May 23, 2017
It’s not like too many NFL season predictions have come out in late May, but I feel like I’ve read the same general take from national publications a few different times concerning your Philadelphia Eagles:
1. With Carson Wentz leading the charge, the Eagles have a chance to be pretty good in the future.
2. The Eagles probably aren’t quite good enough to make the playoffs this year.
And that is more or less what The MMQB’s Peter King writes, slotting the Eagles at 23rd in his latest power rankings:
So many things about this team I like right now, including the drafting of cornerback Sidney Jones in the second round though he’s coming off Achilles surgery in March, and no one knows if he’ll play this year or at what level. This franchise is being built for the long term, with smart two-year pieces like Chris Long plugging temp holes. On offense, Carson Wentz will have more help from a motivated Alshon Jeffery and deep threat Torrey Smith, and Wentz has to progress or the whole program is in trouble.
King writes that Wentz is the key to the season, and I don’t think there is an Eagles fan that would argue. It would be nice if Derek Barnett showed some quick burst and Rasul Douglas stepped in and played well from Day 1, but if the Eagles have a long-term quarterback, there is a greater margin for error everywhere else.
2. Who to watch: Eagles OTAs begin today, and here are five players (Alshon Jeffrey and Shelton Gibson among them) that we’ll be watching.
3. Mailbag One (and Two): With a veteran bruiser like LeGarrette Blount now in the fold, how will the Eagles coaching staff divvy up the running back touches? As a hint, stay away from these guys in fantasy football. And why do the Eagles have one of the worst salary cap positions in the NFL after the situation being the exact opposite for so long?
4. On the offensive: The Eagles offense should be improved in 2017 — How could it not be? — but let’s slow down on the massive leap forward.
5. Eagles fantasy football: Don’t be the guy that drafts Carson Wentz in the fifth round.
6. LeGarrette don’t care: Blount will fumble and make fun of Wentz afterward, or something like that.
7. A potted plant? After a quiet offseason from Doug Pederson, Angelo Cataldi is wondering what we’ll see from the Eagles head coach now that we’re getting back to actual football.
Here are the players on the spot for all 32 NFL teams when the 2017 season begins: Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Prisco believes that Alshon Jeffery has the most at stake on the Eagles roster this season:
The Eagles signed Jeffery to be their No. 1 receiver but he's playing on a one-year deal. That means he's rolling the dice that he can prove he's a long-term solution to their receiving issues. Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz needed help outside, and Jeffery is an upgrade. But he has to show he's worth more than just a one-year deal.
The NFL’s Biggest Position Battle Might Be in Denver: Albert Breer, The MMQB
Speaking of Jeffery, at least he seems to be impressing the Eagles coaches during the team’s workouts… which means precisely nothing, but hey, we’ll take it:
While we’re there, wideout Alshon Jeffery has made a great early impression on the Philly coaches. He’s in shape—one staffer said he looks like a “freak”—and all this jibes with what Bears coaches were saying about him last summer, before his 2016 went sideways.
Carson, Carson, Carson! Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
Lawlor wrote about how Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman are trying to bring Carson Wentz along more aggressively than how Andy Reid handled a young Donovan McNabb all of those years ago:
The organization still added a pair of rookie WRs and a rookie RB. They already had several young WRs and a young RB in place. They have a couple of young TEs already on the roster. It isn’t as if the Eagles are in panic mode and making crazy moves. There is a difference in being aggressive and being reckless. The Eagles didn’t trade away future picks. They didn’t give out dangerous contracts. They didn’t sign players with major character issues. These feel like smart, reasonable moves.
Doug Pederson talks Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz… Benjamin Solak, Bleeding Green Nation
A little bit of a backhanded from Dougie P for Dak Prescott? He basically hit Dak with the game manager label:
He knew that he had a good defense, a tremendous offensive line, a great runner—he had some veteran players he could rely on. And he learned that early. As soon as he had the opportunity to play, you know, from Day 1. And that’s something that young quarterbacks...sometimes, it takes them a while to figure out the game that way. And that’s the impressive thing: he learned to handle that business well, utilize the people around him, and understand that he didn’t have to go win the game.
LISTEN TO PEDERSON’S WHOLE PODCAST WITH ED WERDER AND MATT MOSLEY HERE.
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