A Mysterious Season Ahead

Posted: September 13th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on A Mysterious Season Ahead

Every football season is a mystery. There are so many x-factors that you can never truly know what will happen. I remember being excited for 1998 because the Eagles had their franchise quarterback, Bobby Hoying. Oops. That was the worst Eagles team I’ve ever seen and Hoying was a disaster. I must have been all hopped up on goofballs back then.

I was cautiously optimistic heading into 2017, but I had no idea that group would bring the Lombardi Trophy to Broad Street. Such a glorious time for all of mankind.

2020 has been a year unlike any other so trying to figure out what the Eagles will do is a real challenge. I see a team with a lot of potential, but also more than a few questions.

Most interesting to me is the question of whether Carson Wentz can get back to his 2017 form. He threw 33 TDs against only 7 interceptions that year. He ran for 299 yards. Wentz made plays with his arm and legs. He looked like a veteran QB, not a guy in his second season. That was a special year and Wentz looked like an elite QB.

The last couple of years have been more up and down. Wentz has had injuries to deal with. He’s had limited skill players to get the ball to. There have been flashes of greatness mixed with some question marks. It is hard not to be excited after the way Wentz played last December. He carried a cast of largely young and unknown players to a divison title.

I’m excited to see what Wentz can do now that he’s surrounded by speedy players. Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Jason Huntley all have above average speed for RBs. DeSean Jackson remains one of the fastest players in the league. Jalen Reagor is an explosive athlete with playmaking ability. Backups receivers like John Hightower and Quez Watkins can fly. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert run well for TEs.

The lack of big plays was an issue in 2018 and 2019. That should change with Wentz now having improved weapons.

All of that means nothing if the Eagles can’t block anyone. Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks are out for the season. Jason Peters is back at LT. He should solidify that position, but he’s 38 and declining. Lane Johnson is dealing with an ankle injury and could miss the opener. We’ll have to see what happens at RG.

Things should be okay when you have a starting line of Peters-Seumalo-Kelce-Pryor-Johnson. The fun begins when there is an injury and you start moving guys around. Can Matt Pryor be an effetive starter at OT? Can Nate Herbig be an effective starter at OG? Will Jordan Mailata get to play? Where will rookie Jack Driscoll play? Those players have potential, but they are all unproven. There will be issues if too many backups see the field.

The Eagles DL could be good. It could be outstanding. The team is loaded at DT, even with Javon Hargrave missing a week or two early on. Brandon Graham will be as disruptive as always, but the real key will be seeing whether Josh Sweat or Casey Toohill breaks the NFL sack record. Both appear to be future Hall of Famers and amongst the best to ever play the game. Some will accuse me of being a tad delusional, but I’m basing this strictly on the inside info Jimmy Bama gave me and made me promise to keep secret.

The Eagles will be young and fast at LB. But will they be good? I think this is a position where you err on the side of youth and speed. The team has done that. We’ll just have to wait and see if they chose the right players. It will help if Nate Gerry cuts down on the missed tackles and T.J. Edwards can build on the promise he showed as a rookie. If there are any issues, Seth Joyner is just a call away.

What about the secondary? We are all praying that Darius “Don’t call me Darius” Slay is the real deal. If he lands on the right side of the Troy Vincent-to-Dimitri Patterson scale, it will make a world of difference. Nickell Robey-Coleman generated a lot of buzz this summer and could be outsanding in the slot. Pressure will be on Avonte Maddox to hold up his end of the deal.

Jalen Mills is now the team’s strong safety. I think he’s a natural fit there instead of playing corner. The Eagles actually have some depth at safety so you no longer have to hold  your breath every time Mills or Rodney McLeod is slow to get up.

Dave Fipp would like to get the Eagles special teams units back to the top of the league. That will involve the return teams making more plays and the coverage units tightening up a bit. It felt like there was more of an emphasis on STs with the way the roster played out. We’ll have to wait and see if the moves pay off.

Doug Pederson has handled change and chaos well during his tenure as Eagles coach. I think that gives them an advantage in such a strange season. We don’t know for a fact that something crazy will happen, but it seems likely. Baseball had all kinds of issues early on. College football teams have had issues. I’ve got my fingers crossed, but my guess is that there will be some issues at some point.

Rather than dwell on what might happen, I’m going to enjoy the football we do have.

Until the first dropped pass, missed tackle or missed block. Then I’m going right to extreme anger and wishing the sport didn’t exist so I could spend my time doing something productive like swapping pudding recipes on Pinterest.

Enjoy the wild ride we’ve got in front of us.


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