Last season, the Green Bay Packers played at Lambeau Field on Thanksgiving night and then had another Thursday night game one week later in Detroit. This week, the Packers will instead travel the week of Thanksgiving and will play on Monday Night. Their opponent? The Philadelphia Eagles.
Philly finished last season at 7-9, two games behind Washington in the NFC East. They did so with an offense that was slightly above-average (13th in points and 12th in yards) but a defense that was abysmal; the Eagles were fifth-worst in points and passing yards allowed, third-worst in total yards allowed, and dead last in rushing yards allowed.
Much of those defensive struggles have been blamed on Chip Kelly’s style of play, which resulted in the Eagles having the least time of possession in the NFL. That of course tires out a defense, and can contribute to these problems. With Kelly gone and former Packers backup quarterback Doug Pederson now coaching the team, look for the Eagles to run a more traditional offense, which should help the defensive numbers improve.
Here’s a look at the Eagles’ offseason from the folks at SB Nation’s Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation.
Notable free agent additions
S Rodney McLeod, OG Brandon Brooks, CB Leodis McKelvin, WR Rueben Randle, WR Chris Givens, QB Chase Daniel, OL Stefen Wisniewski, CB Ron Brooks, LB Nigel Bradham
Notable free agent departures
DE Cedric Thornton, DB Walter Thurmond (retired)
- RB DeMarco Murray and Eagles 2016 fourth round pick (No. 113) sent to the Titans in exchange for Tennessee's fourth round pick (No. 100)
- CB Byron Maxwell, LB Kiko Alonso, and Eagles first round pick (No. 13) to the Dolphins in exchange for Miami's first round pick (No. 8)
- QB Mark Sanchez to the Broncos in exchange for Denver's (conditional) 6th round pick in 2017
- Eagles trade 2016 first round pick from Miami (No. 8), 2016 third round pick (No. 77), 2016 fourth round pick (No. 100), 2017 first round pick, 2018 second round pick in exchange for Browns 2016 first round pick (No. 2) and 2017 fourth round pick
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies
R1 - QB Carson Wentz - There’s a non-zero chance Wentz could outplay Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel this summer, but it’s more likely he’ll spend his rookie season on the bench.
R3 - OL Isaac Seumalo - The versatile Seumalo is competing for an opportunity to start at left guard. Veteran Allen Barbre is considered the favorite for now.
R5 - RB Wendell Smallwood - Philadelphia plans to use a running back by committee. Smallwood is likely stuck behind the injury-prone Ryan Mathews and 33-year-old Darren Sproles on the depth chart, but he’ll get some regular playing time.
R5 - OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai - Likely won’t play much in 2016 unless there are a lot of offensive line injuries.
R6 - S Blake Countess - The backup safety doesn’t seem to be primed for much playing time this season.
R7 - CB Jalen Mills - Could potentially earn a job as a starting cornerback on the outside. More likely to contribute in nickel and dime packages.
R7 - DE Alex McCalister - Might not make the team, could be practice squad material.
R7 - ILB Joe Walker - The Eagles are thin at linebacker. Special teams contributor.
Biggest offseason addition
The Eagles’ decision to trade up and select Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft will ultimately define this offseason. Philadelphia believes Wentz is their franchise quarterback of the future. The team is planning for him to sit behind Bradford and Daniel as a rookie before likely taking over as the starter in 2017.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp
The Eagles have been upfront about their quarterback plan: Sam Bradford is the starter, Chase Daniel is the backup, and Carson Wentz is the third string guy for now. But maybe that could change depending on how the quarterbacks perform this summer. Could Bradford lose his job if he struggles? Can Bradford stay healthy? Can Daniel make a run at the starting job? Can Wentz look so impressive that he forces the Eagles to abandon their plan and get him on the field sooner than anticipated?
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp
The Eagles generally lack talent on offense, but the wide receiver position is especially questionable. Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor, who mightily struggled as a rookie, is facing sexual assault allegations. No one knows what to make of his situation. Slot receiver Jordan Matthews appears to be the Eagles’ only reliable pass catcher, and even he’s struggled with drops in the past. Philadelphia took a flier on the likes of Rueben Randle and Chris Givens to see if they can bring anything to the table.
Notable injuries heading into training camp