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Stopping Run Or Pass, Focus Has To Be On Hurts


Football analyst Bucky Brooks goes behind the line this week to preview the Eagles who come to AT&T Stadium with a 1-1 record.

Here's a look at the other side of the ball and who will be the key players for the Eagles in their matchup with the Cowboys.

Who's the Guy… Jalen Hurts

The Eagles' QB1 has quietly put up numbers that rival former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson as a dual-threat playmaker. Hurts is 84 yards shy of joining Jackson as the only quarterbacks with 500-plus rushing yards in his first seven career starts. As a passer, the second-year pro has completed 56.5% of his passes with an 8-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio for an 86.6 passer rating. He has picked apart defenses with a myriad of quick passes, screens, and crossers to complement the Eagles' read-option running game with Hurts as the point man.

Don't Sleep On… Miles Sanders

The Eagles' lead runner is a dynamic weapon out of the backfield as a runner-receiver with speed and quickness. Sanders has 167 scrimmage yards after two games but he has tallied 272 career scrimmage yards against the Cowboys—his most against any team.

Know His Name: Fletcher Cox

The six-time Pro Bowler is the point on the sword for the Eagles' defense. The 10th-year pro has 54.5 career sacks, 71 tackles for loss, and 130 QB hits as a rugged interior pass rusher. If Cox is able to set the tone as a disruptor at the point of attack, the Eagles' defense can create problems for opponents unable to control No.91 without double teams.

Under Pressure: Darius Slay

The Eagles' No.1 corner must be prepared to face Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb on the island without assistance. The Cowboys' emerging running game will make it challenging for the Eagles to keep a safety over the top of a struggling defender due to the potential of breakout by Ezekiel Elliott or Tony Pollard. Slay must be able to hold up in one-on-one coverage as part of their base package or the Eagles' defense plans could go up in smoke early in the game.

Numbers Game: 68

Jalen Hurts ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards on designed runs. According to PFF, Hurts ranks third behind Lamar Jackson (226) and Daniel Jones (109) with 68 yards on QB runs.

Offensive Strategy:

The Eagles have created a modified college offense around Hurts' talents as a dual-threat playmaker. Hurts has terrorized opponents with his powerful running skills and quick-rhythm passing ability. Nick Sirianni has elevated his young quarterback's game by stealing pages from the Oklahoma playbook to help the second-year pro getting into a solid rhythm. With Hurts playing with confidence at the position, the Eagles' supporting cast has flashed some playmaking ability on the perimeter.

Defensive Strategy:

The Eagles are a hard-playing bunch with a number of dynamic athletes in prime positions. They run to the ball like a pack of wolves and make opponents earn every yard in the run and pass game. With Fletcher Cox setting the table as an inside disruptor, the Eagles have the potential to make it an ugly game with the defensive line committee controlling the line of scrimmage. If the Eagles are able to get solid coverage in the defensive backfield, they could make it a hard-fought sixty-minute affair on Monday night.

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