Welcome to the PSF/ TDOIA NFL team previews. For the next month we will try to preview all 32 teams in the NFL. The article will be broken down into three sections, a review of the teams previous season and offseason additions. Then a roster breakdown and finally a record prediction and expectations. Let’s fly.
The Eagles are world champs, and boy did they go on a bender. A killer parade, great free agency moves, and a decent draft have this team set up well for 2018. However with victory comes loss in the NFL. A massive outpouring of coaching talent is one of those losses. Frank Reich went to Indy after the Josh McDaniels debacle. John Defilippo went to Minnesota to become the Vikings next OC. Leaving behind Doug Pederson to rehire a new OC and a new QB coach. Time will quickly tell if the coaching brilliance of last year was Pederson’s or not.
Pederson will regain the most exciting young QB in the NFL in Carson Wentz. Though it has not been confirmed I believe from what I have seen and heard out of Philly OTA’s that Wentz will be ready to go week one. 2018 will be about trying to recreate the brilliance he displayed in 2017. It will be interesting to see how coming off an ACL affects Wentz most obvious strength, his mobility. Will the injury cause him to revert back to his wonky mechanics of 2017? Will the QB be mentally ready to go? Wentz was a proven commodity last year, this year it’s about showing he can do it year to year and coming off an injury that remains a real question.
Wentz will have all the tools around him though, lose Torey Smith add the more proven Mike Wallace. The Eagles receiving core will return nearly all its stars from last years campaign including Nelson Agholor, who seems to have fixed his drop issues, and break out star Alshon Jeffery. Not to mention Zach Ertz one of the best receiving tight ends in the game. In the draft Philly added top tight end prospect Dallas Goedert as well. The Eagles wide receiving core is, deep and talented and promises to once again be tops in the league in 2018.
As far as a backfield goes Philly looks as if they will go by committee again this year. I would expect Jay Ajayi, acquired at the trade deadline from the Dolphins last year, to see a bigger role this year but also significant touches from Corey Clement. Darren Sproles, the ageless wonder, returns from his arm injury to join the backfield as well. It’s worth noting that Sproles game against Kansas City in week two last year not only was the game he got injured in but one of the best performances I have ever seen from Sproles. Ten attempts for 48 yards. The Eagles backfield looks unique and fun to watch.
The Eagles return every starter to their offensive line. This includes the return of Jason Peters who missed the back half of last year with an ACL tear. Peters is the biggest question mark on the offensive line because of injury and he’s a future hall of famer, that’s how good this line is.
Where the Eagles really did their damage this offseason though was in free agency. Trading for Michael Bennett, a pass rusher still in his prime to add to an already terrifying pass rush. Derek Barnett only promises to get better in his second year, Fletcher Cox is the best defensive tackle in the league if it isn’t Aaron Donald, and Chris Long and newly added Haloti Ngata add a ton of depth. Not to mention linebacker Nigel Bradham. While losing Mychal Kendricks to the Browns is a big deal this linebacking core is so deep that it isn’t a huge concern for the Eagles. Malcom Jenkins and Ronald Darby hold down the secondary and with Darby back at full health it becomes one of the best in the leauge.
You could make a really good case that the Eagles are the best roster in the NFL. There are very few weaknesses for the city of brotherly love. The biggest questions will revolve around coaching and the return of Wentz, two huge factors but the expectations in Philly should still be Super Bowl or bust.
Record Prediction: 12-4