What the Eagles needed to do was add some depth behind their star players. Everyone knows that the Eagles go about their offense at a fast pace. In 2013, the Eagles were dead last in time of possession, with an average of 26 minutes and 19 seconds per game on offense. Their defense is out on the field more than any other defense in the league, and that's where the fatigue factor comes into play. If the Eagles need to make a huge defensive stop late in the game, it's easier to do so when Chip gets more guys involved on defense early in the game so the stars can go out there and make plays at the end.
Philly addressed that need early on in the draft by drafting Marcus Smith out of Louisville. Smith's best ability is getting to the quarterback, and you can never have enough pass rush in today's NFL. The Eagles added some versatility in the secondary both in the draft and through free agency. Cornerback Jaylen Watkins was considered a steal in the fourth round and can come in and play at the cornerback or safety position when needed. Malcolm Jenkins was a key addition through free agency, as the Eagles looked to shore up any holes in the secondary this offseason. Jenkins only had 2 interceptions last season, but he is a very good tackler for his position and comes at a much cheaper price tag than star safeties like Jairus Byrd would have been.
Even the offense took a step forward this offseason. Even with Shady in the backfield, the Eagles went out and traded for Darren Sproles. The trade cost the Eagles next to nothing and gave them a dangerous short passing threat. After quite a few successful season in New Orleans and San Diego, Sproles should be able to come in and immediately put up some gaudy numbers for Philly. Fine, I'll address the elephant in the room and mention that the Eagles lost DeSean Jackson a few months ago. Even though he was a headache in the locker room, he still put up some good numbers on the field. While Sproles can duplicate some of that production, the Eagles knew they had to go out and draft someone at the wide receiver position. Luckily for them, the 2014 drafted was incredibly loaded at that position and the Eagles were able to draft Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews in the second round and Oregon receiver Josh Huff in the fourth round. Huff played under Chip back at Oregon a couple of seasons ago and should be able to easily assimilate himself into the offense relatively quickly for a rookie. Matthews should be an absolute stud. He's been impressive in camp and picks up a lot of yards after the catch because of how hard he runs with the ball.
The most important part of offensive line play is to establish continuity and chemistry amongst all five guys. The suspension of Lane Johnson will be felt in the first four games of the season, but Barbre has been around for years and should be good in the short run for Philly. With Mathis, Herremans, Kelce and Peters on the front line, the Eagles have one of the best lines in the league as it is. Getting Lane Johnson back and ready to go as quick as possible after the suspension should only benefit the rest of the squad.
It's only been one week, but hopes are sky high and confidence is being shown from everyone on the team. All they have to do is cut down on the inner squad fights and the Eagles should be ready to go when Jacksonville rolls into town September 7th.
By: Dan Goggin
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