AFTER weeks of speculation over whether we would, the Philadelphia Eagles have finally signed free agent CB Steve Nelson, formerly of the Steelers and the Chiefs. One of the loudest voices trying to lure him here, was CB Darius Slay. By most peoples calculations (and Slay’s), this should give the Eagles a shutdown duo. Especially with the coming changes to the defensive scheme.
I do however, have a couple of questions. Why were we able sign him? Why only a 1 year, 4M$ deal? Many Eagles fans will say “Shut up! Just take the gift!”, but I’m not wired like that. I crave knowledge. I didn’t see any stories about him being arrested or anything like that. So maybe he’s not a great locker room guy? I dunno.
Nelson is just 28, has been durable, and started a ton. He’s also been moved on from, twice in his career. The two coaches to do so, were Andy Reid and Mike Tomlin, respectively. Those are not coaches known for giving up on players. Especially promising ones.
For some reason though, he’d just been sitting in free agency limbo since March. While a few teams were kicking the tires, it was reported that they (and the Eagles), had reservations about paying him north of 3M$ per year.
Honestly, 3M per year for CB with Nelson’s resume, doesn’t seem that expensive to me. The idea of being able to negate a 20M$ WR with a 3M$ CB, strikes me as a win. What confuses me, is now that the leap has been made, why only one year? Why the lack of commitment? Why are we still not sold on him?
When General Manager Howie Roseman inked Slay last year, it was for 3 years, 50M$, with 26M guaranteed. Slay was 29, had been durable, and started a ton.
Despite Nelson ticking those same boxes, his deal has me wondering why the Eagles didn’t try to lock him down, before he plays his way into a more lucrative deal.
It’s not like there’s going to be an open competition for the spot, because he’ll plenty of opportunity to shine. Nelson and Slay (barring injury), are your starters at CB in 2021. This is the reality. The Eagles aren’t spending 4 mil on a guy, to watch him ride pine.
Rookie CB Zech MacPherson may get to challenge for the spot in 2022, but any fantasies he entertained of winning a starting role in 2021, are officially dead. Still, I’ll be keeping an eye on how Nelson gels with his teammates. Especially with everyone predicting that we’ll have a rough season.
OVER the decades, Eagles fans are used to hearing “I believe we can win with the guys in this locker room.” We’ve also heard (with regard to wish list free agents), “We’re not thinking about anyone who’s not on this roster.” As Eagles fans we’re used to quotes like that. Which makes what CB Darius Slay is doing, stick out so much.
Slay has been campaigning for weeks now, to bring in free agent CB Steve Nelson. Let’s clear something up right away. I’m not saying that Slay is wrong to want to add Nelson. I think Nelson is better than every Eagles CB aside from Slay. There is no doubting that he would be an upgrade in talent.
However, unlike Slay, I’m not on the Eagles roster. There is no way for Slay to say that Nelson should be the other starting CB, without saying that CB Avonte Maddox should take a seat. Jumping up and down and shouting for a free agent, is not a vote of confidence in Maddox. In fact, it’s saying that Slay doubts that Maddox can get the job done.
It’s a slick way of calling Maddox trash, without repeatedly brushing his feet with a broom. For weeks now, I’ve sat back and waited for the local media to ask “Did Slay call Maddox, trash?” As usual they ducked the obvious story, for fear they’d ruffle feathers. (See what I did there?)
So I’m here asking the question. Did Slay-
ULTERIOR MOTIVE ALERT! ULTERIOR MOTIVE ALERT!
Okay, okay. I only asked that question, to ask a more important one. If Eagles players can openly call Maddox trash, how far is that honesty allowed to roam? Let me give you some examples:
Is anyone going to call out C Jason Kelce and G Isaac Seumalo for ending up in a QB’s lap too often? At what point can teammates tell WR Jalen Reagor that his routes should be as well run as his mouth? Is it okay to say, that when he starts, QB Jalen hurts the Offense? (See what I did there? Don’t act like you didn’t like it!)
I say this because we are at the beginning of a new culture here. Players baptizing each other is over and out the door. That went away with OCFrank Reich, TE Trey Burton, QB Nick Foles, QB Carson Wentz, and HC Doug Pederson. This is a new locker room. And for their opening trick, we have a player ever so slyly, being thrown under a bus.
Honestly, where else could you go, to get such a no bullshit perspective, like this? Admit it. I spoil you.
LOOK at that! The Bengals have converted their field from grass to mattresses. Not only has it already improved the look of their stadium, but their owner thinks it will extend, or at least not keep shortening, the lifespan of QB Joe Burrow. The team is also asking the league to allow Burrow to wear several pillows duct taped to his helmet. It’s either that or spend the money to protect him.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt increased his sack total for the third straight year in a row. Due to notching 16.5 sacks, he continues to be above criticism. This is despite sporting a missed tackle percentage of over 10 percent, in every season of his career. If only there were some sort of clue about how to fix the defense…
The carriage turned back into a pumpkin, and the horses turned back into rats, as the Browns returned to reality and went 3 – 14 this year.
Somewhere out there is a desperate Browns fan, carrying a clear, platform shoe, and searching for Princess Odell.
Ravens K Justin Tucker’s rap/opera album “Come Kick It Wit’ Me” shot to the top of the Italian pop music charts this year. Sighting how he didn’t need this “NFL boll sheed no mo’ ”, Tucker announced his retirement. After which he flipped the double-bird, as he rode away barefoot in a kiddie pool, which was situated in the bed of an El Camino. There was no water in the pool.
Raise your hand if you predicted the Lions going 14 – 3, getting a first round bye, and winning it all.
“It’s better than drinkable water!” was how one fan described the Detroit Lions Super Bowl parade. Thousands of fans came out to celebrate and cheer their team, not long before tens of thousands of muggers descended on both the fans and the players. The car-jacking of a parade float would be the low-point of the day, and perhaps the lowest in all of American history.
After a just barely failing to qualify for a wild card berth, a 9 – 8 Minnesota team is still unsure if they’re a bad team that frequently overachieves, or a good team that chokes at the slightest sign of true relevance.
As Chicago continues their search for a passer, Bears QB Justin Fields was traded to Buffalo for QB Mitch Trubisky. One Chicago football fan said “Eh, it’s good we went an’got a veteran quarterback now, ‘cause Fields played like a rookie. I mean, why din’t he just look at what Tommy Bradley does in Tampa, then come right out and copy exactly what he saw?How hard could dat be, right?? Anyways, Trubisky sounds like a good Polish name. It feels familiar. I like it.”
