Eagles Mailbag

Three. More. Days.

As the clock winds down on what feels like the longest offseason in history, I thought it would be a good idea to open things up for some questions. On Tuesday, my new boss Kyle and I both asked for some of your Eagles related questions. I picked the best ones and tried to answer as many as possible.

Let’s hit it!

If Smallwood is able to stay healthy, he will most definitely finish with more carries. By all accounts, Smallwood has been the most explosive runner on the roster throughout training camp, and I think that the coaching staff will give him every opportunity to take control of this backfield. Barring injury to one of the three backs in front of him, Clement will probably find it difficult to make the active gameday roster on Sundays. Even if Smallwood were to get injured, the most likely scenario would be for Sproles and Blount to assume more of the workload, leaving a smaller piece of the pie for Clement.

Good question. I’ll go with Smallwood. As I mentioned in the question above, the coaching staff is really hoping Smallwood can take a step forward and take on a larger role. I think they’d prefer to use Blount more situationally (short yardage, goal line, closing out games). The next most likely is probably Barnett. But regardless of who jumps out ahead in that competition, the snaps will probably be divided pretty evenly. Mack Hollins should also get his fair share of snaps, but I don’t think they will all come at the expense of Agholor. I envision him being moved all over the formation.

Kelce has a longer leash than most think. He was the topic of offseason trade rumors, but that was probably more due to salary cap reasons. Kelce definitely has issues with bigger, stronger defensive tackles and the occasional air ball, but he is one of the smartest players on the field and takes a lot of pre-snap pressure off of Wentz. He also may be the best offensive lineman in the league when it comes to getting out and attacking defenders in space. This is something that gives this offensive line, which is primarily made up of large mauler types, the flexibility to be more multi-faceted in the run game and keep defenses on their toes. I don’t think the coaches are in any hurry to take him off the field.

The Wentz-Alshon connection may take some time, so don’t panic if Jeffery doesn’t jump out of the gates putting up monster numbers. The rapport between a quarterback and receiver has to be built over time through live game repetitions. The important thing is that they don’t try to force it and just let it come naturally. I touched on the running backs above, but I’d expect Sproles’ role to be similar to last year (3rd down, passing and hurry-up situations). Outside of Sproles, I think the coaching staff would love it if Smallwood could handle the majority of everything else and limit Blount to short-yardage and goal line.

As for Barnett, I’d expect a pretty even rotation. it may start out with Curry having a 60-40 or 65-35 advantage in snaps, but as the season goes on, I’d expect that to even out as Barnett gets his legs under him.

Next year will be another very good running back class and I think the Eagles will prioritize getting a good player at the position. The question will be, how much do they prioritize it given that they don’t have a 2nd or 3rd round pick? Despite the notion that the organization doesn’t like to spend a ton of draft capital on the position, I don’t think they are directly opposed to it. One good running back could have an immediate and major impact on this offense and really take a ton of pressure off of Wentz (seeing how Dak Prescott does potentially without Ezekiel Elliott for a long stretch of games this year will be a solid case study in this dynamic). You have a point, though. Linebacker and safety are quickly becoming an area of need. Particularly when you consider that Nigel Bradham may price himself out of Philadelphia with another good year, and Malcolm Jenkins will be 30 years old next season.

My bet would be on Sidney Jones not playing this season. The Darby trade seems to have made a big difference in this secondary. At this point, the secondary might be just good enough to keep Roseman and the coaching staff from potentially bringing Jones back too soon. Personally, there is no way I would play Jones this year. There is just too much to learn and adapt to as a rookie. Making that transition, while still gaining confidence in your Achilles, adds another completely unnecessary level of complexity to an already difficult task.

As for the overall defense, it is easily better than Dallas or Washington. I’d also say the Eagles’ defense has a higher ceiling than the Giants’ defense, even if both are built to play with a lead. I will say, though, if the Eagles can consistently find a way to build a lead, this defense could end up being one of the best in the league. That pass rush will destroy things.

Interesting theory, but I actually think it is more likely that Bill Belichick did this. As he does to all players who leave New England.


6 Responses

  1. 3 more days baby!!!


    Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory
    Fly Eagles fly, score a touchdown 1,2,3
    Hit them low, hit them high and
    Watch those Eagles fly
    Fly Eagles fly on the road to victory
    E A G L E S

    1. Thanks Jeff. Yes, I typically offer my records up with the caveat that the only difference between a 6-10 or 10-6 team is the direction a few fumbles roll. Having said that, they all pretty much rolled the other way last year for the Eagles. This year, I’ll go with 10-6. Team is improved and hopefully the luck factor will change a bit

      1. wow you are more optimistic than I am. Thinking 8-8. Went thru schedule last night–it’s tough

  2. Kyle uses Twitter to ask people for podcast topics. Kyle asks people for questions to answer on the site. Kyle even asks people who to hire for his “new” site. Kyle, you aren’t reinventing the wheel. You are merely imitating the worst aspects of sports talk radio in this city. Within weeks you will be publishing pieces on here with “exclusive” poll questions.

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