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May 17, 2017

Better or worse than last year: Eagles offense edition

With the Philadelphia Eagles' offseason basically complete (barring trade possibilities), we'll take a look at each of the Birds' positional groups and determine where they got better or worse, starting with the offense.


2016: Carson Wentz, Chase Daniel

2017: Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Matt McGloin

With a full season and 607 pass attempts under his belt, Wentz survived his rookie year and showed optimism that the Eagles may have found their franchise quarterback. It is expected that he will progress in year two. Beyond Wentz, Foles is better than Daniel.

Better or worse: Better.

Running back

2016: Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner

2017: Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, Corey Clement (?)

The expectation remains that Mathews will indeed be released within the next month or two, which leaves the Eagles light (literally) at running back. Mathews struggled with fumbles, but he was the only Eagles back who ran with above average power, and was effective when healthy. The Eagles have still not definitively replaced his contributions to the offense.

Better or worse: Worse.

UPDATE: The Eagles signed LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal like a hour after we published this. Thanks, Eagles. I believe that Blount is a small upgrade over Mathews because he's more reliable health-wise, and he takes better care of the football. So...

Better or worseSlightly better.

Wide receiver

2016: Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs, Paul Turner

2017: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Nelson Agholor

The Eagles arguably had the worst wide receiving corps in the NFL last season, so their need to upgrade the position this offseason was obvious. The Eagles did just that, snagging the best wide receiver in free agency in Jeffery, as well as deep threats in Smith, Hollins, and Gibson. The Eagles' wide receiver position is easily the most improved on the roster.

It's perhaps also notable that the only positional coaching change the Eagles made this offseason was at wide receiver, where they replaced Greg Lewis with Mike Groh.

Better or worse: Way better.

Tight end

2016: Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton

2017: Same

There were no real changes to an already good group at tight end. Ertz may progress some in 2017 if he can stay healthy, while Celek's play will likely continue to regress as he ages.

Better or worse: Neither.

Offensive tackle

2016: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Tobin, Dillon Gordon

2017: Same

If you factor in that Lane Johnson (probably) won't get suspended again in 2017, then one could make the argument that the Eagles are better here than they were a year ago. Of course, if you do that, then you'd probably have to dock them at every other position where they didn't suffer any injuries, so we're not going to do that here.

Peters is now 35 years old, so you have to account for some kind of regression from him. On the bright side, however, if the Eagles suffer an injury to one of their tackles, Vaitai will be more prepared to play this year than he was as a rookie.

Better or worse: Neither.

Interior offensive line

2016: Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Allen Barbre, Stefen Wisniewski, Isaac Seumalo

2017: Mostly the same, with the addition of Chance Warmack, and the possibility of Seumalo starting somewhere, either at LG or center.

The Eagles have impressive depth along the interior of their offensive line, as they did a year ago. To be determined if they can find a trade partner for Kelce.

We'll apply better continuity for the line as a whole to the interior, and call it slightly better.

Better or worse: Slightly better.

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