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May 19, 2017

Eagles' offense is improved, but still far from great

The Philadelphia Eagles had an offseason in which they significantly improved their offensive personnel, plugging holes with some competent players, and upgrading at other spots with very good players.

In fact, on Wednesday we took a look at each of the Eagles' offensive positional groups and determined that they either improved at each position, or at least didn't get worse. The short-short version of that post:

• Carson Wentz should be better in year two, while Nick Foles is better than Chase Daniel.

• LeGarrette Blount may not have Ryan Mathews' explosiveness, but he's more reliable in terms of health and ball security. Plus, Wendell Smallwood is a year wiser, and the Eagles added Donnel Pumphrey.

• Wide receiver experienced significant upgrades with the additions or Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and a pair of rookie receivers who will realistically help in 2018 and beyond.

• Tight ends remained the same.

• Offensive line (largely) remained the same.

The Eagles don't have any positional groups on their roster where anyone can say, "Good God that's atrocious" like they could a year ago with their wide receiver corps. However, being an active Twitter user, I've seen a popular notion among the fan base that the Eagles have a top 10-type of offense. Some believe it's top five.

And it's not just fans. Apparently, on 97.5 the Fanatic. Brian Baldinger said the Eagles should be scoring 26-28 points per game in 2017.

26-28 points? Meh. No problem.

Oh wait, there were only two teams last year (the Falcons and Saints) that scored at least 28 points per game last year, and only another five others (the Patriots, Packers, Cowboys, Cardinals, and Raiders) that scored at least 26.

The Eagles scored 22.9 points per game last year. What's another three or so points per game to get them to that 26-point threshold?

Well, to begin, the offense didn't score 22.9 points per game. The team did, with the help of an opportunistic defense and special teams unit that contributed five touchdowns and 37 total points, second-most in the NFL. Strip that away, and the Eagles scored 20.6 points per game on offense.

I'll gladly take bets on the Eagles' offense not putting up 26-28 points per game in 2017.

To be clear, that's not to say the Eagles don't have good players on offense. They do.

• Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks are among the best players in the NFL at less-important positions. Johnson might be the best at his spot at RT.

• Jason Peters was probably a top 10 left tackle in 2016, but it is hard to project that going forward for a player who will turn 36 during the playoffs next season, should the Eagles make it there.

• Alshon Jeffery is obviously a big upgrade at wide receiver, but is he a top 10 receiver? No way. Is he top 20? Eh, maybe.

• Zach Ertz is a top-10 tight end as a receiver, but his all-around game still needs improvement.

• Carson Wentz is certainly expected to improve, but will he likely jump to the forefront of the league's top quarterbacks? At some point, sure, that's possible. To project that for 2017 would be making a massive leap of faith.

The Eagles' offense is improved. By all means, enjoy the improvement and be optimistic. But if you're expecting 28 points per game in 2017, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Again.

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