After another implosion in the second round of the playoffs, QB Aaron Rodgers is continuing to act like he’s doing Packers fans a favor, by allowing them to overpay him millions more than he’s ever truly deserved. Perhaps Green Bay should have double checked for a discount.
After not allowing fans in to SoFi Stadium at all in 2020, the LA Chargers opened their arms to their loyal, fickle, frequently disinterested fan base. In a stadium that seats 70,000, the Chargers drew an average of 28,000 to their games. Somewhere the ghost of Al Davis is laughing so hard, that he’s gasping for air.
Despite being heavily favored by odds-makers, the Raiders Super Bowl loss continues to confound people. Suddenly retired Raider QB Derek Carr, could not be reached for comment as he was out on his yacht. The gold one, not the one made entirely out of stacks of money. His agent Pete Rose also declined comment.
The Chiefs were expected to have a more difficult road, but no one thought they’d miss the playoffs. As a disciplinary measure for yet another violation of team player conduct policy, Andy Reid ate WR Tyreek Hill, prior to the final game of the preseason. When asked if he regretted having eaten the WR, coach Reid responded “Listen, you’d expect athlete meat to be tough, but Tyreek, he was something special. Didn’t even need a marinade. Wait. What was the question?”
The Denver Broncos are trying to decide whether to screw over either another old RB, or another young QB, during this offseason. Either way, it will most certainly cripple the team’s offense next year. Their fans of course, will again feel like they’ve been stabbed directly in the face, when the team spends their top pick on a WR.
The 49ers, who paid QB Jimmy Garoppolo 26M$ to sit and watch rookie QB Trey Lance have an up and down year, will still owe Garoppolo 27M$ next year. Worse yet, they likely have to endure at least one more year with him on the roster, as he won’t waive his no-trade clause. That is, unless he gets an offer he likes, from a team that won’t mind him throwing with his eyes closed. Still, the defense was good enough for the team to post a 10 – 7 record.
Seattle RB Rashaad Penny was surprised to learn that the team is declining to pick up his 5th year option. Penny was selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft, but didn’t get his first start until 2021. In that game, he had one carry for 8 broken tackles, and a 63 yard touchdown. It also resulted in a torn hamstring which ended his season. Tore it right off the bone! When asked whether Penny is “a bust”, GM John Schneider, shrieked, burst into tears, and attempted to answer questions. He however, couldn’t be understood through his high-pitched, racking sobs. Seattle predictably bowed out in the second round of the playoffs.
No matter how much talent Arizona adds, sub .500 is the best God will allow. In other news, QB Kyler Murray married the dancing hula girl on the dash board of J.J. Watt’s car.
It was a beautiful ceremony. When Murray stood on a chair to kiss his bride, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen, according to Stevie Wonder, who was told that he was in attendance.
The Rams added a ton of weapons in the offseason, but neglected to help their offensive line. This led to QB Matt Stafford being lost for the year in Week Two, and also left the run game stuck in neutral since the preseason. Give you one guess what they’ll be taking with their first round pick this year. Oh wait! They won’t have a first rounder this year. Or next year. Dopes.
After partially tearing the meniscus in his right knee in training camp, it was quickly thought by both QB Carson Wentz and the Colts front office, that the smartest thing would be for Carson to just rest, relax and let that tear take 3 to 5 months to heal on its own. While the Eagles paid him 34 million dollars.
Though Wentz played only half the season, taking just under 50% of the snaps, the Colts almost rallied to make the playoffs, going 7 – 1 with Wentz starting. Pretty smart trade. Especially since Wentz didn’t count against the Colts 2021 salary cap.
On a roster that features RB’s David Johnson, Mark Ingram, and Phillip Lindsay, you probably would never guess who led the team in rushing yards. It was Texans QB Tyrod Taylor, who spent the season running for his goddamned life. In the hopes of not suffering another punctured lung, Taylor racked up a career best 836 yards. Meanwhile, R. Kelly is alleging that QB Deshaun Watson inappropriately… (No. I’m going to draw a line here. Gotta preserve a little class.)
WE WILL SUCK YOUR DICK!!!! That’s the Jaguars latest promotion to get people to come to the stadium. Lord knows no one wants to watch them play football. Look at all the upgrades! Super-fast WiFi, an impressive sound system, they put in a party deck, a pool… They’ve done everything they can to avoid improving the team. Now the team has executives slobbing knobs. And they’re all so bad at it! C’mon folks! More spit, less teeth. This is basic stuff!
The Titans were the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, until QB Ryan Tannehill tore his Achilles in Week One, and QB DeShone Kizer “Soze” stepped in and killed the whole team. Kizer continued the 0 – 15 magic that he had in Cleveland, going 0 – 7 before being benched for QB Logan Woodside… who then promptly tore his ACL, meaning that Kizer would come back out, and finish the season. Kizer went 0 – 15 (again), even though he also lost the two games started by other QB’s.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have increased their reward for information about head coach Bruce Arian’s whereabouts. Police are looking at DT Ndamukong Suh as a person of interest because, well… Because he’s fucking Ndamukong Suh! I mean come on!
With the retirement of QB Drew Brees last year, the Saints 6 – 11 season shows that they have gone back to being the hapless, talent squandering, afterthoughts that have historically always been. Fans are taking it well, saying that their relevance was nice while it lasted.
The Falcons 5 – 12 record was predicted immediately after they traded WR Julio Jones to Tennessee last year. For a team with no defense, keeping Jones to go with their other weapons, would have made outscoring opponents easy. But Atlanta said “Fuck that!” and thew their easy button out of a tenth floor window. Nowwww look at them. Just look. SMDH.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey spent this season being 25 going on 35. Bouncing back from an injury, while being the focal point of an offense, with a QB trying to re-hab himself from having been a Jet, did no favors for McCaffrey. His 663 yards in 10 starts, will likely have the Panthers spending yet another late round draft pick on a RB, who is ill-suited to ever being a starter. Or a contributor. These guys just can’t learn.
The NFL finally made good on its threat to banish the Jets, who can no longer be referred to, as a “professional” football team. As the NCAA has not yet agreed to take them, the Jets have no official league designation yet. The CFL hasn’t offered a verbal or written response as to whether the Jets can seek asylum in Canada. However, the CFL’s pursed lips and side-eye, have offered a very strong hint about where they stand on the issue.
