It’s that time of year when football is in its purgatory stage and there aren’t really any headline news. Maybe a player signs a multi-million dollar contract extension, maybe Roger Goodell starts a bounty on a player who smoked pot, but all in all, its a very boring time of year in June and early July. Training camp doesn’t start until late July followed by the preseason but its that time of year where fans begin to question whether or not their team has enough to make a playoffs run or more importantly, a Super Bowl run.
Can the Eagles make a playoff run? My gut says yes. A Super Bowl run? Most likely not. But there’s a lot of reason for optimism with this team. I had my concerns with Howie Roseman as a talent analyzer but he really surprised me in a good way with how well he shaped this roster. First, he added two veteran receivers for Carson Went to grow with; Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Jeffery is your number one receiver, playing on a “prove it” contract, while Smith is looking to rebound after a few down years in San Francisco. Roseman also made a splash in signing veteran running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount is a forced to be reckoned with, with his 250lb. frame and his ability to pound the ball on short yardage situations as well as goal line situations. Blount, with smaller and speedier backs like Darren Sproles and rookie Donnell Pumphrey, will really give Carson Wentz a ton of versatility in the backfield which really cost the Eagles a year ago.
As for the defense, Roseman traded for defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan after losing Bennie Logan in free agency. Pro Football Focus has Jernigan listed as one of the best interior run defenders in the league. Jernigan will need to improve on his pass rushing ability but paying alongside Fletcher Cox should open up the opportunities for him to make his impact. The Birds also added defensive end Chris Long. Long is no Reggie White, but he’s a veteran who can compete and will push some of the vets on the line as well as incumbent rookie Derek Barnett who really impressed in mini camp. Roseman also did his due diligence in bolstering the secondary with the addition of Patrick Robinson in free agency and drafting Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones respectively, in the draft. It’s unclear whether or not Jones will be healthy enough to play this season, but Douglas and second year man Jalen Mills should immediately boost what was a joke of a unit a year ago.
With all of that in place, yes, the Eagles have a much better core of players heading into 2017. It will be just as interesting to see how Head Coach Doug Pederson fairs in his second year at the helm. Howie Roseman has done his part in getting the necessary reinforcements for the Eagles and surrounding Carson Wentz with solid talent and talent that wants to play here longterm. The key will be staying healthy but right now, the Eagles, as I see it, have enough to at least secure a wild card spot come January.
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