The Philadelphia Eagles have an extended method to go to compete for a championship regardless of reaching the playoffs.
There’s a big hole between the Eagles (9-9) and groups that superior previous the wild-card spherical. That was fairly evident when the defending Tremendous Bowl champion Buccaneers (14-4) cruised to a 31-15 victory over Philadelphia that wasn’t almost as shut because the rating.
The Eagles confirmed important enchancment underneath rookie coach Nick Sirianni following a 4-11-1 season in 2020. They began 2-5 however received seven of the following 9 to safe a playoff berth.
Nevertheless, all of Philadelphia’s wins besides one over New Orleans (9-8) got here towards groups with shedding data. The Eagles completed 0-7 vs. playoff groups.
“The objective is rarely simply to get to the playoffs,” Sirianni mentioned. “The objective is to get in and do some harm in there. That was all people’s mindset. We had been assured coming in, and that was our mindset that we had been going to try this. And every time it doesn’t go as deliberate and the season ends within the playoffs, it’s even more durable as a result of then it’s simply over. …
“There might be adjustments. By no means does a crew look precisely the identical because it did the yr earlier than. I simply assume it’s a particular group of fellows and also you’re unhappy as a result of the journey is over and hopefully you get as lots of these particular guys again as you may, as a result of the entire group is particular.”
Determining if Jalen Hurts can be the crew’s beginning quarterback of the long run was among the many prime priorities this season. Following his dismal efficiency towards Tampa, questions nonetheless stay.
Hurts threw for 3,166 yards and 16 TDs with 9 interceptions, finishing 61.3% of his passes in 15 begins within the common season. He additionally led the crew with 784 yards speeding and 10 TDs.
He improved as a pocket passer, a call maker, and made many strides in his second yr within the league and first as a full-time starter. However he couldn’t erase doubts about his potential to win video games along with his arm.
Sirianni gave Hurts a robust endorsement after the loss to the Buccaneers. He wasn’t going to say in any other case.
The Eagles have three first-round picks in April’s draft and have proven loads of curiosity in Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson prior to now.
They’ve choices. They might pursue a confirmed quarterback or they might choose one within the draft. In addition they have Gardner Minshew underneath contract and will permit him to compete with Hurts subsequent season. Or, they might construct round Hurts and provides him one other full season to develop.
Since his freshman yr at Alabama, Hurts hasn’t had the identical offensive coordinator two years in a row.
“Yearly, I’ve had a distinct play caller, yearly I’ve had all these completely different adjustments,” he mentioned. “I’ve had a lot I’ve to regulate to. To have some consistency … would do us an enormous profit in that facet.”
The Eagles have an underwhelming record of potential free brokers, together with security Rodney McLeod, cornerback Steven Nelson and defensive finish Derek Barnett, a 2017 first-round choose who didn’t reside as much as expectations.
The crew may determine to unencumber extra wage cap house by shifting on from a number of veterans, together with defensive sort out Fletcher Cox, defensive finish Brandon Graham and proper guard Brandon Brooks. Graham performed two video games this season and Brooks performed two video games over the previous two seasons.
Cox, a six-time Professional Bowl choose, had simply 3 1/2 sacks. In 2022, Cox will earn a base wage of $1.12 million and a roster bonus of $1 million. Due to a number of restructures alongside the way in which, he might be carrying a cap hit of almost $15 million and a useless cap worth of just about $41 million.
“I’m pleased the place I’m proper now,” Cox mentioned, declining to debate his contract state of affairs.
4-time All-Professional heart Jason Kelce may determine to retire. He’s contemplated retirement a number of instances in recent times.
Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has interviews with three groups for head teaching vacancies, so the Eagles must fill his function if he strikes on. His protection had success within the second half of the season towards mediocre quarterbacks however struggled towards prime QBs similar to Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr.
Total, Philadelphia’s protection completed tenth in yards allowed and 18th in factors allowed.
2021 first-round choose DeVonta Smith fulfilled expectations together with rookie guard Landon Dickerson. The Eagles have younger playmakers in Smith, operating again Miles Sanders and tight finish Dallas Goedert, and youth on the left aspect of the offensive line with Dickerson and left sort out Jordan Mailata.
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