What to expect from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021?

With The Eagles season just 3 Weeks away. We already kind of know what to expect. Or do we? With a new Coaching Staff and New QB a ton of questions remain unanswered in this blog I will give you some players and some coaches to be on the lookout for as we move closer to the start of the regular season.

Jalen Hurts

How can you hate Jalen Hurts? Jalen looks like player ready for war. He is always counted out and has always played very well under pressure. NBC’s Chris Simms recently left Jalen Hurts out of his top 40 Qb’s in the NFL. How disrespectful is that. I truly believe Jalen Hurts can take a huge leap and become the future for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now that is if the team allows him to. The Eagles have been recently linked to Houston Texans’ QuarterBack Deshaun Watson and knowing Howie Roseman he is most likely extremely interested. Although his legal issues may hold him back I would not be surprised if the Eagles trade for the star QB (if he’s innocent). But for now the QB1 is Jalen and he has all of the fanbases’ attention.

Nick Sirianni

Personally, I was not high on Nick Sirianni when the Eagles first hired him. And quite frankly I’m still not. As an eagles fan I’ve learned to never be excited about anything it seems like the eagles never have anything good. Like Donald Trump once said “Bad things happen in Philadelphia”. Nick Sirianni’s First press conference was one to remember he seemed nervous as if he’s never spoken to the media or anyone before. Since then he seems more confident but maybe a bit of a overthinker which is a big change supposing Doug Pederson was a guy who thought he knew it all. Coach Sirianni looks like he is ready to learn from his mistakes and become a better coach every day. Just like Coach said yesterday in His press conference ” Like Jalen said ‘Rent is due every week and we don’t plan on missing a payment”. Coach added, ” If we pay rent every week we get better”. Seems like these two are very responsible with their bills. Lol.

Jonathan Gannon

Oh Boy. Jonathan Gannon also newly hired as a Defensive Coordinator. His run defense this preseason is something that makes me want to turn off my TV. I really hope this is just a thing that he is doing for the preseason. He recently stated that he wants to see everyone 1v1. Meaning he won’t blitz this preseason which is understandable. Coach Gannon looks to regain the eagles reputation of being the blitz heavy defense we all remember. I expect big things this season for the defense with additions Like Anthony Harris, Eric Wilson and Steven Nelson this defense should look a lot better. If the team wants to be successful it starts with the defense.

Howie Roseman

This man has managed to salvage his Job multiple times. For example, When Chip kelly took over he was on the verge of being fired. One year Later he built a Championship Roster. But after that whole Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson Mess you have to hope this is a make or break season for Howie. Howie has been able to hire 3 head coaches that is unheard of in the NFL. But I give credit when credit is due and with no money he was able to sign some solid players. And was able to pull off a crazy trade on draft night to move up to 10 and draft WR Devonta Smith. I truly hope that of the eagles are a competent team in the trade deadline he is able to pull off 1 or 2 solid trades. With a estimated cap space of $54 Million and 2 first round picks in 2022 (Could be 3 if Carson Wentz plays 75% of the snaps for the colts) it’s a big offseason next year for Howie.

Devonta Smith

Devonta Smith was such a surprise pick. When the eagles traded up to 10 I was ecstatic. So was the entirety of the Eagles Fanbase just take a look at this.

Devonta Smith had his debut on Thursday against the patriots racking up 2 receptions for 19 yards. Does his body frame worry me? Watching his tape it seems like no one can catch him in the line of scrimmage so if no one can get physical with him then I don’t worry about his frame. The Former Heisman winner put up video game numbers in 2020. Making him the 2nd WR of all time to win the heisman award. With all the accomplishments it seems like the eagles finally got a WR1 but only time will tell. Wishing the best for Devonta.

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A Darkening Future: The Tale of Carson Wentz

The Philadelphia Eagles currently have two quarterbacks in the NFL Hall of Fame, Norm Van Brocklin, and Sonny Jurgenson. The latter of the two played his last game for the Eagles in 1963. It’s fair to say that the Eagles haven’t found a great deal of success at the position. Of course, players such as Ron Jaworski, Randell Cunningham, and Donavan McNabb are the more recent examples of fruitful quarterbacks for the Eagles. 

Although, from the names I mentioned, none of them were the “future of football”. McNabb, having the best case to argue, didn’t even seem possible to overthrow Peyton Manning, and certainly not Tom Brady as the best player in the league. Yet, only a few distant years ago the Eagles, fans, and the league thought there might be one coming out of Philadelphia. 