Bill Belichick has coached his last game for the Patriots. He is expected to take the job in Tampa Bay, after coach Bruce Arians suddenly went missing. QB Tom Brady is telling Congress that they cannot search his house.
Buffalo WR and anti-vaxxer Cole Beasley is recovering from the Delta variant of Covid-19. Luckily his access to the best medical treatment that NFL money can buy, put the odds for a full recovery, heavily in his favor. His wife Krystin however, was not an NFL employee. Get vaccinated.
After having changed his name from Jomal Wiltz to Jamal Perry in 2020, the IRS caught up with the Dolphins CB anyway. This goes to show, if you’re going to change your name, do it before you’re on television at least 17 times a year.
For the second year in a row, Washington won 7 games! While their 8 losses are fewer than the 9 from a year ago, their 2 ties offer little in the way of optimism. Because of that, there is currently a split in their fan base. Half of their fans argue that the 7 – 8 – 2 team, is an 8 – 8 team (“Because two half wins, equals one whole one. Dummy!”). Meanwhile, other half of their fan base sees the team as 7 – 8, and thus improved over 7 – 9 (“Because thems two ties cancels theyselves out. Stupid!”). Either way, the rest of us just see a degenerate, losing team that missed the playoffs.
The giants didn’t have to depend on a division rival to get to the playoffs this year, because they used StubHub! They got a great price, on great seats, and watched the Lions model the sort of franchise New York hopes to become. Maybe next year the giants won’t go 5 – 12, and they’ll qualify for a playoff berth on their own. Hey! The giants in the playoffs! Look at me! I got jokes!
The Cowboys went 12 – 5 and easily won their division. With a 5,000 yard passer, a 1,700 yard rusher, and THREE 1,000 yard receivers, right out of the gate, Dallas took the NFL by storm. Which is why their first round dismantling in the playoffs was so surprising. The 41 – 6 walloping at the hands of QB Joe Flacco, will forever be known in NFL circles as “The Dall-Ass Whipping”.
The Carson Wentz trade didn’t yield the Eagles a first round pick, and QB Jalen Hurtswas so bad that he was benched by Week Nine. Also, Head Coach Nick Sirianni retiring mid-season to join a professional Rochambeau league, didn’t surprise as many people as you’d think.
After which the hapless Eagles managed to rally and stumble into the playoffs as a wild card. At which point they utterly shelled the Cowboys 41 – 6, before losing to Detroit in the second round.
DISCLAIMER: If you use this article for gambling or betting purposes, you’re an idiot and your money is safer with other people. Don’t be dunce. Stop gambling on sports.
HOWIE is likely going to be fired, if QB Jalen Hurts doesn’t play like a potential star in 2021. Despite what some fans thought about QB Carson Wentz, Owner Jeff Lurie knew he had a bonafide Franchise QB, and that those are difficult to find. Still, General ManagerHowie Roseman, convinced Lurie to trade the bird in his hand, for a QB factory in the bush.
There’s a high-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t miss the real action.
This isn’t about Hurts or Wentz. It never was. It’s about the “QB factory” that Howie later regretted mentioning: “Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory,” Roseman said. “Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.”
Notice that he didn’t say that he regrets the idea, or the concept. He said that he regrets the comment. He regrets that he slipped and revealed to us, what was really on his mind. He regrets that we know. This was never about one player over another. It’s about a philosophy.
The Hurts pick is about transforming the QB position into just another position.
By default of how long it takes to develop a QB, they are a huge investment. So the ones with the best raw traits, come at a premium at the top of drafts. Few of those pan out, so it naturally skyrockets the price when a proven, young, veteran QB hits the open market. It’s why teams do everything they can, to keep those proven, young, veteran QB’s from hitting the open market. Often overpaying them.
The NFL was able to control other positions by killing off the idea of star players, who are true specialists:
Star RB’s became RB by committee.
The FB, H-Back, and blocking TE positions are practically extinct.
True #1 WR’s became more expendable with the adoption of Spread concepts.
On defense, players without a hard designation are becoming the norm. Whether it’s all of these CB/S, or those 215 – 220 pound LB/S tweeners, or the Edge players… None of that used to be how football worked, even 10 years ago. None of it.
The QB position is harder to redefine and control, but it must be done. And it must happen SOON.
The NFL needs to find a way to quickly develop QB’s who can be productive, not just to control investment costs (like draft capital), and operating costs (like contract terms), but so that the QB position can be platooned. Yes, platooned. Think about Hurts and Wentz. Or Drew Brees and QB Taysom Hill. Think about Tim Tebow now back in the NFL, at 33.
This is an experiment to figure out how best to phase out the “every game” starter. Instead, coming up with something more akin to a baseball starting pitcher. A guy who’s relied on only to start a percentage of the games, instead of all of them. Sure you’ll have an Ace, but he won’t be your Franchise.
If the NFL doesn’t do this, there is no way that they can expand beyond 18 regular season games in a season. Also, do you see the contract that QB Pat Mahomes signed? Or the one that QB Dak Prescott signed, despite owner Jerry Jones admitted to overpaying? Platooned QB’s would have far less leverage at the bargaining table.
That’s where Hurts comes in. Hurts was drafted “sort of” high. Right on the heels of Wentz winning a division, after having put practice squanders on his back. With a franchise QB like Wentz, drafting Hurts made no sense.
Then packages were added to get Hurts on the field early in his career, despite that fact that it ruins a starting QB’s rhythm. Disrupting our Franchise QB’s rhythm made no sense.
Suddenly Wentz became a turnover machine, when taking care of the ball had been the absolute cornerstone of his career. Yet no serious adjustments were ever made to help him. (I even wrote about it back in November of 2020.) That also made no sense.
Except in hindsight, all of it makes perfect sense. It’s an experiment. The Eagles made sure they started with a good, but not franchise quality QB (lower draft capital). The speed of the game is what young players say takes the most time to adapt to. So Hurts was spoon-fed a little time here and a little time there, until the game slowed down for him.
Understand, this is the Eagles version of the experiment, but the entire league has a stake in it. Trust and believe that many eyes follow this. Roseman’s experiment requires Hurts to not just play, but start. So, Wentz was removed from the equation. He had to be. Now Hurts is front and center, and barring a preseason injury, he will start.
