REPEATING as division champs in 2021 may have just gotten easier for the Philadelphia Eagles. With the NFL officially announcing the cancellation of the 2020 preseason, all teams will have to go from Training Camp and practices, directly to games that count.
This means no team gets any dress rehearsal games to see who can and and who can’t play. Some like to cry about how this will affect fringe players, who traditionally need some tape to help them make other teams. This however, gifts the Eagles with some serious early advantages.
The first advantage we get, is all three of our division rivals have new head coaches. We knew we’d have that months ago, but the advantage has stiffened for us. All of our opponent’s players are learning totally new systems, and will have to deal with the trial and ERRORS that come as a result of so much change.
Some may argue that the Dallas Cowboys offense is an exception, because they kept their old system and coordinator. The knee-jerk reaction is that, at least their offense should be fine. However, it can be argued that in some ways, that may make things worse for them. Much worse.
Rhythm counts a great deal in football. A new coach will call a game differently, making the familiar feel either, “refreshing” at best, or “foreign” at worst. Throw in a new C to QB exchange, plus a dip in TE run-blocking talent, and you have the makings of a seriously off-rhythm team, that becomes frustrated when reliable plays from the last four years, suddenly aren’t. Particularly in the early part of the season.
The second advantage we get, is that we aren’t relying on “hope” anywhere. None of our starters are being replaced by rookies that we hope we can lean on early. None of our free agents have been out of football for years, hoping to make a comeback. We aren’t relying on someone to be reinstated, in hopes of getting a talent boost at a weak position.
Our rookies can be rookies, and our free agent acquisitions are all bonafide.
The third advantage we get, is that our coaching staff and our roster, can trust each other already. We can literally pick everything up from the end of the 2019 season, and start building immediately off of that. No other NFC East team can claim that.
The fourth advantage we get is, a division game in the first week, versus the Redskins. (That’s what I’m calling them, until they have an actual name.) The giants and Cowboys don’t see a division rival until week five. An early win over the ‘skins, puts us out ahead of any tied division record, and gets the team thinking like division leaders.
If the Eagles can develop an early swagger like we did after that 61 yard FG in 2017… Yeah. we have some SERIOUS advantages going into 2020. Here’s to staying healthy this year.