Carson Wentz, the former second-round pick, former MVP contender, was thought at the start of the 2020 season to be fighting to reclaim his rank at the top of the NFL. Noone thought that within ten games he would be fighting to keep his job. Yet, that is where we currently stand, the future of Philadelphia football is at a critical standpoint as the team faces the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. 

Rumors from this past week have foreshadowed a potential change coming at the quarterback position, as Jalen Hurts, the team’s second-round pick, is waiting in the wings. Tonight could be the conclusion of an era that was believed to last decades. The stark reality of the Eagle’s current starting quarterback is in the most danger that it’s been since his arrival. 

Of course, the looming change doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watched the Eagles play this season. The team’s putrid 3-6-1 record speaks volumes of the struggles that the team, and it’s quarterback, has faced this year. With errant passes, poor decision-making, and lack of consistency, Carson Wentz has become more of the problem than the solution. 

As mentioned, reports leading up to the game have drawn in the idea that Jalen Hurts will receive more playing time, potentially without Wentz on the field. When the Eagles drafted Hurts in last year’s draft, many assumed that this was merely an expensive insurance policy, few imagined he could be the future. When I state “many assumed” of course those set on the demise of Carson Wentz saw the draft pick as an easy decision to dump the former second overall pick. 

When it comes to replacing a quarterback, especially one that was deemed the future of the franchise last year, it isn’t easy. Considering that the Eagles tied themselves to Wentz by signing him to a 4 year, $128,000,000 contract, averaging $32,000,000 per year, they made it almost impossible to move on. But why would they? Wentz at the time was one of the best QB’s in the league, if anything the concerns of his health were the cause for concern. Never was his performance brought into question, when evaluating the contract when he initially signed.

 Wentz’s contract goes through the 2024 season, and it isn’t until next year, and the years after that his annual salary jumps even higher. 

The takeaway is, the Eagles crash if Wentz does. This isn’t an explanatory piece on how the Eagles can break or buffer the blow if the Eagles move on. Simply, I’m stating the implications of moving on. 

Further, bringing in Jalen Hurts draws into question of whether this decision would work for a team that doesn’t just have quarterback issues. If Doug Pederson truly believes that Hurts is the heir apparent, or at this point, the next best thing, to take over, the Eagles, is this the way to go at it?

Assuming in the next couple of games, Wentz is benched; throwing in a rookie quarterback to a dumpster fire, doesn’t scream great outcomes. Although, this is one of the reasons he was drafted for, right? Of course, the question that has yet to be fully examined is if Jalen Hurts is even good? When the Eagles drafted him, the conversation was more about the implication of the pick rather than the value of it. 

From evaluation, Hurts was deemed as second to third-round pick, so with that, this is the talent that the Eagles should expect. It doesn’t take a genius to review the history of second-round quarterbacks. They usually don’t work out. 

Mahomes, Jackson, Allen, Murray, the names have become synonymous with the future of the NFL, all of them were first-round draft picks. Again, this also isn’t an article breaking down if Hurts can succeed with the Eagles. But just showing the other aspects of a move as major as the one being considered, is needed to understand the full matter at hand. 

If the constant rain, and thunderstorms today is any sign for how the Eagles will fare tonight, it won’t be great. Yet, as the saying goes, “after every rain comes a rainbow”. The question is, will the sun have already set before the rainbow can reach across the sky? 

The Eagles Offensive Situation

Ben Carlson

QB: The QB situation for the Eagles is pretty straight forward. Carson Wentz will obviously lead the team as the starter as long as he is eligible to play, and Nate Sudfeld will likely back him up. The addition of Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the draft confused a lot; however, I am confident that Coach Pederson and Howie drafted Jalen Hurts mainly to use as a gadget player like the Saints use Taysom Hill.

RB: With the departure of Jordan Howard this offseason a lot of people are wondering what the Eagles will do to replace him for the 2020-2021 season. Their have been some big names popping up such as Carlos Hyde, Shady McCoy and Devonta Freeman. Me personally, I have a ton of faith in Miles Sanders as an RB 1; however, bringing in a vet that can help with the workload and potentially guide Miles for a year isn’t something I wouldn’t be opposed to.

