December 07, 2021
Are power rankings completely dumb and meaningless? Yes. Yes, they are. However, personally speaking, whenever I see them, I click. And now that I've sucked you in with promises of many power rankings, you'll read it and like it.
Here's where people around the country have the Eagles ranked heading into Week 14 of the 2021 regular season. Oh, and here's our version of these sellout rankings, too.
Player who must step up: QB Jalen Hurts
It's not really Hurts vs. Gardner Minshew. It's Hurts vs. time. Hurts has four regular-season games left to convince the front office that instead of using their three first-round picks in April's draft to acquire a quarterback, they should use the resources to build around him. Hurts has had stretches this season when he has been among the most impactful quarterbacks in the game, but he has been inconsistent as a passer. If he can lead the Eagles to a postseason berth in coach Nick Sirianni's first year, it would make it all the more difficult for management to go in a different direction.
#JimmySays: I've wondered about whether the Eagles would go in a different direction if they made the playoffs. In my opinion, it shouldn't factor in much at all, whether they make it or not. The Eagles need to look at Hurts' play, not necessarily just the results of games. If Hurts plays well and the defense loses games, he shouldn't be dinged for that. Similarly, if he doesn't play very well, but the Eagles win games over a handful of shaky teams down the stretch and make the playoffs, I don't think that should go as a checkmark in his favor.
Hell, the Ravens once told Trent Dilfer "See ya" after they won a Super Bowl with him. A 9-8 record and a loss in the first round of the playoffs shouldn't result in an automatic bid to start in 2022.
There’s a reason why Gardner Minshew's postgame celebration with his father looked like a scene straight out of Friday Night Lights. With Jalen Hurts out with an ankle injury, Minshew was given one start to make an impression -- to plant the seed that he could be The Guy -- and he absolutely nailed his audition. Minshew completed his first 12 passes against the Jets and led Philly on seven consecutive scoring drives in a convincing win that led to the inevitable questions about Hurts’ job security. Nick Sirianni did a nice job of deflection, but Eagles fans have now caught MinshewMania in the same way Duval County did before them. Minshew is a fun and passionate player, with the underdog charisma of Rocky Balboa. No wonder Iggles fans are head over heels.
#JimmySays: Kudos to Minshew for playing well, as was sort of expected, if we're being realistic, but he's not "The Guy."
Here's a screenshot of SI's analysis:
#JimmySays: The whole point of having power rankings is to collect clicks. It's not like people are going to subscribe to read them when they can find them at a zillion other media outlets.
But anyway, SI had them at 18th overall.
No written analysis given, but the Eagles were upgraded from "the muddled middle" to "the contenders."
Though QB2 Gardner Minshew dressed and performed like Maverick Mitchell from "Top Gun" on Sunday, Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni was quick to signal Monday that QB1 Jalen Hurts has not been resigned to Goose's fate.
#JimmySays: You can be my wingman anytime.
Minshew Mania is back, baby!
With Jalen Hurts nursing a sore ankle, the Philadelphia Eagles turned to Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback against the New York Jets on Sunday. And just as he did during his debut with the Jaguars, Minshew played well, finishing 20-of-25 with two touchdowns and a passer rating of 133.7 in a 15-point win.
But as well as Minshew played, Ben Solak of The Ringer still expects Hurts to remain the Eagles' starter when they return to action in Week 15:
"Minshew might be able to better execute the passing game now, but the Eagles know what Minshew is: a really good backup and solid spot starter, akin to a Taylor Heinicke or Teddy Bridgewater. Hurts very well might end up in the same bucket, but he has far better physical tools, and the Eagles would rather see if they can cash on that potential in future years than make a quarterback change and win now."
#JimmySays: That's a good point by Ben. If the Eagles bench a healthy Hurts for Minshew, they'll wreck his trade value if the Eagles intend on acquiring a different quarterback this offseason.
One of the best moves of the offseason might end up being the Eagles trading a conditional sixth-round pick for Gardner Minshew II (and, conversely, one of the worst moves might be the bumbling Jaguars trading Minshew away for a ham sandwich). Minshew is signed through 2022 and has a salary of less than $1 million. Even if he's just a high-end backup, there's a lot of value in that.
#JimmySays: (In my "well actually" voice)... Well actuaaaalllly, in 2022, while Minshew is scheduled to count for $965,000 on the cap, that will get bumped up some on a "proven performance escalator" to a projected $2,396,000. But the point here is well taken that the Eagles found a good backup at a very low cost.
The Eagles would just be out of the playoffs if they started today. But they've turned their season around in a big way as they head to their bye - and they have a real chance to make a push.
#JimmySays: CBS with the 🔥 analysis as always.
(Also, they're behind a 5-7 Vikings team here that just lost to the previously winless Lions.)
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