That all being said, if Hurts turns out to be the formula, and the QB factory opens in Philadelphia, Jeff Lurie will be the guy who hired the inventor of “The (NFL) Process”. However, if Hurts fails, Lurie will have been talked into spending years of investment money, on a single spin of Roulette. That likely means Roseman would be fired.
High-stakes game going on, folks! Don’t get caught missing the real action.
WHICH Eagles players are poised to have a breakout season? Before we can say that a player had one, first we need to define exactly what a breakout season looks like. Better still, we fans need to declare what our standard is, well ahead of time. Let’s start by setting the bar, high.
First, let’s rule out rookies. While rookie WR Devonta Smithcould have a huge year, it would be unfair before Training Camp, to expect the Moon and stars from him. Especially with this team’s history of developing WR’s.
So now let’s start with QB Jalen Hurts. In 2020, during his four starts (just those four), he put up 148 attempts, 77 completions (52%), for 1061 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He also posted 46 rushes, 272 yards, 5.9 yards per carry, and 3 scores. These numbers led to his 1 – 3 record, and for good reason.
In Hurts four starts, his completion percentage fell each week (56.6, 54.5, 53.8, and 35.0%, respectively.) Teams quickly caught onto him bootlegging right, as if he were in an Option offense, and they made it harder and harder for him to use that, to set up passes. In 2021 he’s going to have to demonstrate an ability to take advantage of containment based strategies against him.
A breakout season from Hurts would look something like 493 attempts, 316 completions (64%), for 4,300 yards, 29 touchdowns and fewer than 15 interceptions. Adding 102 rushes for 595 yards (5.8) and say… 5 scores, would put him in the conversation for greatest season ever by an Eagles QB.
Again. Set that bar, high.
Now onto last year’s first round flop, WR Jalen Reagor. No, I won’t compare him to Vikings WR “Justin Jefferson”. This isn’t about comparing players. This is about individual accomplishment. This is about Reagor, how he spent the downs he played, and no one else. The focus, is on Reagor.
In 2020, our first round pick played in 9 games. He was targeted 54 times, made 31 catches for a catch rate of 57.4%, 396 yards (at 12.7 per), and caught one touchdown. (For those who want to know: His catch rate was 57.5% for QB Carson Wentz, and 57.1 % for Hurts. Wentz threw him his lone TD catch, in our win over Dallas.)
In the 9 games Reagor played, he averaged 3 catches for 44 yards per game. That hardly cuts it for a first rounder. With him playing in the Slot now, 15 yards per quarter shouldn’t be too much to ask. He’d average 60 yards per game, for 960 yards on the year. So let’s call it 960, and a score in at least half the games for breakout consideration. So 960 and 8. That’s the bar. Anything below that, isn’t even a conversation. That’s the kind of energy we need to keep.
I don’t think RB Miles Sanders counts here. He’s twice rushed for 800+ yards, so even 1,000 – 1,200 rushing yards will just seem like a great year, not a breakout. If TE Dallas Goedert sees 900 yards, or 12 scores, sure that would be breakout. But I don’t see him doing that.
On Defense, we’re hardly starting anyone who isn’t already an established veteran. Nobody can say that DE Brandon Graham, DT Fletcher Cox or CB Darius Slay are just now making their mark on the league, and LB Alex Singleton had his, last year.
Barring a situation where a starter’s hurt and a back-up comes from nowhere, no one on D is having a breakout year.
Summing up! On Offense, Hurts and Reagor are poised to have breakout seasons. On Defense, without a major injury, no one is on deck to do so. Sorry, but that’s the bottom line.
GOING 4 – 11 – 1 means STFU. Whether it’s players hyping the leadership of a 1 – 3 QB, or a second year WR, calling out my fellow fans. All the talk needs to stop. Last year the Eagles fell halfway short of even going .500. That means there’s a ton of stuff to fix, and nobody who was on the roster when we posted that record, has time to run their mouth.
I’m a devoted fan, but I’m not delusional. We still haven’t addressed our weakness at CB. We still don’t know if our top FS will be ready by Week One. What will our TE depth look like when TE Zach Ertz is moved? Who is our starting LT? If you project 1 – 3 over 17 weeks, it comes out to roughly 5 – 12. Is QB Jalen Hurts better than that finish? What system will he even be running?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad for the enthusiasm that players have had for mini-camp. Unfortunately, I don’t sense a “hardhat mentality” when these guys speak to the media. I’m seeing big smiles, lots of teeth, and eyes crinkled at the corners. I’m seeing comfortable guys, mostly confident in their roles. Calm as Hindu cows.
And it makes me sick.
With all the upheaval this offseason, no one should feel like a sacred cow. But there it is. Right on the player’s faces. The fact that you see that, says that the players aren’t really buying into the ideas that “Everyone has to compete” and that “Nothing is will be handed to you”. And why should they?
Show of hands if you think that RT Lane Johnson has to earn his spot. How about RG Brandon Brooks? C Jason Kelce? LGIssac Seumalo? Seems to me that 80% of the Offensive Line from 2017 will still be starting in 2021. And that’s with a new coaching staff in place!
Let me add RB Miles Sanders and TEDallas Goedert, to Hurts and the O-Line. Rookie WRDevonta Smith will start on the outside, and WR Jalen Reagor will start in the Slot. That’s 9 of 11, right there. The spots up for competition: LT and WR#2.
How about DE Brandon Graham, DTFletcher Cox, DT Javon Hargrave, and DEDerek Barnett? How many of those guys ride pine without an injury? What about CB Darius Slay, OLBEric Wilson, LB Alex Singleton, or S Anthony Harris?
That’s 8 of 11 guys that we know are Week One starters already. If SRodney McLeod’s leg lets him, that’s 9 of 11. This drops the real competition for availability of spots to just MLB and CB. Feel free to point out where I’m wrong. Go ahead. I’ll wait…
So yeah. That’s it. We have LT, WR #2, MLB, and CB. That’s all the real competition on this team for starting spots. There will be fierce competition for back-up roles. But the starters?! When 18 of 22 spots are a virtual lock, the sacred cows on this roster have no reason to do anything but smile and talk right now. No reason except 4 – 11 – 1.
LAST year the NFC East was the laughingstock of the NFL. Aggressive moves have been made to ensure that history will not be repeating itself anytime soon. While every team in the division ranks #21 or lower in the NFL power rankings, the rosters in this division are telling a different story.
