Football season is still a few months away, but with the draft being over and teams heading into training camp, the hype train is taking off. Promising rookies are already developing fans, the game of musical quarterbacks has everyone excited, and the Patriots just appeared in three back-to-back-to-back Superbowls, so surely it’s someone else’s turn, right? (Wishful thinking at its finest, folks!) Eagles fans, thirsty after a pretty depressing 2018 season, are ready to see our boys in green do the great things that we know they can do – we all saw Super Bowl LII. But some lingering questions are already filling the air ’round the City of Brotherly Love. The following are people and things that we are watching as we get closer to the 2019-2020 NFL season.
One of the biggest questions this season will be this: can Carson Wentz stay healthy for an entire 16-game season? The jury is still out on that one, as Wentz has found himself injured in the last two seasons, with a torn ACL putting the kibosh on his 2017 season, and an ambiguously hurt back grinding his 2018 campaign to a halt after just 11 games. Nobody’s blaming Wentz for these things, obviously, but the difference this season is that Wentz doesn’t have the backup of Nick Foles to shoulder the heavy lifting and drag the rest of the team to the playoffs. Foles’ contract expired and the Eagles released him, and now he’s the new hope of the Miami Dolphins. All reports say that Wentz is healing well and participating in team activities, but he’ll need to be at 100% this season if the Eagles want to have a shot.
The former Chicago Bear has high hopes pinned on him as the attack dog of the backfield this coming season, with the Eagles very likely to use him as their numero uno RB. But Howard’s three years in the NFL have been a roller coaster. He had a phenomenal rookie year, accumulating 1,313 yards on the ground in 2016, but neither of his campaigns since then have recaptured the magic. On one hand, last year he rushed for 935 yards and nine touchdowns. On the other, he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Could a team switchup be what he needs to bring back the hype? The Eagles’ offense is hoping that the answer is “yes.”
Look, it’s no secret that the Philly’s D struggled hard last year. The secondary was ranked a dismal 23rd in the League for last season, plus the team just jettisoned defensive end Michael Bennett and linebacker Jordan Hicks to free agency, which was a significant loss. On the other hand, we have some promising chess pieces on the board, pointing to a defense that has a lot of potential. From ClutchPoints.com:
The Eagles’ defense ranked 23rd in the NFL this past season, but with the addition of Malik Jackson and with Ronald Darby potentially getting healthy for the first time in what is now his three-year tenure with Philadelphia, the Birds could be better defensively in 2019.
On top of that, we have talented pass rusher Fletcher Cox, and Malcolm Jenkins as a sturdy safety. And back to Jackson – just two years ago, he had a whopper of a season with Jacksonville. What will the defense bring this year? We’ll have to sit back and watch.
DeSean Jackson is no foreign name in Philadelphia. The guy spent the first six years of his career with the Eagles, earning three trips to the Pro Bowl in the process. Unfortunately, what followed was five dismal years with literally two of the worst teams out there – the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Bucs – during which Jackson showed out poorly, perhaps in conjunction with the dumpster fire teams he was playing on. At least, that’s the hope of the Eagles, who have landed him again. Granted, Jackson is no longer a rookie. He’s 32, and we all know that means that he isn’t going to be capable of some of the astonishing things he could do seven years ago. Still, the Eagles’ strength is in their offense, and with an actually decent line behind him, it may be Jackson’s time to shine again.