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Eagles Begin the Season 3-0 after Handling Bucs

The Eagles have yet to play their best football and, despite that, have started the season 3-0 for the second straight year. Head coach Nick Sirianni echoed that sentiment after the Birds' 25-11 victory over the Buccaneers on Monday night, saying, "It's a growth process. We're not a final product yet."

The last time that Philadelphia started 3-0 in back-to-back seasons was 1992-93, and it is the 11th time overall they have accomplished that. The Eagles have scored 25 or more points in every game, beating the Patriots 25-20, the Vikings 34-28, and the Bucs 25-11. Here are the biggest takeaways from the season's first three games for Jalen Hurts and the boys.


Getting Accustomed to New Coaching Staff


The only downside to making it to the Super Bowl - other than losing, of course - is losing your coordinators to head coaching jobs. That's precisely what happened to the Eagles this year: offensive coordinator Shane Steichen left for the Indianapolis Colts, and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon to the Arizona Cardinals. Ask any Eagles fan, and they'd say losing Gannon wasn't terrible. Most of them packed their bags on the way out. While Gannon just got back into the Eagles' graces by beating the Cowboys on Sunday, the Philadelphia defense has been dominant under new DC Sean Desai.


"I had a lot of confidence in our defense, and we hired Sean (Desai) because we had a lot of confidence in him," Sirianni said. "I think what we're doing well is playing with good fundamentals and playing physical. That'll take you through whatever you're trying to do."


That defense suffocated the Bucs and Baker Mayfield all Monday night, surrendering just 174 yards. Rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter got five pressures of his own (more on him later). Despite losing five starters on last year's defense, this year's reason is just as strong and has the chance to be even greater. It's been a familiar sentiment of "next man up" as they lost slot corner Avonte Maddox to a torn pec before middle linebacker Nakobe Dean also went on the injured reserve with a torn pec. Safety Justin Evans left with a neck injury against Tampa Bay. The two guys that are taking the place of free agent loss, Javon Hargrave, Jordan Davis, and Carter, are looking tremendous. Davis is on his way to a breakout season, and Carter looks like the frontrunner for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Davis got huge pressure on what led to the Eagles getting a safety in the third quarter against Tampa Bay.





On the other side of the ball, the offense has been a little rusty, as the defense has picked them up. The loss of Steichen has undoubtedly been felt, especially in red zone offense. There have been plenty of head-scratching play calls when they have gotten within scoring range. The Eagles rank just 25th in red-zone efficiency after going 1-for-5 down there on Monday. They have scored touchdowns on just 5 of 11 red zone trips (45.5%) through three games. This offense has way too much talent, from the offensive line to the playmakers, to settle for under six in the red zone.

Hurts has also not looked himself, as he threw two interceptions on Monday and has looked a little shaky in the pocket. The good news is that he is making mistakes that he will undoubtedly learn from, and he seemed to calm down as the game went on. The Eagles have handled their opponents despite not playing to their full potential offensively. The rest of the NFL better watch out when they find it.


You Belong With Me (D'Andre's Version)


General Manager Howie Roseman continues to be a God. Back in April, he sent a 2025 fourth-round pick and a 2023 seventh-round to the Lions for D'Andre Swift, bringing the Philadelphia native home. It has been one heck of a homecoming so far, as the only Swift-Kelce duo that anyone has been talking about these last few days has been center Jason Kelce and D'Andre Swift, right? But seriously, the running back Swift has shown that he and Philly belong together. After somehow only getting one carry in Week 1, the Georgia alum went off for 175 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings in Week 2 and 130 yards in Week 3. He rushed for an average of 8.1 yards per carry against the Bucs and 6.2 yards per carry against Minnesota. Swift is just the 14th player in NFL history with over 300 rushing yards and a rushing average of at least 6.8 three games into a season. He is also only the fourth Eagles running back with 130 rushing yards in consecutive games since 1970. His 305 total yards in the two games are the seventh-most in a two-game span in franchise history and the most since Bryce Brown ran for 347 yards against the Panthers (178) and Cowboys (169) in 2012. The Eagles' dominant offensive line, made up of Kelce, right tackle Lane Johnson, left tackle Jordan Mailata, right guard Cam Jurgens, and left guard Landon Dickerson, has certainly helped Swift run wild. But he has taken over the last two games with his thunderous inside runs behind the line and is second in the NFL in rushing yards, despite just that one carry in Week 1. The passing game has looked shaky, but if the Eagles can keep pounding the rock like this with Swift, they won't be able to be stopped once the passing game gets going. Swift pulled out all the stops as he hurdled Tampa Bay safety Antoine Winfield Jr. on his way to a 26-yard run in the third quarter.





Jalen Carter is Still a Beast


Did I mention Howie Roseman is a God? Not only did he acquire their new offensive toy in Swift, but he pulled out another magical draft class. That is led by their first-round pick, Jalen Carter, who fell into their laps at ninth overall. As mentioned earlier, Carter is well on his way to being the Defensive Rookie of the Year. His five pressures against Mayfield this week were a team-high and came over 16 pass-rush snaps. He is tied for second in three games amongst NFL defensive tackles with 15 pressures. The only defensive tackle with more is Hargrave, who has 18 pressures with his new team, the San Francisco 49ers. Carter's 15 pressures rank ahead of Washington's Jonathan Allen, who has 14, and he also has generated six pressures against double teams. That ranks second among defensive players, behind only Cowboys' Micah Parsons.





Try to Stop the 'Tush Push'


The name of the fanbase of the Kelce brothers' podcast, New Heights, is the "92%ers," and there's a good reason for that. The most talked about play these days, and perhaps most scrutinized, is the QB sneak push play, otherwise known as the "Tush Push" or my new favorite, the "Brotherly Shove." That play last year had a 92 percent success rate, and while it has been stopped a couple of times this year, it is seeing similar "unstoppable" success. Hurts scored on that play in the third quarter on Monday, his 29th career rushing touchdown, the most ever by an NFL quarterback in his first 50 games. Much like Mariano Rivera's cutter, everyone knows what's coming with the "Brotherly Shove," but very few have been able to do anything about it. The Eagles run the play every time they get to third- or fourth-and-short. Even if the defense can stop it one time, they more than likely won't be able to stop it twice. Everyone can do the same play; not every team in the NFL has the bulldozers that Philly has.

Nonetheless, don't hate it cause you can't do it. Also, don't act slimy about it and say you want Hurts to get injured cause you hate how good the Eagles are on the play. On Wednesday, NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms noted that if he were a defensive coach, he'd ask his players to go "headhunting" on the quarterback. That's not a good look.





Kielar's Three Stars of the Eagles 3-0 start


3rd Star - Reed Blankenship (19 TOT tackles, 1 INT, 3 pass deflections)

2nd Star - D'Andre Swift (45 carries, 308 yards, 1 TD, 6.8 YPC)

1st Star - Jalen Carter (5 TOT tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 FF, 15 pressures)


Main Image from Getty Images

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