Alright. So yeah, Washington is Washington. Their power moves were to sign a pair of slot receivers (Curtis Samuels and Adam Humphries), and Dr. Jekyll (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to play QB. Adding G Ereck Flowers was a sneaky good move, but hardly a transcendent one. Adding an OT and then subtracting another, was definitely not a step forward. While Washington is the early favorite to win the East, they seem to be back in self-sabotage mode.
As for the other three teams:
Dallas fans made it clear to the owner, that they were done quietly waiting for their team’s defense to improve.
In response, the Cowboys cleaned house in terms of both coaches and players. They then leaned heavy on defense in the Draft. While they may not have added free agents who are household names, they’ve sent a message from the top-down, that they are serious about getting results.
The giants took a risk adding CB Adoree Jackson, but if he can stay healthy, they have probably the best CB duo in the division. Signing Kelvin Benjamin to play TE, was a magnificent piece of outside the box thinking. Benjamin had trouble getting reliable separation from DB’s. However, if he can (very likely) gain separation on LB’s, then a Safety will have to be cheated away from a WR to help cover him. Benjamin may all at once, make the giants more explosive and help them challenge for the best TE duo in the division.
The Eagles made no fewer than FOUR non-Draft related moves. All of which look low-key at a glance. However, upon further inspection… For new DC Jonathan Gannon, signing former Vikings OLB Eric Wilson and S Anthony Harris, gives him two guys who can help quickly install his system, because they’ve played together while under Gannon. Slick move. Signing RB Kerryon Johnson was a stroke of pure genius, which I discussed in my last article (The Eagles RB’s). Then of course, there’s the addition of OLB Ryan Kerrigan.
One of my brothers speculated that Kerrigan could be Chris Long 2.0 for the Eagles. Maybe, but I doubt it. I think his real value, will be in getting young players to realize, they will have to out-produce Kerrigan, to take his spot in the rotation. He either forces them to step up, or it tells the Eagles that next year’s Draft, will be heavily spent re-arming the Defensive Line.
Getting QB Jalen Hurts a WR (Devonta Smith) that he already has chemistry with, was also a boss level move.
Nobody in the NFC East was okay with how 2020 ended. Well… I guess Washington seems to be. Honestly, watching their fans practically give each other handjobs over a 7 – 9 season, just to be bounced in the first round of the playoffs… Their “bragging” has been really hard to watch.
As for the rest of the division, none of us is looking for a repeat of 2020. The NFL had better not get caught sleeping.
LIKE the 2020 Draft, this wasn’t a draft that was meant to produce a bunch of immediate starters. Most of the picks here were made with an eye towards restocking the shelves, in order to avoid desperation down the road. That being said, an upper-tier CB would have been great.
Round 1 (12th overall): WR DeVonta Smith (H)
Remember when I told you “Ignore all this nonsense about “guys competing for the starting job”. Jalen Hurts is the guy.” With their first pick in this draft, The Front Office put the entire farcical notion of an honest competition to bed, and then killed it with a shovel in it’s sleep.
Smith comes in as a rookie who doesn’t have to win over the confidence of the starting QB. In fact, his very presence does something unheard of among rookies: His history and chemistry with QB Jalen Hurts, actually helps legitimize the notion of Hurts as the starter, despite all the question marks about Hurts himself.
Whether stemming his route, running the route, or running after the catch, he has an easy, graceful, long stride that is damned near hypnotic. He has reliable hands, and is willing to block despite not being very good at it. I expect him to start, and have a 1,000 yard, 8 TD season.
Round 2 (37th overall): CLandon Dickerson (H)
I love everything about the way he plays, but I hate his injury history:
ACL tear ended his freshman year.
Ankle injury ended his sophomore year.
Another ankle injury ended his first junior year. He then red-shirted.
He completed his second junior year.
ACL injury ended his senior season.
Dickerson is the post-Jason Kelce plan. Again, I love his play. He’s powerful and mean. He’s also bigger than Kelce and appears to have a better anchor. While Kelce will no doubt be a Hall of Famer, we have watched him for a over a decade be ridden back into QB’s from Michael Vick to Jalen Hurts. I don’t see that being an issue with Dickerson.
This pick is the primary example of what I meant when I said restocking. Having to rehab, he’s clearly not meant to contribute in 2021, but that high pick means that his contribution is expected soon.
Round 3 (73rd overall): DT Milton Williams (Q)
At 284 pounds, and possessing an average college first step, he will be a liability against the run in the NFL. If he’s exclusively played as a 3rd down interior pass rusher, he might find a role. If he’s moved to weak-side DE, he may even find a way to start some games. Otherwise, this just seems like a bad pick.
Round 4 (123rd overall): CB Zech McPhearson (Q)
I can’t offer a solid opinion on him, because all I could find was highlight videos. There was no video that showed who he is down-in and down-out. In the limited bits that I can piece together (from other player’s videos), he looks more like a FS than CB. I’m at a loss for why we waited until 123 to grab a CB.
Round 5 (150th overall): RB Kenneth Gainwell (H)
Last year I wanted WR/RB Antonio Gibson out of Memphis, but Washington got him. This year the Eagles went and got us RB/WR Kenneth Gainwell out of Memphis. While Gainwell is smaller, between the two players, at this stage of their college career, Gainwell is clearly the more natural receiver, and a better blocker. (Just ask Micah Parsons.) Neither runs very hard
Gainwell is an immediate upgrade over RB Boston Scott, though neither of them have that “take it to the house” type speed. His ability to be split out, and run routes like a WR, allows the Eagles to move him around the formation, even while RB Miles Sanders is on the field. We could line up in the I Formation, and audible to Empty, and every bit of that would have to be respected. Look. I’ve got goosebumps!
Round 6 (189th overall): DT Marlon Tuipulotu(M)
Heavy footed and doesn’t gain penetration. Even when the play is run away from him. He may have been good enough to start at his college, but he’ll likely be out of here before training camp is over.
Round 6 (191st overall): DE Tarron Jackson (Q)
Lacks decent first step, because he never really gets into a three point stance. Lines up almost sitting on his heels. When he plays out of two point stance, he gets a much better jump. That however, basically makes him a situational player, who offers nothing vs the run. Again, his biggest flaw can be fixed with coaching, but he still doesn’t seem to have a high ceiling beyond that.
