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Packers-Eagles Preview: Breaking down Philadelphia’s offseason changes

The Packers open up their preseason with an opposing team that has a lot of different weapons on offense this year compared to last.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers went through plenty of changes this offseason, and their new additions are currently preparing to suit up in the Green and Gold for the first time on Thursday. That’s when the team has its preseason opener, hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in both teams’ first preseason games of 2017.

The Eagles went through plenty of changes as well this offseason, signing a number of notable players in free agency. Philadelphia had one of the league’s worst wide receiver units a season ago and a cornerback unit that struggled as well, and the team took steps to improve both groups this offseason.

At quarterback, Carson Wentz still looks to be the starter under center this season, but the Eagles brought back former starter Nick Foles as his backup.

The Packers and Eagles played last year in week 12, which was the first win of the Packers’ six-game winning streak to close out the regular season. Green Bay won 27-13, as Davante Adams caught two touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers.

Here’s a look at the offseason in Philly, with information provided by our colleagues over at Bleeding Green Nation.

Philadelphia Eagles’ Offseason

Notable free agent additions: WR Alshon Jeffery, WR Torrey Smith, RB LeGarrette Blount, DE Chris Long, CB Patrick Robinson, OG Chance Warmack, QB Nick Foles

Notable free agent departures: DT Bennie Logan, CB Nolan Carroll, DE Connor Barwin (released), CB Leodis McKelvin (released), QB Chase Daniel (released)

Trades: Acquired DT Timmy Jernigan and pick No. 99 from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for pick No. 74

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies: First round pick Derek Barnett will be a key part of the Eagles’ pass rush rotation. Sidney Jones will potentially miss his entire rookie season as he recovers from an Achilles injury. Rasul Douglas could challenge for a starting role at cornerback. Donnel Pumphrey is expected to be a significant role player on offense.

Biggest offseason addition: Alshon Jeffery is easily the biggest addition Philadelphia made this offseason. The Eagles arguably owned the NFL’s worst wide receiving corps last year. Carson Wentz desperately needed a legitimate No. 1 target and the Eagles gave him one by signing Jeffery.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp: Will Carson Wentz step up in Year 2? The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft showed promise as a rookie but he also went through some struggles. Now that he has a year under his belt and an improved supporting cast, the hope is Wentz can lead the Eagles back to the playoffs.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Is Doug Pederson the right head coach for this team? Not unlike Wentz, Pederson was up and down in his first year on job. He seemed to do an overall decent job given the lack of talent he had to work with. Now the excuses are gone and the team needs to improve in his second year.

Notable injuries heading into training camp: Second round pick Sidney Jones is recovering from an Achilles injury and could potentially miss the entire 2017 season. Starting slot receiver Jordan Matthews missed most of spring practices due to lingering knee tendinitis. Backup defensive tackle Beau Allen suffered a pectoral injury in February. It’s unclear if he’ll be ready by Week 1.