We are nearly three months into the 2017 fiscal year for the National Football League. It’s safe to say we have seen plenty of player movement via free agency and trades. And in late April, a total of 253 players were selected in the NFL draft. So as teams get ready for mini-camps and OTAs, we figured it was a good time to have some fun looking (and learning) at the significant numbers – both in regards to the past and the present – for each of the 32 franchises. You can play catch-up by clicking here. Now it’s time to check out the Philadelphia Eagles.
Off to a 3-0 start, Doug Pederson’s Philadelphia Eagles were one of the early stories of the 2016 season. Their three victories were by a combined score of 92-27 and included a 34-3 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. But the early success proved to be a mirage as the Birds won only four times in their final 13 contests. The team’s offense tailed off considerably after its undefeated start. In their early wins, the Eagles’ offense produced 10 touchdowns. But this same unit managed to reach the end zone only 22 times during the club’s 4-9 finish.
During that aforementioned 3-0 start, many marveled at the play of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. You will recall that Sam Bradford was slated to be the starter instead of the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Wentz saw little action leading up to the beginning of the season. Then Bradford was dealt to the Minnesota Vikings.
Still, Wentz looked pretty solid early as he and the Eagles committed zero turnovers during that unbeaten start. But the young signal-caller was brought back to earth a bit. After throwing five TD passes and no picks in three straight wins, Wentz threw for 11 scores but also committed 17 of the team’s 20 turnovers in those final 13 outings. Of course, the additions of wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to pair with Jordan Matthews is a big plus. And the signing of running back LeGarrette Blount should take some heat off Wentz as well.
There are still some issues to deal with. But year one of the Jim Schwartz Era with the Philadelphia Eagles was indeed a success. In 2015, the Birds finished 30th in the league in total defense, dead last against the run and 28th vs. the pass. Under their new defensive coordinator, the team ranked 13th in the NFL in both total yards and passing yards allowed per game. The team also improved to 15th in the league in rushing defense.
There’s defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, linebacker Jordan Hicks and safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. And they are now joined by defensive ends Chris Long and Derek Barnett (the team’s first-round pick in 2017), cornerback Patrick Robinson and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. The latter came from the Baltimore Ravens via trade.