Despite some growing pains in his second NFL season, Jalen Hurts helped the Philadelphia Eagles reach the playoffs in his first year as a full-time starter in 2021.

The team is hoping he will take a big step forward entering his third pro season, and so far, coach Nick Sirianni has been impressed with his progress.

"I'm noticing a big difference," he told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. "What I see is a crisper ball. The accuracy I've been very pleased with. You can just see him taking strides every single day with his accuracy because of the fundamentals he has with his feet and his upper body."

Hurts' focus since Philadelphia’s 2021 season ended with a 31-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round has been on his footwork and his throwing mechanics with an emphasis on his timing.

A major advantage for the 23-year-old quarterback this offseason is that he is working with the same offensive system from 2021 – the first time since high school he has used the same playbook in successive seasons.

"That's been very pivotal going into the offseason ... just being decisive out there on the field, knowing pretty much where I'm going to go with the ball based off the look that they give me," Hurts said. "There's a natural maturation there, as I've always talked about."

Hurts led all quarterbacks in rushing yards with 784 and rushing touchdowns with 10 in 2021, but was not one of the more dangerous passing QBs.

He ranked 15th in yards per attempt (7.28), 22nd in passer rating (87.2), 26th in completion percentage (61.3) and was tied with three other QBs for 23rd in TD passes (16). In the golden age of passing, he had just two 300-yard passing games while Philadelphia averaged 200.2 passing yards per game – eighth lowest in the NFL and fewest by a playoff team.

"We want that to come up," Sirianni said in reference to the passing ranking.

The offseason addition of A.J. Brown should help with the Eagles’ passing attack. Brown led the Tennessee Titans last season with 63 catches for 869 yards and five receiving touchdowns and will team with DeVonta Smith, who led Philadelphia with 64 receptions for 916 yards and five TD receptions as a rookie in 2021.

"It's my job to just go out there and play point guard," Hurts said. "Distribute the ball, get the playmakers the ball, and my plays will come."

The Philadelphia Eagles have boosted their defense with the signing of cornerback James Bradberry on a one-year deal.

Bradberry arrives on a deal reportedly worth $10million following his release by the New York Giants, who let him go for salary cap relief.

A Pro Bowler in 2020, Bradberry has delivered consistent production across his NFL career.

His 2020 season with the Giants saw him record 18 pass breakups and three interceptions, and he followed that up with 17 breakups and four picks in 2021, despite the Giants finishing bottom of the NFC East with a 4-13 record.

Only J.C. Jackson (37) and Xavien Howard (36) have registered more breakups than Bradberry's tally of 35 over the past two seasons.

He will now form what looks an imposing starting cornerback partnership with Darius Slay.

Since 2016, Slay and Bradberry are the only two players in the NFL to register at least 15 interceptions and 80 or more pass breakups.

Having excelled on a struggling Giants team, the Eagles will hope Bradberry can continue to thrive on a defense that was the eighth-best in opponent yards per play allowed in 2021 as they look to take the next step following last season's Wild Card round exit.

After being projected as first-round picks in the NFL Draft, quarterback Malik Willis and linebacker Nakobe Dean finally heard their names called in the 80s.

Willis, 22, came out of nowhere in 2021, throwing for 2857 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and was the most impressive athlete in this year's quarterback class, rushing for 878 yards and 13 touchdowns.

During the pre-draft process, Willis was discussed as potentially the second overall pick, but did not hear his name called until the 22nd pick of the third round, when the Tennessee Titans traded up and selected him at 86. 

He went three picks later than Dean, who was the leader of arguably the greatest defense in college football history in the Georgia Bulldogs' National Championship team.

In the conversation for first linebacker to be selected, information emerged during the second round that Dean's medicals were not as clean as he would have hoped after suffering a pectoral injury in the pre-draft process.

The medical red flags scared teams off until the Philadelphia Eagles selected him at 83.

Perhaps the biggest storyline entering the 2022 NFL Draft did not concern a prospect, but one of the premier wide receivers in the NFL. Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers was not traded during Thursday's first round but, if there were any doubts that wideout is now a premium position, they were extinguished emphatically in Las Vegas.

