As the Eagles are in the middle of their offseason program, I had three big picture thoughts on the team.
1. It’s possible the Eagles offense doesn’t have a weakness. That’s sounds pretty ridiculous, but the one position that I’m not totally sure about it is the quarterback. I believe that Carson Wentz is going to be good, but I’m still expecting some growing pains in year two. The rest of the offense. though, could be easily above average. With Lane Johnson back full-time and the addition of Chance Warmack, the line could be a top ten unit. If Zach Ertz can be December-like earlier in the season and Trey Burton continues to mature, the tight ends could be a strength. The addition of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith gives the team a quality corps of receivers and LaGarrette Blount solves the need at running back. Every position group has some depth and real talent. Ultimately their success will be determined by how well Carson Wentz plays, but he certainly has a much better overall group to play with in 2017.
2. Let’s give Howie Roseman some credit. Every draft pick is signed, their offense doesn’t have any glaring holes and that should help in the development of Carson Wentz. Yes, he’s made some mistakes along the way, but he’s had more hits than misses. He also seems to have a better understanding of things the second time around. Not long after Roseman was re-assigned when Chip Kelly flexed his muscles, ESPN’s Louis Riddick, who had worked in the Eagles front office under Roseman, called out his leadership skills and competency. In his year of exile, Roseman took a step back and studied the job he did with the Eagles and also examined how other executives handle their business. It’s impossible to say how much was drawn from these studies, but it hardly could have hurt. Bottom line, though, he has a lot of work to do to turn the franchise into a Super Bowl contender.
3. The defensive line should be pretty good, especially if Derek Barnett can produce in his rookie season. The ends in general should be more productive. Vinny Curry’s numbers weren’t good in 2016, but I’m not sure he played as poorly as the 3.5 sacks he registered. I expect him to bounce back, at least a little bit. Brandon Graham should have at least a little chip on his shoulders and most expect him to continue his pro-bowl type play. Fletcher Cox reported to OTA’s a little bit lighter and is primed to up his sack total, while the other starting tackle, Timmy Jernigan, is playing for a free agent contract and has very good pass rushing skills. One big question that remains for me: Is Jim Schwartz the guy? At worst, Schwartz is an easy upgrade over previous DC Bill Davis, but his failure to adjust to his personnel and lack of creativity should be closely watched in 2017.