The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a very exciting offseason. The roster is upgraded, the coaches have a year of experience under their belt, and the division is relatively weak. Here are five reasons to be optimistic about the Eagles this upcoming season.
5. The Eagles Made The Playoffs Last Year
The Eagles made the playoffs in 2021 even with a first-year head coach in Nick Sirianni. After a sluggish 2-5 start, the Eagles put together a late season winning streak to finish with a 9-8 record. This enabled the Eagles to clinch a 7th seed which was the final wild card spot in the recently expanded playoffs.
The Eagles did not beat a single team with a winning record in 2021 which is impressive they even got to the playoffs. With it being Nick Sirianni’s first year as a head coach and Jalen Hurts’ first year as a full-time starter, the Eagles overperformed in 2021. This leaves plenty of optimism going into 2022. The NFC East with the exception of the Dallas Cowboys is expected to be relatively weak this year.
4. The Eagles Have A.J. Brown
Philadelphia has lacked a true number one receiver since the departure of Terrell Owens over 15 years ago. While fans still have not seen Brown on the field, he should be a major threat to opposing defenses. He gives Hurts a reliable option and has the numbers to prove it. Brown recorded 1,000-yard seasons in two out of his three years as a Tennessee Titan.
Look for A.J. Brown to provide a huge boost for the offense. He will get a lot of targets but will also open up the field for the Eagles’ other receivers. Guys like Devonta Smith, Quez Watkins, and Dallas Goedert should benefit from the increased attention Brown will receive from opposing defenses.
3. The Eagles Defensive Line Is Back
The Jim Schwartz led Eagles defenses always had dominate defensive lines. Last year was a down year in part due to the Eagles defense learning a new scheme under Jonathan Gannon and DE Brandon Graham missing most of the season due to injury.
The 2021 Eagles defense failed to generate pressure and turnovers. Philadelphia ranked second to last in the entire NFL in number of sacks. Brandon Graham will be back alongside Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Josh Sweat. Also, Georgia nose tackle Jordan Davis was added in the draft and is having an excellent camp. Expect the defensive line to dominate again like years past.
2. The Eagles Improved Their Secondary
It was tough watching the Eagles secondary play in 2021. Opposing quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, and Patrick Mahomes had easy days against the Eagles defense and put up a lot of points. This should change in 2022 with the addition of cornerback James Bradberry and safety Jaquiski Tartt. Both players are experienced and are upgrades over what the Eagles had last season.
The Eagles will also have cornerback Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox returning. Slay had a pro-bowl season in 2021 and a team high three interceptions. Expect opposing wide receivers to have a more difficult time against the cornerback duo of Slay and Bradberry with Maddox in the slot.
1. Eagles’ QB Jalen Hurts Is Expected To Improve
Jalen Hurts had a respectable 2021 season. He threw for over 3,000 yards and added a team high 784 yards on the ground. Hurts threw for 16 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. His accuracy improved from his rookie season but was still just 61 percent. With an upgraded receiver corps and another offseason of work, Hurts’ accuracy should improve in 2022.
Initial training camp reports around Hurts’ development have been positive. He has made some tough throws and is using the middle of the field more. Hopefully this translates into success in the regular season.