Six wide receivers came off the board in the first 18 picks amid a flurry of trades, including two involving established receivers who at least have one 1,000-yard season in their first three years in the NFL.

There was mild surprise when the Atlanta Falcons made USC's Drake London the first receiver picked with the eighth overall selection, but significantly more eyebrow-raising moves were to follow.

The New Orleans Saints jumped from 16 to 11 to pick Ohio State's Chris Olave one pick after his former college team-mate Garrett Wilson was taken by the Jets with a 10th pick that was reportedly offered to the Niners as part of a package for Samuel.

It was the Detroit Lions who made the most ambitious receiver trade of the night, jumping 20 spots up the board from 32 to 12 in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings to make Jameson Williams their second selection of the first round despite doubts over when he will be ready to play after tearing his ACL in the final game of his college career.

Williams' appeal is obvious, the former Alabama star a dynamic speedster who registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 74.6 per cent of his targets in 2021.

He led all receivers in burn yards per target, his average of 19.34 nearly five full yards better than that of his nearest challenger, Cincinnati's Alec Pierce (14.74), and was also the cream of the crop in burn yards per route (4.9).

But it is the scale of the move up the board that is illustrative of just how determined NFL teams have become to add big-play receivers to their offensive arsenal, and the message was further hammered home as, after the Washington Commanders used the 16th pick on another wideout in Jahan Dotson, the Philadelphia Eagles made the defining move of the first round with their trade with the Tennessee Titans, sending the 18th pick and a third-rounder to acquire A.J. Brown.

Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020 before injuries disrupted his 2021 campaign, was promptly reported as having received a four-year extension with Philadelphia worth up to $100million, with $47m guaranteed, the $25million average annual value of that deal reportedly what Samuel was looking to be paid before he requested a trade from San Francisco.

The choice for teams wanting to keep a playmaking receiver on the roster seems to be clear. Pay over $20m a year for one or spend a premium pick on a rookie. The Titans, in trading Brown and then selecting a rookie with a comparable playing style in Treylon Burks out of Arkansas, elected to do the latter.

"We got to a spot where it was going to be hard to get a deal done," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Brown after the first round.

The Ravens ran into difficulty with his namesake Marquise Brown, who was said to have requested a trade after the season and was also dealt on draft night to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for the 23rd overall pick.

While the Titans caved in and parted with Brown, the Niners remained steadfast in refusing to trade Samuel, even with a top-10 pick seemingly on the table, their resoluteness in itself reflecting the massive value of a player who was the heart and soul of the San Francisco offense as the 49ers made the NFC Championship Game last season.

Also running the ball out of the backfield consistently in a dual role, Samuel labelling himself a 'wide back', the 2019 second-round pick is a unique case. Yet the message that was definitively reiterated through the Niners refusal to part ways with him and the hive of activity surrounding receivers in the first round is clear, receivers who can make field-flipping momentum-changing plays are firmly among the most valued assets in the NFL.

Of the top 10 receivers with the most receptions of 20 yards or more in 2021, only two – Justin Jefferson and Tyler Lockett – did not feature on playoff teams. Four – Cooper Kupp (30), Samuel (23), Ja'Marr Chase (22) and Tee Higgins (17) – played on Conference Championship Sunday, as did the 11th-placed wideout in the category, Samuel's Niners team-mate Brandon Aiyuk (16).

Quarterback is king in the NFL, and tackle, edge rusher and offensive tackle have long since been viewed as next on the hierarchy as 'premium positions'. The 2021 season encapsulated the value of explosive wideouts and, with that campaign followed by an offseason in which Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were both traded and received mega-deals and Thursday's first-round chaos brought on by the high demand for receivers, there can be little room for argument the position now carries the same importance as those other non-quarterback spots that have traditionally had the highest billing.

Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson called the decision to trade star receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles a "tough one".

Brown, 24, is one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL, and plays at a premier position, but Robinson indicated the franchise was not willing to pay him the contract he desired.

Despite his immense talent, Brown had the least productive season of his career in 2021 as he was restricted to 13 games, while the Titans opted to buck the league trend of increasing pass attempts, instead running the ball at a high rate.

Tennessee's number one target finished the season with 869 yards and five touchdowns from 63 catches – a career-low in yards and touchdowns.

