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September 15, 2022

Eytan Shander: Jonathan Gannon vs. Jalen Hurts

Opinion Eagles
Jalen-Hurts-open-practice_080722 Colleen Claggett/PhillyVoice

QB Jalen Hurts walks out from the tunnel during the Eagles' open practice at Lincoln Financial Field back on August 7.

They built around him.

They added veteran players and improved through the draft.

This was supposed to be the year Jalen Hurts takes the next step and proves he belongs in the NFL.

The Philadelphia Eagles did everything possible this offseason to ensure this man was worth the “hype” and the investment.

So far, not good.

The Eagles are admittedly 1-0 on the season but Jonathan Gannon is 0-1. He nearly lost the season opener with little to no gameplan outside of, “Hey, it’s Detroit so just show up.”

It felt like that for most of the game – really from the first drive on. No, just sending guys on a blitz isn’t a gameplan. It might look different than last year, but that’s back to just asking guys to show up from their hotel room and not put them in the proper position.

Do you think Andy Reid told us that for 14 years just to shut up Howard Eskin? There’s tons of truth in Reid’s statement, it just wore thin for a lot of the crowd who wanted more out of Reid on the field rather than his post-game comments.

Let’s be 100 percent clear and shine a light stronger than the Bat signal on this – the Eagles will only go as far as their defensive coordinator allows them.

Anyone who remains unsold on the abilities of Hurts, his arm, decision-making, confidence, or anything else should be screaming for the firing of Gannon. Like right now. If you are more like me, and recognize that Hurts is plenty good enough to succeed in this league, but needs a lot around him, then you are furious with Gannon’s lax approach.

Only a hypocrite would continue to pound some stupid drum for Hurts' departure without mentioning the same for Gannon. You simply cannot have one – not one – issue with Hurts before calling for the termination of the defensive coordinator. They added as much talent on defense to help Gannon as they did on offense to help Hurts. Both are crucial to this team’s immediate and long-term growth. Neither can afford to fail this year, or the team will.

Last week was an abomination for a coordinator who has so much talent on his side of the ball. There needs to be controlled chaos, not just sending guys without a plan. Goff still had time to make throws and the Lions' run game looked better than anything since Barry Sanders.

I hate the “hypothetical comparison” folks who live on Twitter just pontificating away on what would happen if something hypothetical – that has not nor will – happened, and swinging that around in some inane argument, but here we go.

The offensive equivalent of what Gannon did would be in the range of 180 passing yards, one total touchdown, three interceptions, two fumbles – one lost. Now, go ahead and ask yourself what your own reaction would be if that was the Hurts line following Sunday’s game. Ask yourself what our leading sports radio station and flagship show in the morning would say? What about your barber? Boss? Buddy at the gym?


The three people who impact a game more than any other non-players in any sport are NFL head coach and his three coordinators. We are great here thanks to special teams coordinator Mike Clay – and finally the coordinator under the head coach. Anyone telling you Gannon isn’t having as much impact on the game as Nick Sirianni is lying to you.

Week 2 best bet

Eagles/Vikings OVER 24.5 1st Half Total (DraftKings -110)

(We are 1-0 after hitting Hurts Under 0.5 INT – up 1 unit. We bet to win one at even money and bet the full unit at plus money.)

Yes, Dalvin Cook is drooling with his head cocked back like Homer Simpson, awaiting the opportunity to gash Mr. Gannon, but expect early passing. Both coaches are still young to the game and can’t wait to throw the football. How can you blame either with Justin Jefferson or AJ Brown on the field? The Eagles will have to keep up with pacing as the Vikings won’t hold the ball forever on scoring drives. Expect both teams to try and establish an early lead through the air!

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