Enemy Intel - Philadelphia Eagles
In one week, the Washington Football Team will host the Philadelphia Eagles for their first home game of the season.
And like many of you, I’m ready for some football. It’s been a long offseason full of drama, upheaval among the organization, and just an overall mess. Now we are finally getting to the game we know and love, and Sundays will feel normal again.
That being said, with the lack of a preseason, there is a lot of uncertainty around the league and the average fan may not be attune to what opposing teams have been up to. No need to worry, for the team at Washington Football at SI.com got you.
Take a look at our first installment of the Enemy Intel series, where I take an in-depth look at Washington’s opponents, so you don’t have to. I will look at projected win totals, dig in to key losses/additions and find key quotes that relate to the Washington Football Team.
Hope you enjoy it.
Vegas Projected Wins: 9.5
2019 Record: 9-7, 1st in the NFC East
Offensive Ranks, 2019: 11th Passing, 11th Rushing, 14th Overall
Defensive Ranks, 2019: 19th Passing, 3rd Rushing, 10th overall
Key Additions: CB Darius Slay, WR Marquise Goodwin, DL Javon Hargrave, WR Jalen Reagor, QB Jalen Hurts
Key Losses: LB Nigel Bradham, S Malcolm Jenkins, G Brandon Brooks (PUP/Achilles), T Andre Dillard (Injured Reserve/Biceps)
What they are saying:
Eagles Linebacker Nate Gerry on Dwayne Haskins being named starter, per The Philadelphia Inquirer:
“I know last year he made a lot of pretty big [third-down] conversions,” Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry said. “I know he ran a speed option on us one time ... and took it for a big gain. So we know he’s mobile when it comes to him in the pocket and him out of the pocket. He didn’t really have much experience going into the beginning of the year. But toward the end, you can see when you watch tape he got better when it comes to making the right reads and even throwing on the run. We got our hands full when it comes to being prepared for him.”
- Defensive tackle Malik Jackson is making a name for himself again, after spending most of last season on injured reserve. He was a notable free agent acquisition in 2018, but only played one half of football due to a Lisfranc injury. According to reports, he has had a standout camp as free agent addition Javon Hargrave has been sidelined with a strained pectoral muscle. The Eagles believe their defensive line is as good as anyone in the league with Hargrave, Jackson and Fletcher Cox as their centerpieces.
- Defensive end Josh Sweat has also shined this offseason. In an intersquad scrimmage last week, Sweat proved dominant and stood out while Derek Barnett has been nursing a sprained ankle. Sweat will now enter his third season, after posting up four sacks as a sophomore last year. The former Florida State product may have secured a starting role in the Eagles lineup, and at worst, adds to a potent rotation.
- JJ Arcega-Whiteside is beginning to bloom during his second season. The 2019 second round pick has made several plays during camp, and has lined up as the starting X Receiver. There were concerns last season that he may have been overdrafted, and may not develop into a true starting receiver. But he has dispelled those beliefs with a strong off-season. Reports have said that he has reshaped his body, and looks much more fluid on the field. He has also shined particularly in the Red Zone during practice.
- Quarterback Carson Wentz has showed up on the injury report, for a vague soft tissue injury in his lower body. Head Coach Doug Pederson doesn’t seem concerned though. In a recent interview, Pederson shared that Wentz will be “good to go” for Week 1, and that in a typical season, Wentz would be resting anyway. Remember, in a normal year we would have just concluded week four of the preseason, where starters rarely play.
The Eagles have had a rash of injuries this offseason, and it has raised many eyebrows in the city of Brotherly Love. No position group has been affected more than the offensive line. Two of their starters, guard Brandon Brooks and tackle Andre Dillard, are out indefinitely. And as a result, the team looks to second year man Matt Pryor to step in at left tackle. Reports from training camp is that he is struggling. The team also re-signed Jason Peters, but he will move to right guard. The 38 year-old considered retirement this offseason.
In addition to a weak offensive line, the Eagles also have a void at the linebacker and safety position. The team elected to let Nigel Bradham and team leader Malcolm Jenkins go this offseason. Jenkins is known for being one of the most vocal leaders in the NFL, and now he resides in New Orleans. His leadership in the locker room and on the backend will be missed.
Safety Will Parks was set to replace him, and has been used in a variety of ways in Philly’s training camp. He has lined up as the slot, dime backer, and even out at corner. However, he too is also struggling to stay healthy. In fact, he is doubtful for Week 1 against Washington.
Despite all of this, I still believe Philadelphia is primed for a strong season. With an offseason of uncertainty, the Eagles are the only team in the NFC East to maintain consistency at the head coach and quarterback position. And this should favor them earlier in the season as other teams struggle to find chemistry. Wentz has had the benefit of one offensive system his entire career, and now enters year five. The team’s offense should hit the ground running week one.
Altogether, the Eagles should contend for the divisional crown this season, or at worst, vy for a Wild Card spot. I think the Vegas line is correct, and they should hover around 9-10 wins.
George Carmi joined "Washington Football" on SI.com in April. He is also an editor/contributing writer to FullPressCoverage.com or @FPC_Redskins. He is a native of the DC metropolitan area and is an avid fan of DC Sports. A former journalism major at the University of Maryland, his focus is now in public education. His earliest memories consist of Darrell Green, "The Posse" and Super Bowl XXVI. Follow him on twitter @Gcarmi21