELP

Hurts has to improve his accuracy. He completed only 46.2% of his passes against a depleted secondary missing four key members. It's his third time in six games under 60%.

STOCK UP

Sanders again proved why he should get the ball more than anyone on the offense. He's a playmaker who produces once he gets in a rhythm.

STOCK DOWN

Hurts is missing too many open throws. He extends plays with his legs and is a dynamic runner but the second-year pro still has plenty of work to do as a passer.

INJURED

Right tackle Lane Johnson remains out because of a personal issue.

KEY NUMBER

1 - The number of carries by running backs in the first half.

NEXT STEPS

The Eagles visit the Las Vegas Raiders (2-3) on Oct. 24.

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire Dec 5 11:40pm ET
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Javonte Williams Dec 5 11:40pm ET
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Denver Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams was finally unleashed on Sunday night against the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs with Melvin Gordon (hip, shoulder) inactive, and he didn't disappoint. Williams was the Broncos offense, carrying 23 times for 102 yards while adding a team-high six receptions on a team-high nine targets for 76 yards and a receiving score for Denver's lone touchdown in the 22-9 loss. He averaged 4.4 yards on the ground and looked like the real deal. Williams is one of the toughest backs in the league to bring down, and he's an extremely powerful runner with tackle-breaking ability. His fantasy managers will be crossing their fingers that Gordon won't return in Week 14 for a dream matchup against the Detroit Lions. If Gordon is out again, Williams will have RB1 upside.

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Darrel Williams Dec 5 11:40pm ET
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Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams recorded 20 yards on five carries in a Week 13 victory versus the Denver Broncos. The veteran was in for all third-down plays and recorded three receptions for 60 yards. With running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire healthy and back in the picture, Williams has fallen back into a backup role over the past two contests. Moving forward, Williams should be rostered by all Edwards-Helaire managers for the stretch run, but will be hard to trust without a full time role. Next up for Williams will be a Week 14 date against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that he had his best game of the season against earlier in the year.

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Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin finished with only three catches for 22 yards during the win over Las Vegas on Sunday. The 26-year-old disappeared in Week 13, and it came after he had at least seven targets in each game since Week 1. However, Logan Thomas (knee) likely is done for the year, so McLaurin could get more looks from Taylor Heinicke moving ahead, starting in Week 14 during the NFC North battle with the Cowboys.

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Marlon Humphrey Dec 5 11:13pm ET
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Derek Carr Dec 5 11:13pm ET
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Fantasy Spin: Carr has now finished with one touchdown or less in four of his last five games, and his hot start to the season seems like a distant memory. At this point, Carr is a reach as QB2.

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Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (ankle) has a high-ankle sprain, according to a source, and will undergo further testing Monday, Dec. 6.

Fantasy Spin: Not good. Regardless of the test results, it's improbable we'll see him in Week 14, and don't be surprised if he is out multiple weeks. WR K.J. Osborn will be a hot fantasy pickup this week.

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