Round 6 (224th overall) : S JaCoby Stevens (M)
Early word has the Eagles wanting to move this 212 pound S to LB. Either move would be a mistake. He lacks a feel for pass coverage as a S, but he doesn’t shed blocks or tackle well enough to be a LB. He also doesn’t initiate contact, and ends up watching more football than he plays. Honestly, it looks like he gets stuck trying to read where the play is going, instead of locking down his area, and forcing plays into the shark tank.
Round 7 (234th overall): EDGEPatrick Johnson (H)
I hate seeing the term “Edge”. Is he lining up at DE or OLB? The responsibilities are very different. Their techniques are very different. Usually “Edge” means either LB who can’t cover, or undersized DE. At 240 pounds, Johnson looks to be the latter.
Despite my bitching about a title, I like what I see on tape. The guy sets the edge before pass rushing, or chasing a tackle. He is nimble enough for stunts, uses his hands to shed blocks, and can cover in an underneath zone. Unfortunately he lines up at DE in a two point stance, which almost eliminates him as being useful vs the run. If he’s going to do that, he needs to move to OLB.
Otherwise, he needs to add 12 pounds and put his hand on the ground.
For this year’s haul, I’d have to say we had four hits, two misses, and three that we’re waiting to see about. Let’s math!
With 9 players drafted, (H)its being worth 2, (M)isses 0, and (Q)uestionables 1, we had a possible score of 18, and scored 11. As a grade, that’s a 61% out of 100. If you recall, 65 was a ‘D’ in school. Not a great haul, Howie. Then again, it is just a restocking.
KEEP in mind, when these predictions come out, no one knows who will be drafted by which team. So this is an assessment of the team as it is staffed by veteran players with track records.
Rookies may contribute heavily to their team, but they don’t usually shake up the NFC East as a division. That being said, there’s a pretty good chance that what you see here, will be how it shakes out for the year.
Now let’s look at 2021:
If you’ve read all of the articles leading up to this, you’ll understand my conclusion. Good job! If you didn’t, you’ll likely be annoyed because you did a bad job of preparing. The fact is, I gave NO team’s overall offense a passing grade, and I gave NO team’s defense one either.
Instead of rating units (offense, defense, special teams), this year everyone was so weak in key areas, that I was forced to award points for positions. So if this year’s report feels different than another year’s, rest assured, it is.
Strongest Offense: PHILADELPHIA
Yeah. I was surprised too. I gave no team points for QB, as everyone either has to prove themselves (Prescott, Hurts), or they’ve been trash historically (Fitzpatrick, Jones). Of all the teams here, Philly is the only one without an immediate need for offensive line help, as they are the only team in the division who doesn’t need help at OT, and even have competition there. They also have the best TE situation in the division by far, and a complete stable of RB’s. What they lack is WR firepower, but that’s more of a playoff problem, than a regular season issue.
Weakest Offense:NEW YORK
They have one OT and a C. Everything else is in a state of unnecessary upheaval. This team’s offense used to run through RB Saquon Barkley, but that can’t happen this year, as he’s just getting back from a torn ACL. QB Daniel Jones has to step up and prove that he can carry the… Sorry. I had a laughing fit. Jones is on his last leg as a starter, and it’s the worst kept secret in all of sports. Sadly too many of the pieces just don’t complement each other. It’s awkward. It boxes lefty. This offense was ruined in the front office, and it gets worse every year.
All four teams have issues in the secondary. That can’t even be debated. Of all the teams, Washington has the least issues and the best front seven. They can play their base 4-3, but they can easily flex to a 4-3 under, or to a 3-4, without changing personnel. NY wants to be multiple, and still can’t pull it off as well as Washington can.
They not only have everyone’s coverage problem, they also can’t rush the passer. They have a pair or good young LB’s in the heart of their unit, but that wasn’t enough last year, and won’t be enough this year.
Strongest Special Teams: DALLAS
They have a pair of reliable legs. Nothing fancy, but reliability is how you win field position battles. Which in turn is partly how you win games. Especially close ones.
Weakest Special Teams:PHILADELPHIA
A Kicker who seems to be rotting away on the inside, and a Punter who’s entirely an experiment from another part of the world.
Projected Winner: WASHINGTON
Having the most solid defense in the division cannot be ignored. Their offensive woes are partly due to focusing on adding defensive talent, and partly due to a scheme which relies too heavily on being cute, instead of being smart. Last year they went 5 – 1 (out of 7 wins), under game managing QB Alex Smith. This year their starting QB likes to gamble with house money. On it’s own, this team can’t win the division. But they could get by, with a little help from their friends.
New York is a team rotting on the vine, and Dallas doesn’t think they need a defense. Besides, whenever the Cowboys see something they don’t like in the mirror, they just cover it and add another WR. QB problems be damned, there is no way a team with so much talent on it, should have finished 6-10. I meant the Cowboys of course. There is no way I could have been talking about the giants.
After taking a looooooong look all four teams over this last month, I’ve noticed that Philadelphia is not nearly as far away as many people, (including me initially) might think. Currently, they have the most complete offense, and the second most complete defense in the division. If they end up putting things together at the QB position, the Eagles will have people treating them like a team that’s missed the playoffs for the last decade, instead of the team that has won the East, two of the last four times.
LAST year the Philadelphia Eagles basically drowned in a toilet. We went 4 – 11 – 1 overall, and 2 – 4 in the division. The toilet I speak of, was the NFC East. We won just 4 games and it still took all of 14 games to eliminate us from playoff contention. Which of course was followed by a form of Front Office seppuku, because hey… why not, right?
Head Coach Doug Pederson was fired and Nick Sirianni was hired to replace him. Right now it has all the ear marks of a horrible, just horrible mistake, but… Either he’ll win us over, or we’ll just keep drinking until paper beats scissors.
So here is what the Eagles look like now, exactly a week prior to the start of the 2021 NFL Draft.
