Eagles Wide Out A.J. Brown Set to Face His Former Team
When the Eagles traded a 1st-rounder and 3rd-rounder in this years draft to acquire wide receiver A.J. Brown and gave him a 4-year extension worth $100M with $57.2M guaranteed in the deal, this is what they were hoping for.
Adding Brown to the offense has really paid off, giving Jalen Hurts that legitimate No. 1 wide receiver that all quarterbacks yearn for, giving Hurts a wide receiver that is open, even if he isn't really open.
According to ESPN Analytics, which introduced new Receiver Tracking Metrics this season, no wide receiver has been better on contested catches this season. Brown leads the NFL in yards (244) and TD's (4) on tight-window throws this season, and his 10 tight-window catches are tied for the 2nd most in the NFL after Los Angels Chargers wide out, Mike Williams.
This week, might be an ever bigger week for Brown, who is facing his former team for the first time since being traded away on draft night. However, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, doesn't see anything different from Brown in the days leading up to the game.
"Just business as usual," Sirianni explained on Friday. "I haven't noticed anything different, which is exactly what I'd like to see. Just nothing out of the ordinary. Get himself ready to play this game like he would get ready to play another game and so that's what I've seen out of them all week."
That's what separates the truly great players, they are focused on the task at hand, and this week's task is a big one, beating the always tough-minded Titans.
"I think the constant reminder is, hey, this game is big to us because it's our next one," Sirianni stated on Wednesday. "This game is big to us because we don't want to let each other down. You can't ride the waves of the season. To answer your question, no. I don't think you treat it any different with how you tell one player toward another player.
"But naturally human nature will take over, and that's my job as a coach to make sure that he knows he doesn't have to do anything more than just be A.J. Brown. That's why he's here. That's why we traded for him, that's why we paid him, because he's a phenomenal player. Just go be yourself. You don't have to do anything special because you're special enough to go out there and play."
So far this year he's been special, helping the Eagles jump out to a league best 10-1 record with his 53 catches for 831 yards (15.7 yards per catch) and seven scores. He gives the Eagles something they lacked last season, that dynamic wide receiver when you need a big plays, he can make it, even if it doesn't appear to be there.
While this is not a knock on the year Hurts has had, you can make an argument that adding Brown has pulled the best version of Hurts out, giving the Eagles an MVP candidate after 12 weeks of the season.
The two guys entered as best friends and might leave has one of the best WR-QB duos to ever play for the Eagles if they keep this up.