2018-2019 Eagles Preview
Time to Look Forward: Repeat Super Bowl Win?
The Philadelphia Eagles completed their annual offseason organized team activities (OTA) on June 14th. Not only did this occasion officially turn the page on their Super Bowl win, but it marked the beginning of preparations to defend their title in 2018.
The Birds have their work cut out for them as no NFL franchise has repeated as Super Bowl champions since the 2003-2004 Patriots. Although it is a daunting task, there are a number of injured key-starters on the mend that will likely improve the team. These players include: Carson Wentz, Jason Peters, Jordan Hicks, Darren Sproles, and Chris Maragos. With the return of these injured stars in 2018 among various other reasons, there is no reason to doubt that the Eagles can make another Super Bowl run. This article explains why a repeat is feasible.
They Are Never Complacent
Despite beating the best player-coach duo of all time in Brady and Bellichick, the Eagles' "hungry dog" mentally has not changed. From the strong veteran core to the newly acquired talent, it is my belief that every member of this organization knows the dangers of complacency as it has been reiterated by head-coach Doug Pederson.
Repeating as champions has been on Pederson's mind ever since the Super Bowl parade down Broad Street.
"We are not done yet" Pederson said, "We have more to go, more to prove. This is our new norm, to be playing football in February."
On the surface this may sound cleshay, but they have proved to be a resilient group. This was evident on numerous occasion during their 2017 campaign, most notably when Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL in week 14 versus the Rams. This setback could very well could have been their downfall; however, they stuck together and knew it was not good enough to just make it to that point with the best record in football.
If complacency ever crept into the Eagles locker room, they would have never made it past the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional playoff game.
Front Office Personnel Added Strength
Owning the most complete NFL roster in 2017, Howie Roseman and the Eagles added talent to their already strong roster. Most notably, Roseman dealt a fifth round draft pick and back up wide-receiver Marcus Johnson to the Seahawks in exchange for a seventh rounder and defensive-end Michael Bennett.
Make no mistake about it, Bennett--a three-time Pro Bowler-- can still play. Entering his 10th NFL season, he is one of 12 players to record at least five sacks in each of the last six seasons and one of eight defensive lineman to make each of the last three Pro Bowls. This trade proves yet again that Roseman will not rest on last year's success, as he adds Bennett to a front seven that already includes Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Tim Jernigan.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles parted ways with wide-receiver Torrey Smith only to acquire a better talent in former-Raven Mike Wallace. His reported one-year, $4 million contract is $1 million less than the 2018 cap figure of Smith. Since entering the league in 2009, he ranks ninth with 8,072 receiving yards and seventh with 57 touchdown catches.
- Next Gen Stats: Michael Bennett | NFL.com
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who has been one of the most impactful EDGE players, is headed to an already dominant Eagles defense. The Seahawks defense will have a big hole to fill on the EDGE, as they’ve seen quite a drop in their pass ru
In the history of their franchise, the Eagles have won 22 playoff games. Ten of those wins occurred in the 2000-2009 time-frame. Not coincidentally, the Eagles had sustained success in the 2000's because of their stability at quarterback in Donovan McNabb. In fact, before the 2017 season, the Eagles have only won three playoff games with quarterbacks other than Ron Jaworski or McNabb.
Even though Foles was the man to take this team to the promised land, having a top-tier franchise quarterback in Carson Wentz is the recipe for long-term success.
Going beyond the quarterback position, the Eagles have a strong core of players secured for several seasons. On the defensive side of the ball, tackles Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan are signed through 2022 and 2021 receptively, safety Malcolm Jenkins through 2020, linebacker Nigel Bradham through 2023, and end Derek Barnett through 2020.
On the offensive side, Wentz is still on his rookie contract where he is secured through 2020, wide-receiver Alshon Jeffery is signed through 2021, tight-end Zach Ertz through 2021, and every starting offensive lineman for at least the next two seasons.
As for coaching, there will be little turnover heading into the 2018 season. Of course, Doug Pederson is returning for his third season where he sports a 20-12 regular season record with a Super Bowl win in his first two years as head coach.
Offensive coordinator Frank Reich departed to take the head job in Detroit, resulting in the promotion of former wide-receivers coach Mike Groh. As for his defensive counterpart, Jim Schwartz is returning for his third season in Philly. Besides the departure of quarterbacks coach John Defilippo, there are only two new position coaches joining the staff.
Lest we forget the 24 year tenure of owner Jeffery Lurie and the experience of executive vice president Howie Roseman.
Off season acquisitions and the securing of core players surely makes the Birds contenders in 2018. The factor dictating their success is what brought them to win the Super Bowl in the first place, the "hungry dog" mentality. Complacency can be the downfall of this team; however, they are not done yet.