Speaking to Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt after the first round, Robinson said it was a tough decision, but that Brown's contract demands were too much.

"The decision we made on A.J. Brown was a tough one," he said. "We appreciate everything he did on the team and in the community.

"We got to a spot where it was going to be hard to get a deal done… the gap [in contract extension value] was too big."

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said it was painful to part ways with a player he cares deeply about.

"I love A.J. Brown personally," he said. "We went to the extreme to keep A.J. Brown here. 

"I was involved in the entire process. It was a difficult one to get through, and the gap was big."

Speaking about Treylon Burks, whom they acquired with the 18th overall pick received in exchange for Brown, Vrabel said: "We liked Treylon Burks even when A.J. was on our roster."

In the most significant trade from the first round of the NFL Draft, wide receiver A.J. Brown was traded from the Tennessee Titans to the Philadelphia Eagles for pick 18 and a third-rounder.

Brown, 24, is considered one of the best young receivers in the league, but is coming off his least productive season with 869 yards and five touchdowns from 63 catches, having battled injuries in 2021.

The Eagles previously traded up to pick 13, where they took defensive tackle Jordan Davis after four receivers were selected from the previous five picks.

Philadelphia were clearly determined not to end the night without a franchise-altering talent for quarterback Jalen Hurts to throw to, and parted ways with their second selection to make it happen.

After the trade, it was announced Brown had agreed to a four-year extension with Philadelphia worth up to $100million, with $47m guaranteed.

The Titans used pick 18 on Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks, who has received comparisons to both Brown and Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers.

The New Orleans Saints have finalized a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire an extra first-round pick in this year's NFL Draft.

The deal sees the Saints acquiring picks 16 and 19 overall from the Eagles, as well as a sixth-round pick, and in return, the Eagles received pick 18, a third-rounder and a seventh-rounder in this year's draft.

Philadelphia will also receive the Saints' first-round pick in 2023, and their second-round pick in 2024.

Consensus around the trade is that it was a 'win-win', as the Saints will be able to add an immediate injection of quality young talent into an ageing roster, while the Eagles added another premium pick in next year's draft, which features a far superior quarterback class.

Philadelphia had three first-round picks before the trade, and will still enter the draft with three of the first 51 selections (15, 18 and 51), while New Orleans has three of the first 49 (16, 19 and 49).

The Philadelphia Eagles have boosted their pass rush by agreeing a three-year deal with Haason Reddick.

According to a report from NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Reddick will sign a contract worth $45million with $30m guaranteed.

It comes following back-to-back double-digit sack seasons for Reddick with two different teams.

A first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2017, Reddick registered 12.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 15 tackles for loss for Arizona in 2020.

He then signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers, for whom he racked up 11 sacks, 18 quarterback hits and 12 tackles for loss.

Now Reddick gets the chance to head home, having been born just five miles outside of Philadelphia in Camden, New Jersey and played his college football for the Temple Owls, who play their home games at the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field. 

Reddick could form an exciting duo with the Eagles' Josh Sweat, the 2018 fourth-round pick who last season recorded a career-high 7.5 sacks.

In 2021, the Eagles finished eighth in Stats Perform's pass rush win rate and will hope Reddick's arrival can help them maintain that top-10 status.

Brandon Brooks, the Philadelphia Eagles' right guard in their Super Bowl LII success, has announced his retirement.

Brooks, who was a third-round pick for the Houston Texans in 2012, moved to Philadelphia in 2016 and enjoyed great success.

The guard was a three-time Pro Bowl selection – in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – and played his part in the championship triumph against the New England Patriots in February 2018.

However, Brooks subsequently suffered a series of injury setbacks.

Although the player recovered from a torn right Achilles tendon in the following postseason to play every game in 2019, a tear to his left Achilles kept him on the sideline throughout 2020.

And a 2021 return lasted only two weeks before Brooks sustained a torn pectoral muscle, ultimately ending his career.

"After all of these injuries, I just realised: at what point do you listen to your body?" the 32-year-old said on Wednesday.

"I think my body was just telling me I had to make a decision, and at this point in time, I think it's the right decision."