WR: The front office did a great job at adding new weapons for Wentz this offseason. The additions consisted of Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. Pederson and Howie were obviously going for speed and I’m all for it. I have high hopes for Jalen Reagor, I think he will have an impact from the start of the season. Marquise will be a good speed guy to have along side D-Jax. As for John Hightower and Quez Watkins, they were both good picks (especially for when we got them) and from the looks of their college tape if needed they will be ready (I really do think they are better than being just random backups but I don’t know what the front office will do about it, for we have a lot of WR on the roster) . To top that all off we still have Alshon Jeffery, Greg Ward, JJAW, Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett and Shelton Gibson

TE: The TE situation similar to the QB room is also really straight forward. We have the three headed snake from last year consisting of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedart and Josh Perkins. I’m a big fan of our TE corp, year after year they continue to be reliable and consistent.

O-Line: As usual we still have a dominant O-Line; however, Vaitai left and is now on the Lions. A solid player and a pretty big lose, but definitely replaceable. As of right now it looks like the starting lineup will be Andre Dillard, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson. This is a lineup I’m extremely confident in despite Isaac Seumalo’s super mediocre past. The front office did make some moves this offseason to pad the line such as draft Jack Driscoll and draft Prince Tega Wanogho. Both excelled in college and were good picks in the 4th and 6th round. The main obstacle is not being able to avoid injuries, we need to stay healthy. That doesn’t go for just the O-Line, the entire roster needs to stay healthy if we want to succeed this season.

Speed is Going to be Key for the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had a goal going into the off-season to get Carson Wentz’s speed. I think it’s fair to say that I got some speed. Now the talent of that speed is another question, but let’s evaluate the need for speed the Eagles have.

It’s clear that the Eagles missed Desean Jackson last year. Considering that Jackson totaled the fifth-most receiving TDs’ for the Eagles this season while only playing three games (only one full one), was a problem. We all saw what could happen when Wentz had an option that could get open 25 yards plus, and catch the ball. In particular, the two plays that we all remember from Wentz to Jackson last year were the two touchdowns in week 1. Both of those plays were 50 yards or more (51 and 53 yards to be exact). Even with two 25+ yard touchdowns in one game, Wentz went on to only have three more in the other 15 games of the season. So it’s clear that the Eagles needed speed.

“But we already knew that!”

Yet there is a pattern to Wentz’s performance to the amount of TDs’ of 25 yards or more he has per season. Wentz had five touchdowns that met that criteria in 2019, three in 2018, eight in 2017, and three in 2016. It makes sense, the more big plays you have, the better your team will be.
Wentz’s best year was in 2017 when he was arguably on his way to win the MVP award. It makes sense that his most “big plays” came in that year. For 2019, arguably his second most impressive year, and then 2016 and 2018 follow behind. The Eagles investing a first-round pick in Jalen Reagor, trading for Marquise Goodwin, and drafting John Hightower and Quez Watkins in the later rounds was an attempt to give Wentz more speed.

In the games when Carson Wentz throws 25 yards or more for a TD, the Eagles are 10-4 in those games. For games when he throws 30 yards or more and it results in a touchdown, the Eagles are 9-2 in those games. 40 yards or more 6-1. The outlier in the last one was the Titans game from 2018, so that really doesn’t count.

All those statistics are just evidence to show that Wentz with speed, equals wins. With all of this speed, the Eagles are trying to build a foundation that gives the teams weapons down the field. With Ertz, Godert, Jeffery, and whoever 25 yards and in placing options for Wentz, Jackson, Reagor, and Goodwin will cover everything else.

No Eagles fan will question the method of getting speed for the Eagles, now the players that they acquired to do so, maybe.

“Are Reagor’s hands good enough?”

“Can Jackson or Goodwin play a 16 game season?”

“Why did they draft Jalen Hurts?”

Okay the last one might be for a different matter, but nevertheless before you blast Howie Roseman for having the worst draft ever, evaluate. The Eagles did get faster, Wentz now has speed. We don’t know right now if Reagor over Jefferson was a mistake, or spending two later round draft picks on players with the same skillset was the right decision.

In conclusion, Howie Roseman addressed the speed aspect for Carson Wentz. The players we can debate, but the fundamental ideas were addressed. I’m not saying Roseman has given Wentz everything he has ever wanted, nevertheless, the Eagles have answered on speed end for the Philadelphia Eagles.