QB: Ignore all this nonsense about “guys competing for the starting job”. Jalen Hurtsis the guy. Whether or not he’s “The Man”, remains to be seen. However, unless we draft his replacement in 7 days, Hurts is the guy. He will not come into this season being a year wiser in the system. The new coach is bringing a new system, and no one has even seen it yet. So in a very real sense, Hurts will still be a rookie that everyone already has NFL tape on. While that tape shows a dynamic player, it also shows an arm that is questionable at times. Local productJoe Flacco,was signed to be just bad enough, to legitimize Hurts even to his detractors. REAL TALK: In a very real sense, Hurts has to start and play well,to save General Manager Howie Roseman’s job. If Hurts turns out to be a dud, then having traded away Carson Wentz, pretty much guarantees that Roseman will be escorted out of the building by security, before the New Year. In the meantime, while the Eagles have the most dynamic player at this position in the division, the coaching staff refuses to even name a starter. And I don’t give away free pluses. (-)
Miles Sanders has electrifying ability, but his durability and reliability have both been inconsistent. He went from a player who could be split out wide as rookie, to a player who couldn’t break a Swing pass in 2021. (Regardless of which QB played.) He missed 4 games in 2020, all of which were against division rivals. The Eagles were 2 – 2 without him vs the division, and went 0 – 2 with him vs the division. Boston Scott is at his best when catching passes (the game winner he caught from QB Carson Wentz to beat the giants, was a thing of beauty)
The Eagles however, seem to think he’s rotational back, despite him wearing down noticeably with increased use. The recent re-signing of Jordan Howardwas a stroke of pure genius! Provided the Eagles actually let the man play. He gives the team a legit lead back if Sanders were to get hurt, and also gives the team a tough between the tackles runner, who can make an opponent pay if he gets daylight. This is already very well-rounded group. Whomever they add as their fourth, will be a luxury. (+)
Travis Fulgham has good/not great speed, and good/not great size. He’s most dangerous on intermediate routes, and knows how to use his body to box-out defenders. He can however get downfield, and make huge plays when he sees favorable coverage. He’s a solid #2 that the Eagles tried to pass off as #1, unsuccessfully. Greg Ward in the Slot gets open quickly, so he led the team in catches in 2020. Unfortunately, many of his catches were for meager gains, so in 2021 he will likely take a back seat to a much more athletic Jalen Reagor. Reagor is said to be the team’s new Slot, presumably to take advantage of his ability to elude and break tackles. John Hightowerhas real speed to stretch a defense, and showed the ability to uncover quickly, but his 34.5% catch rate is a problem that may provide an opening forQuez Watkinsor J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. There’s a number two playing as a one, and a couple guys fighting over the Slot, but there’s no one in this group that scares anyone. With a legit #1, these five would be an interesting tool-kit. But without a hammer, you can’t say that you have legit toolbox. (-)
TE: The Eagles as an organization have decided that Dallas Goedert is the future at this position. In a 1-2 combination, Goedert is a great second option. As number one, he lacks elite traits, and may not be as necessary as many fans think. During the four games when he was on Injured Reserve in 2020, the Eagles scored 22 or more points in every game. In the eleven games when Goedert did play, the Eagles hit that mark just three times. It’s funny. Even from week one last year, everyone knew the Eagles Front Office was trying to sandbag Zach Ertz, and they did a great job of it. Now they want to trade him and SURPRISE! they aren’t finding any takers for a 30 year old, 12 million dollar player that they smeared, and essentially demoted. The irony is, he’s probably still better than 80 percent of NFL players at his position. Including Goedert. For the moment, it’s still a great 1-2 combo. (+)
OT: RT Lane Johnson had an awful 2020. He only saw seven games, and in those seven he was never himself, due to an ankle surgery that he didn’t let heal properly before coming back. When he’s healthy he’s one of the best in the game. Word is, he’s plenty healthy right now. LT Jordan Mailata made a bit of a name for himself last year, when he went from long-term project, to possible diamond in the rough.
Andre Dillard was drafted to inherit that LT spot, but he was lost for 2020 with a torn bicep. So expect ACTUAL competition on that left side in camp. Jack Driscollnotched four starts throughout his rookie year, before going on IR with an MCL injury. A perennial Pro Bowler on one side. Competition between experienced young players on the other side. Then a second year man, with a few starts under his belt already. It may not be what it used to be in 2017, but this group is the most solid group in the division. (+)
G: RGBrandon Brooks returns after missing 2020 with a torn Achilles tendon. When healthy, Brooks is a premier player at this position. Isaac Seumalo is the LG. He’s got above average movement skills, but lacks the aggression, power, or size that is generally coveted at this position. He also doesn’t always anchor well, and so he can be driven back into the QB more often than any coach should be comfortable with. Nate “Real Big” Herbig started twelve games and was serviceable. He could stand to turn some of his fluff into muscle, and to fire-out on his run blocks with more of a mean streak, but for a second year man, he’s great depth to have. Matt Pryormay make the 2021 roster due to his experience also playing OT, but he took a huge step backward in 2020. He had ten starts all over the line, but he seemed to struggle everywhere he lined up. Iosua Opeta notched two starts as a rookie. Without Brooks, this group is just slightly subpar. However, with him in the lineup, the Eagles interior has to be taken very seriously again. (+)
C: Not wanting to go out on a 4 – 11 – 1 record, Jason Kelce has decided to put retirement off for at least one more year. His presence will add solidity to a right side that could be dominant in 2021, and give the new coaching staff a platform to build on.Luke Juriga saw 14 snaps during the Cleveland game when Kelce had to go off with an injury. Kelce raised hell on the sideline and Juriga soon had his seat back. Nate Herbig can also play this position, as can G Ross Pierschbacher. While Pierschbacher is listed as a G, the Eagles depth there and his history of playing the pivot as a college senior, likely means he’s here to provide depth and versatility inside. While the Eagles won’t carry four during the season, they currently have an array of solid options to pick from for their back-up. (+)
IN A NUTSHELL: Kelce, Brooks and Johnson, will likely give the Eagles a dominant right side on the Offensive Line. It will be unlike anything Hurts had to work with, when he took over for final four games of the 2020 season. Better still, Jeff Stoutland is still the Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator. Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and a running QB. If the Eagles can find a #1 WR, and if the new offensive system is any good, this team is going to turn heads hard enough to break necks. That said, while there is plenty of talent on this roster, the Eagles don’t have that #1 WR, and the new system hasn’t even seen a single practice yet. So again, passing grades aren’t free around here. (-)
DE:Brandon Graham started off hot last year. He notched 7 of his 8 sacks, 11 of his 16 QB hits, and 9 of his 13 tackle for losses, in the first eight games. Then he went cold as a dead man, posting 1 sack, 5 hits, and 4 TFLs, over the remaining eight games. In short, he disappeared when the playoff hunt began in earnest, making his first Pro Bowl nod feel hollow. After four seasons, Derek Barnett seems like a player who has maxed out his ceiling already. He produced 5.5 sacks while playing 49% of the defensive snaps in 2020. Yet he’s still making 10M$ in 2021. Josh Sweat on the other hand, seems to have a ton of upside. He had 6.0 sacks and 3 FF last year, despite playing just 38% of the snaps. Joe Ostman is a high-effort type, with a low athletic ceiling. In last year’s Wide Nine system, fresh players produced more results than individual talent. If this new system asks for a more classic approach, all indications are that the Eagles won’t fare well here. (-)
DT: Fletcher Coxmeans more than stats to this defense, but his numbers have spent the last two years trending in the wrong direction. Especially for a player making 24M$ in 2021. He had 10.5 sacks and 34 QB hits in 2018. He had 6.5 sacks and 9 QB hits in 2020. It’s not a three year slide, so he isn’t a has-been. Yet. However, this year those numbers need to tick up, or he’ll be on par with DeMarcus Lawrence.Javon Hargrave took a while to hit his stride as a new Eagle, but he settled in nicely near the end of the year. Perhaps the Eagles have found Cox the partner in crime that he’s needed for so long. Returning from a bicep injury that ended his 2020, is Hassan Ridgeway. Ridgeway was a solid, and highly disruptive rotational player who will likely see even more snaps with the departure of Malik Jackson. That is, if he can stay healthy. He’s missed nine games in each of his two years as an Eagle. Two good starters and a quality back-up. (+)
OLB:Alex Singleton, started last season as a Special Teamer. However due to Nate Gerry being injured, during Week four Singleton got an opportunity to play Defense. The result was that him being the difference in the Eagles first win of the season. Two weeks later he was a starter, and showing the NFL why he was the CFL Defensive Player of the Year (2017).
