In the terribly slow period between the end of the NBA playoffs and the beginning of training camp (especially if your MLB team is making the argument for English Premier League relegation to be implemented), stories of conjecture and speculation are abound. I’m looking to further this, and jump head first into potential problems that could make or break the birds this year:
1. Can the defensive line create enough of a pass rush to atone for the cornerback play?
This is a catch 22. Jim Schwartz blitzes at a rate far lower than the league average. If the Eagles are matched against a team able to withstand pressure from our front four, will Schwartz adjust, or will he let the young cornerbacks play in a trial by fire?
2. Will the improved weapons and a full training camp as a starter lead Carson Wentz’s growth?
On the outside, this appears to be a yes. However, Carson has limited time with a bunch of new weapons (Jeffrey, Pumphrey, Smith for starters). It make take a few weeks to gel, and we may see an improving product as the season moves forward. We may not see more wins, we may not see improved stats (although we might, and I hope we will), but that may not mean that Wentz is not developing as a quarterback. The schedule appears to be extremely tough this year.
3. Will the division be as strong as advertised?
The NFC East is touted as one of the best top to bottom divisions. Each team, however, has question marks. Will Dallas thrive this year as the king of the hill rather than a young upstart? Will Eli Manning at age 36, continue to put up above average numbers? Can Kirk Cousins and the Redskins survive the loss of Desean Jackson (whose value exceeds individual numbers, it’s the attention defenses must pay to him)? Will the Eagles defense be good enough give them a chance on a week to week basis? Will the east thrive against other divisions? My guess is yes, these teams are pretty talented. The team with the best divisional record will have a distinct advantage when vying for playoff positions.
The green colored glasses are out, as many fans are drinking the Kool-Aid at this juncture. Major injuries aside, I see the Eagles winning 9-10 games and in the playoff hunt.