Schedule: @WAS, LAR, CIN, @SF, @PIT, BAL, NYG, DAL, BYE, @NYG, @CLE, SEA, @GB, NO, @ARI, @DAL, WAS
Additions: CB Darius Slay (Trade),
WR Marquise Goodwin (Trade), DL Javon Hargrave (FA), S Will Parks (FA), CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (FA), WR Jalen Reagor (Draft), QB Jalen Hurts (Draft)
Losses: OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai (FA), S Malcolm Jenkins (FA), RB Jordan Howard (FA), CB Ronald Darby (FA), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (FA), DL Timmy Jernigan (FA), WR Nelson Agholor (FA), WR Marquise Goodwin (Opt-out), OL Brandon Brooks (Injury), OL Andre Dillard (Injury), WR Alshon Jeffery (Injury), S Will Parks (Injury)
Well, this won’t be the year the Eagles break their injury curse. The season hasn’t even started yet and two starters are already out for the year. Not only were they starters, but Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard were two of the most important players on the roster. Brooks is one of the best guards in the league and Dillard was slated to replace Jason Peters at left tackle.
Well, the franchise icon is reportedly staying at guard, so the Eagles are essentially screwed. Even if they pay up and convince Peters to return to left tackle, this offensive line is still likely to be a mess. Given the injury history of a guy like Lane Johnson, there’s a good chance they’ll be starting three intended backups at some point this season. Heading into the season, this group was supposed to be elite once again. Now, it’s a major worry and could cost the team a couple wins.
Another consequence, Carson Wentz’ chance of injury probably just doubled. He’s not a guy you can risk shoddy protection with. For him to carry a group of no-name receivers like he did last year, he at least needs a little time in the pocket. Speaking of the receivers, they can’t possibly be any worse than last year, but it’s still not a good group. Rookie Jalen Reagor is already injured. Alshon Jeffery still isn’t back. Who knows how long Desean Jackson will stay healthy. Stud tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will once again have to make up for the bad receivers.
Unsurprisingly for this team, running back Miles Sanders is also banged up. Unlike some of the other guys, though, he’s expected to be ready for Week 1. He’s another player I’m really excited to watch this year. Barring an unexpected move, the Penn State product is due for a huge workload after showing promise as a rookie.
If there’s anything synonymous with the Eagles other than injuries, it’s investing in the defensive line. Every year, they seem to use their last $7 in cap space on a big name at defensive tackle or end. This time around, it was big nose tackle Javon Hargrave switching Pennsylvania teams. He’ll open up space for Fletcher Cox and last year’s surprising signing Malik Jackson. It’s another good rotation on the edge, especially if 2020 is a breakout year for Derek Barnett. I’d say there’s a decent chance, and that would bring this defensive line to the forefront of league-wide rankings.
For as good as they are, the linebackers are almost equally as bad, so as a whole, the front seven isn’t much above average. Entering year four, Nathan Gerry is fresh off his first year as a starter and the centerpiece of the unit going forward. That’s not good. Besides the inexperience, he didn’t play all that well last year. No one around him screams difference-maker, either. Philadelphia chose to bank on potential here. If it fails, that’s the type of blunder that could sink the not only the defense, but the team’s playoff chances.
For years, it was the secondary Howie Roseman refused to invest in. Matt Patricia pissing off his entire locker room changed that. Darius Slay wanted out of Detroit, and the Eagles GM pounced. This group, largely full of holdovers, looks a lot more imposing with a lockdown corner on its side. Free agent acquisition Nickell Robey-Coleman will do a great job in the slot as well. The three returning starters—with Jalen Mills now at safety (and hopefully safe from double moves)—aren’t great, but they aren’t crippling, either.
The offensive line injuries cannot be overstated. Philadelphia’s recent success was due to the offensive line as much as any other unit. Not only are they due for a major drop off, but Wentz’ already high risk of injury is now an even bigger concern. If he goes down, they’re done. Not even wannabe Taysom Hill can save them. Even if Ginger Jesus somehow stays upright, they’ll be hard pressed to win more than seven games with this brutal out-of-division schedule.
What’s your record prediction for the Eagles? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.