Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the surprises of the 2021 season, going from a last place finish in the NFC East the previous year to a winning record and a playoff spot in the conference. Jalen Hurts grew as a quarterback throughout the season, which helped pace the Eagles to the top-ranked rushing attack in the league. The defense also improved in the second half, as Philadelphia went 7-2 from Week 8 to Week 17 — clinching a playoff berth with a week remaining in the regular season. 

To put the Eagles’ wins in perspective, only the Kansas City Chiefs won more games during that stretch. Expectations have only increased for 2022 after the offseason additions of A.J. Brown, Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, Kyzir White, Jordan Davis, and Nakobe Dean. 

How will Philadelphia handle becoming a playoff team to a potential contender in the conference? That’s the challenge head coach Nick Sirianni and the Eagles face with training camp starting next week. 

“I think the message is exactly the same as far as how we prepare and everything like that,” Sirianni said, via the Eagles website. “It’s just noticing the fact that, hey, there’s going to be a lot of people telling you how good you are. Probably more so, right? Or how good you could be. But that’s still could be. 

“The same amount of work is going to be required regardless if you have high expectations or low expectations. You have to work. You have to work. How many times have we seen a team start off really hot and maybe buy into the hype? So, that’s going to be something. I’m very conscious of that as far as I know what some of these guys are hearing as far as outside noise.”

How far the Eagles can go will be based on Hurts’ development. Hurts completed 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards with 16 touchdowns to nine interceptions for an 87.2 rating on the year, and he’s just the second quarterback in Eagles history to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 750 yards in a season — and the eighth to reach those numbers in NFL history. This was in his first season as the full time starting quarterback. 

Just like how the Eagles view Hurts, Sirianni will take things game-by-game. That’s how the Eagles plan to build their team amidst high expectations for this season. Philadelphia has a talented roster, but can it put things together? 

“The message is, ‘If we want to do what we want to do, if we want to win the first game and move on from that, then we have to be committed to the process of how we work,'” Sirianni said. “And that is high detail in meetings starting with the coaches, full speed to the snap in walkthrough, high intensity at practice, and a commitment to how we get better at the core values every single day.”

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