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March 21, 2023

10 reasons the Eagles will look totally different next season

A year after an epic run to the Super Bowl, the Eagles could feel like a completely different team in 2023.

It comes as no surprise that the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles will not look the same next season.

On offense, things could be pretty similar, with MVP candidate Jalen Hurts returning with the same potent weapons and mostly the same stout offensive line. But on defense, the roster is being overhauled. And behind the scenes, an entirely new coaching staff will be pulling the strings.

The challenges this offseason are numerous, and Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni will have their hands full trying to maintain some kind of consistency and winning strategy as the salary cap and coaching carousel threaten the Eagles' NFC dominance. 

Here's an overview of 10 things we can't help but anticipate being new or totally different next season:

Someone new will be calling the plays

This one isn't complicated. The Eagles saw Shane Steichen walk — to Indianapolis where he will coach the Colts — and needed a new offensive coordinator. They hired from within and Brian Johnson, former QB coach, will now not only be responsible for the Eagles' high-powered offense but the team's playcalling too.

Just how this will impact how the offense looks and feels will be an unknown for a while, but it does add a question mark to a unit that was one of the NFL's best in 2022.

The defense has a new leader too

The Cardinals also went to the Eagles' well for their head coach, tagging Jonathan Gannon to run their team, which means the Eagles have a second new coordinator in Sean Desai — who comes to Philly from Seattle. He's coached at Temple University and seems to be a good fit for the Birds.

But as we'll get into, there is a ton of turnover on the defensive side of the ball and the 'D' could look completely different in 2023 as a result of having a new coordinator and pieces on the roster.

They'll have two new starting safeties 

Marcus Epps and C.J. Gardner-Johnson have found new homes and the Eagles opted to keep veteran corners Darius Slay and James Bradberry. This means that both safety spots will be manned by new players in 2023. Jimmy Kempski already looked into this for us and expects the team will sign a few more players to vie for the role. They could also draft one.

It's certainly a risk, and the Eagles look like they're going to be getting creative with limited funds to fill this important position.

They'll have two new starting linebackers

Similar to the safety spot, Philly did not retain Kyzir White or T.J. Edwards, each of whom accepted jobs with new teams last week. As such, they may be giving second-year player Nakobe Dean a vote of confidence at off-ball linebacker.

Will the Eagles add some more veterans at linebacker or make a splashy signing here? One thing is for sure: They are almost assuredly not drafting one in the first round.

A true running back by committee

As the Eagles did their best to triage their long list of needs and free agents, they decided to let Miles Sanders walk (to the Panthers) and brought in Rashaad Penny on a high-upside, low-risk deal. Pairing Penny with Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell creates a trio of backs that the Eagles are probably going to be shuffling in and out of games in 2023.

The offensive line should create tons of openings for these three backs, who could be joined by a rookie this April, but as of right now, it doesn't seem like fantasy owners should be too enthused about the Eagles' run game.

A new starter on the O-line

Super Bowl winning guard Isaac Seumalo was not retained by the Eagles, and as such, they'll have a new starting guard in 2023. All signs point to Cam Jurgens sliding from his backup center role to start at the spot after he was selected in the second round last draft. 

The lineup may look different on paper but this is one of the spots where fans should see no change at if things go according to plan.

A less potent pass rush

The Eagles set a team record with 70 sacks last season. They'll see at least 17 of them playing for other teams next season (11 of these from Javon Hargrave, who is a 49er now). A lot of pressure will be on Jordan Davis to step things up in the middle going into his second season.

The team will also be putting some extra pressure on two 30-plus vets in Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, each of whom will be back in 2023 trying to stave off regression.

Their schedule will be tougher

The Eagles had the easiest schedule in football in 2022 and obviously took advantage of it, winning 14 games and making it to the Super Bowl. Next season they'll have a first-place schedule — a slate of games that is already being projected as the hardest in the NFL. Their 2023 opponents had a 161-123-4 (.57% win percentage) last season.

Injury luck will probably change

A lot has to go right for a team to make it to the Super Bowl and the Eagles had the third-best injury luck of any team in 2022, according to Football Outsiders.

The odds of that happening once in a sport as violent as football are very low. The odds of it happening in back-to-back years, with so many players over the age of 30 on the roster? Don't hold your breath. The Eagles will need to have depth and draft players who are ready to play this spring.

A new QB sneak rule?

This one has yet to play out, but there is a chance the NFL outlaws the Eagles' extremely effective QB sneak — a play that proved to be virtually unstoppable in 2022. If so, the Birds will surely adapt, but it is just one more potential hurdle and new challenge for a team with no shortage of them.

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