Bruce Arians is hoping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can keep an offensive line he believes is the best in football together after Tristan Wirfs suffered an ankle injury in their Wild Card round win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

An ankle injury to right tackle Wirfs, which he unsuccessfully tried to return from, was one of the few blots on a routine 31-15 victory for the Buccaneers.

Center Ryan Jensen also suffered an injury but returned to the game, with Tampa Bay's win and the San Francisco 49ers' upset triumph over the Dallas Cowboys meaning the Bucs will face either the Los Angeles Rams or Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional Round.

Asked about the injury to Wirfs, Arians told a media conference: "He's got a sprained ankle, we'll see.

"Hopefully they're [the injuries] not super serious, Jensen came back in, Tristan tried it, other than that we came out pretty clean.

"Hopefully we can keep our offensive line intact because I think they're the best in football, Tristan especially, they'll be working on that ankle non-stop."

Running back Leonard Fournette, whose performance in the postseason last year was key to the Buccaneers winning Super Bowl LV, was not activated for this game as he tries to return from a hamstring injury.

On Fournette, Arians said: "Until he's top speed we're not going to use him."

While Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts struggled and threw a pair of interceptions in his first playoff start, Tom Brady was faultless in his record 46th postseason start.

He completed 29 of 37 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns including a 36-yard strike to Mike Evans.

"Once Tom figures you out, you're in trouble," Arians added. "That was a dime he threw to Mike for that long touchdown, he's a surgeon, man, once he figures you out and we can put him in a position and protect him, he's gonna eat you up."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' hopes of winning back-to-back Super Bowls remain firmly intact after a crushing 31-15 Wild Card round win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tampa Bay's defense welcomed back two stars of their Super Bowl LV blowout of the Kansas City Chiefs in the form of Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, and that group dominated an Eagles team that looked ill-prepared for the challenge of knocking off the defending champions.

Philadelphia did not beat a single team that qualified for the playoffs in their nine-win regular season, and this contest soon had the look of a mismatch as the Eagles punted three times, turned the ball over on downs and saw Jalen Hurts throw the first of his two interceptions on their opening five offensive series.

Touchdown runs by Giovani Bernard and Ke'Shawn Vaughn propelled the Bucs to a 17-0 half-time lead and, as Hurts struggled in his first playoff start, Tom Brady showed the benefit of his experience in his record 46th postseason start.

A muffed punt by Jalen Reagor set up a Brady touchdown pass to another seemingly ageless wonder in Rob Gronkowski and Hurts' second interception was followed immediately by a 36-yard strike to Mike Evans.

Late Eagles scores from Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell proved little more than consolations on a day when the only concern for the Buccaneers was a worrying ankle injury to right tackle Tristan Wirfs.

After the Patriots saw their playoff campaign emphatically come to an end on Saturday, the man who left New England to further his legacy begins his quest for an eighth ring on Sunday.

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be expected to win in routine fashion in their Wild Card round matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, while the team they beat in last season's Super Bowl, the Kansas City Chiefs, are anticipated to end Ben Roethlisberger's career with a routine victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Sandwiched between those two potential blowouts is the game of the weekend as two storied rivals, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, contest a long overdue renewal of acquaintances in the postseason.

As Stats Perform's look at Sunday's action explains, both the Niners and the Cowboys possess the offense firepower to ensure the matchup lives up to its lofty expectations.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The defending champion Bucs are unsurprisingly the heavy favourites against an Eagles team that claimed nine wins in the regular season, none of which came against an opponent that made the postseason.

Not much stock will be put in the history of this encounter, even if it does make pleasant reading for any Eagles fans looking for reason for hope.

The Eagles and Buccaneers have split their 20 all-time meetings, with each team winning eight regular-season games and two in postseason play. Their only postseason matchup in Tampa was a 24-17 win by the Bucs in 1979, their first-ever playoff win.

All eyes at Raymond James Stadium will be on Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, who is set for another piece of history in his seemingly endless career.

Brady will be playing in his 19th postseason and in his 46th career playoff start, the most by any player in NFL history. At age 44, Brady will break his own record for the oldest quarterback to start a playoff game. Brady has more playoff wins since turning 36 years old (17) than any other QB has in his entire career.