Now Singleton enters 2021 as a starter with a fresh new contract. America! Land of motherfuckin’ opportunity! Davion Taylor was drafted as a project, and so didn’t see much time as a rookie. That said, it’s hard to know if he fits in the new coaching staff’s plans, or if they’ll have the patience for a project. That’s especially true with the signing of free agentEric Wilson, formerly of the Vikings. Wilson put up 122 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 picks last year. Which incidentally was his first as a starter. Did I mention that he’ll be just 27 this season? Suddenly the Eagles have two legitimate starters at this position for the first time since 2017. (+)
MLB:T.J. Edwards is said to have athletic limitations, because he’s a Tackle to Tackle player, and not a sideline to sideline player.
He’s a young, so he still has room to improve, but he already slips blocks well enough, wraps up, can get home on a blitz, and even pull down a pass. The biggest hole in his game, seems to be how often he’s subbed out for Nickel and Dime packages. Shaun Bradleyhas to learn how to get off blocks faster, and not let eye candy pull him out of position. He has a lot of energy and could be an emotional spark plug, but in his second year, he’ll have to be a more disciplined player. (+)
S:Rodney McLeodseemed a long-shot to make the 2021 roster, but at least for the moment, he’s still here. He has the eyes and mind of a seasoned veteran, but after suffering another season-ending leg injury (knee), it’s reasonable to question how much speed he’ll still have at age 31. Free Agent Anthony Harris comes over from the 38 – 7’s . Sorry, the Vikings. He has experience playing for new Defensive CoordinatorJonathan Gannon, when both were in Minnesota. With six years of NFL experience, Harris has only been a primary starter for the last three. Statistically, he looks like a ballhawk one year, and then an in-the-box player, the next year. Now with a new team (on a one year deal), he seems like a seventh year player who is still trying to find himself.
With three starts to close-out last season, Marcus Epps made a strong enough case for the Eagles to feel good about letting Jalen Mills leave via free agency. K’Von Wallace is the reason that Harris’s deal is one year. He’s expected to step up this year. Still, there are too many question marks back there, right now. (-)
CB:Currently the Eagles have ten players under contract at this position, but really only four or five of them matter. Darius Slayis coming off of his worst season as a pro. For over a decade now, I’ve been telling Eagles fans (first on Yardbarker, and then here onEaglemaniacal.com), that the Eagles Cover One/Cover Three look, has been making chumps of even the top CB’s. With Slay we saw it happen yet again,just last season. Doesn’t matter. New DC Gannon is said to be bringing a Cover Two look, that lets Corners play Corner. Slay still has his physical capabilities, so it stands to reason that in a scheme that isn’t working against him, he’s still at least better than average. Avonte Maddox was a feisty Nickel in his rookie year, but injuries and opponents taking advantage of his 5’9’’ frame, seems to have destroyed his confidence. He’s just out there going through the motions, and ending up being less than average. But hey, maybe a new system will enable him to recapture his swagger at Nickel. (I say ‘maybe’ because the Eagles will draft a Corner pretty early. Maddox won’t be the starter on the outside.) Grayland Arnold, Craig James, and Michael Jacquetall got a chance to play, and all them allowed completion percentages of 80 or higher. Again, there are ten players here and only one of them is worth starting. (-)
IN A NUTSHELL: Many of the players here, seem to have been picked for a defensive system that the Eagles are no longer going to run. The Wide Nine system is so specialized that it’s hard to see this unit being successful without a couple of high-impact changes at a couple of positions (DE, CB). (-)
K: Jake Elliottlooked like trash last year. He connected on just 14/19 field goal tries (73.6%), yet again proving useless from 50 or more (2/5, 40%). His extra point kicking 24/26 (92.3%) was a career-low, as was his 61.8 yard kickoff average. Worst of all, the moldy fondant on the over-priced wedding cake… was his (1/3) field goal kicking from 20 to 29 yards. (-)
P: Arryn Siposs is a 29 year old, ex-Australian Football League player, who’s never played an NFL game. He had a cup of coffee with the Lions before they cut him last year. His AFL highlights make him intriguing, but he’ll be impossible to me to co-sign until we at least see him a preseason game. (-)
IN A NUTSHELL:
There are no clutch legs on the team. So close games and defensive battles where winning field position matters, looks like it will be a problem this year. (-)
BOTTOM LINE: Right now, there is no aspect of the game(Offense, Defense, Special Teams) that the Eagles can be given a passing grade in. On the one hand, there so much change coming with a new coach who has never called plays in a game. Talent-wise, the roster isn’t awful at anything. It just isn’t great at anything. And you need to be great at something to win a division. If the newness of the Eagles gets traction, they could take the NFL by total surprise. That said, history is not on their side. Which you realize, makes the Eagles an underdog. And NOBODY on Earth loves an underdog, more than Philadelphia.