The Eagles went 9-8 in Nick Sirianni's first year as a Head Coach. For some, it was a somewhat successful season, as they rebounded from a tough 2-5 start and discovered their run-heavy identity to land themselves in the final Wild Card spot before losing to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. They now head into the 2022-2023 season in a weak division with a strong roster and playoff run aspirations and a good Quarterback on a rookie deal, will they be in the chase for the Lombardi trophy? I've analyzed their roster, schedule, and many other factors, here are my thoughts:
Depth Chart Strengths
Offensive Line: Headlined by names like Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Jordan Mailata, not only is this group stacked, but the 2nd-unit has high-quality players as well. For a team that wants to run the football and base themselves on RPOs, a strong offensive line is necessary, and Philadelphia has one of the best in the league.
Top Four Wide Receivers: With the addition of AJ Brown and the rise of Devonta Smith, this offense definitely has the deep threats to worry any secondary, if Zach Paschal can produce like a WR3/4 and Quez Watkins continues to surprise opposing secondaries, that is a pretty strong top end of the pass-catching crew. In terms of the depth in that room, it may be a little slim, but remember this is a run-heavy offense in an RPO system, it would be a rare occurrence to see all four on the field.
Running Back Committee: Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, and Kennedy Brooks are all solid backs and will be running behind a phenomenal offensive line as previously mentioned. Last season they took quite a few weeks to figure out their identity, this season they know who they are.
Defensive Line: Philadelphia has both sides of the trenches covered, especially defensively. Not only do they carry a NASTY front 4 with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Josh Sweat, but they also have Derek Barnett and newly-drafted Jordan Davis to shore up the depth. Opposing offensive lines will be punished with the talent on this D-Line.
Top Two Cornerbacks: Darius Slay and James Bradberry make quite a pairing and the addition of Bradberry addresses a core issue that the Eagles had in their secondary last season. The secondary is not the best aspect of this team depth-wise, but the guys at the top of the chart will get it done.
Depth Chart Weaknesses
Linebacker Depth: While they did acquire T.J Edwards and draft Nakobe Dean, the linebackers are the 2nd-level defenders against the run and the lack of leadership, as well as experience in that area, does slightly worry me. Nakobe Dean is a huge x-factor for this defense if he is healthy and possibly able to play this season like the Eagles believe he can. If he can step up and take control of that second level with his closing speed and tackling ability, it will help Philadelphia shore up one of their only spots of weakness, but for right now, it remains as such until Dean proves himself.
Cornerback depth: As previously stated, after Slay and Bradberry, there is a large dropoff in talent from the cornerback position. Avonte Maddox is currently the slot corner and while he has shown promise he has also gotten burned quite a few times, especially last season. If Josh Jobe can prove himself in camp, that would be a great sign, but for right now, there is trouble looming around the corner in the secondary if either of the top two guys can't play in a given game.
Coaching Experience: Whether or not you believe Nick Sirianni and his staff are good at their jobs, one cannot deny their lack of experience. The OC, Shane Steichen is in his 3rd season in this position while DC Jonathan Gannon is in his 2nd. This is not a group that has had the opportunity to show us what they're made of when a big game is on the line, and how they prepare and handle those situations can make a major difference in how this team operates come playoff time.
Jalen Hurts: While it may seem obvious that Hurts is a key part of how this team plays this season, there is quite a bit of pressure on him to perform. The Eagles have successfully built an incredibly talented roster around a young Quarterback who is still on his rookie contract, this is a HUGE window of opportunity for the Eagles, and the only thing they are not sure about is whether or not Jalen Hurts is capable of leading a team through a playoff run and possibly to a Super Bowl. If they do not succeed this season, for whatever reason, a large majority of the blame will be placed on his shoulders and it would be foolish to think he does not know that. Diamonds are made of out pressure, we will see what pressure turns Jalen Hurts into this season with no excuses to make.
Nakobe Dean: As previously mentioned, the Linebacker room for the Eagles is arguably the weakest part of their team, and Dean fell to them in the draft because of medical issues, however, there have been statements made by doctors and medical officials in the Eagles organization that believe he still has a chance of playing this season. If he returns and is able to make an impact both on and off the field with that unit and brings an element of leadership, that could shore up one of the few weaknesses of this team and make them even more dangerous.
Team Grades *A higher schedule grade means an easier schedule
Receiving Options: B+
Schedule Predictions: 12-5
Week 1 @ DET: Win Week 10 vs WAS: Win
Week 2 vs MIN: Loss Week 11 @ IND: Loss
Week 3 @ WAS: Win Week 12 vs GB: Win
Week 4 vs JAX: Win Week 13 vs TEN: Win
Week 5 @ ARI: Win Week 14 @ NYG: Loss
Week 6 vs DAL: Win Week 15 @ CHI: Win
Week 7: BYE Week 16 @ DAL: Loss
Week 8: vs PIT: Win Week 17 vs NO: Loss
Week 9 @ HOU: Win Week 18 vs NYG: Win