Dak Prescott deflected praise after setting new milestones with the most touchdowns in a single season in Dallas Cowboys history and a career-high five touchdowns in Saturday's 51-26 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 28-year-old Cowboys quarterback completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns against the under-strength Eagles.

Prescott, who missed the bulk of last season with an ankle injury, went past Tony Romo (36) for the most touchdown passes in a single season.

"It's special," Prescott told ESPN after the game. "A record like that that's this team, that's this offense.

"All the different guys that caught passes or the guys that protected, everybody played a part in it. I'm just the beneficiary of it.

"But to know where I was 12 months ago and to be where we are now, headed to the playoffs, I'm very excited."

The Cowboys win means they must wait on Sunday's results to learn their playoffs fate but they can be as high as the second seed in the NFC after finishing with a 12-5 record.

Among Dallas' potential playoffs match-ups is the 11-5 Arizona Cardinals who defeated the Cowboys last weekend 25-22.

"It doesn’t matter," Prescott said when asked if he wanted to face the Cardinals again to get revenge.

"Line them up. To get to where we wanna go, you've got to beat the best. Whoever it is, wherever it is, we're ready for this run."

The Cowboys piled on seven touchdowns against the Eagles, with five different scorers meaning they set a new NFL record for most players (22) to score TDs in a single season.

"We got some momentum going," Prescott said. "We were able to score some touchdowns on offense. We had some success running the ball and throwing the ball.

"More importantly the momentum, the rhythm and fun. The camaraderie we have, we just played together and wanted to finish the season off the right way. I think we did that in all facets of the game."

Dak Prescott threw a career-high five touchdown passes and broke a franchise-record single-season record as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 on Saturday.

Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards, claiming the Cowboys' record for most single-season touchdown passes, going past Tony Romo's mark of 36.

The win improves means the Cowboys finish the regular season with a 12-5 record but will need to wait on Sunday's result to learn their NFC seeding which could be as high as second and as low as fourth.

Dallas head into the playoffs with a 5-1 run across their past six games after a two-game mid-season losing streak and go 6-0 in the NFC East.

Cedric Wilson (119 yards for five receptions) and Dalton Schultz both scored two TDs, while Corey Clement, Ito Smith and JaQuan Hardy also got on the scoresheet.

Upon Hardy's 22-yard rushing touchdown, the Cowboys broke the record for most players (22) to score a TD in a single season.

The Eagles, who rested numerous key players, are playoffs bound despite a 9-8 record. Eagles QB Gardner Minshew, who stepped in for Jalen Hurts due to an ankle injury, threw 19 of 33 passes for 186 yards and two TDs with one interception.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts says Sunday's railing collapse at FedEx Field "could have been so much worse" and wants changes made.

Hurts was exiting the field after Sunday's 20-16 win at the Washington Football Team when railing on the side of the tunnel collapsed with fans falling and spilling on to the ground.

The Eagles QB narrowly avoided being crushed by the fall and assisted fans to their feet and posed for pictures with them but insisted it cannot happen again.

"I tried to handle the situation with a lot of poise and show compassion for the people that fell down, really, but I know it could have been so much worse," Hurts said during a news conference.

"It kind of didn't hit me until after the fact, having some time to reflect on it and think about it. I just wanted to see what could be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. That's all I really care about."

Hurts has penned a letter to the Washington Football Team seeking clarification on what safeguards can be put in place to ensure it never happens again.

"What follow-up action is being considered in response to the near-tragic incident that took place at FedEx Field on January 2, 2022," Hurts wrote.

"Through the initial shock, my first reaction was to assist those involved. However, while I displayed a calm composure, I understand the severity of what happened and am extremely concerned for the well-being of the fans and media.

"As a result, I would like to know what safeguards the NFL and the Washington Football Team are implementing to prevent this from ever occurring in the future.

"The resources of the NFL and team organizations ensure our safety through playing this physical sport, but what happened Sunday put both fans and players unnecessarily at risk long after the final whistle. I look forward to hearing from you on this matter."

There have been reports of minor injuries from those involved in the fall but Washington released a statement following the incident on Sunday which said: "To our knowledge, everyone involved was offered onsite medical evaluation and left the stadium of their own accord."

Page 1 of 5
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.