As a follow up to last week’s BGN Radio episode discussing the top reasons to be excited about the 2020 Philadelphia Eagles, this week’s podcast highlights unexpected developments that could help the team get back to the Super Bowl. The Eagles had a number of things break right for them in 2017, for example:
Carson Wentz broke out, and while that wasn’t super surprising, nobody was thinking of him yet as a potential MVP candidate.
The team really gelled off the field.
All the old guy free agents contributed, like Chris Long, Patrick Robinson, LeGarrette Blount, and others.
Nick Foles caught lightning in a bottle.
Hell, even Nelson Agholor started making plays, and was among the best slot receivers in the NFL.
So, what needs to go right for the Birds this year? You can [CLICK HERE] to listen or use the embedded player below:
Jimmy and I talked through our different ideas but I’ll share three of mine here as a tease for you non-podcast listeners.
1 - Derek Barnett breaks out in a big way
Barnett is a fine starting defensive end. Not terrible, not great, just fine. It’s possible he merely is what he is at this point heading into his fourth NFL season. But for the Eagles’ sake, they better hope that’s not the case. Philly boasted one of the league’s best pass rush units in 2017. They need to get back to being a top notch unit and Barnett taking a big step forward would go a long way towards achieving that goal. There’s reason to believe the 23-year-old can make the leap but he really needs to prove it.
2 - Jalen Reagor provides instant impact
Reagor is the only significant investment the Eagles made at wide receiver this offseason. Maybe at least one of the Marquise Goodwin, John Hightower, or Quez Watkins acquisitions pays immediate dividends but the odds are against that. The odds are also against Reagor being a star from the jump. Per Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic, the median rookie season for first-round wide receivers over the last 10 years is 525 receiving yards. The Eagles are probably going to need more than that from Reagor given their uncertain receiving corps situation. DeSean Jackson might rebound but he’s also turning 34 this season and he’s missed an average of 5.2 games over his last five seasons. There’s still thought that Alshon Jeffery might not even be on the team this year. JJ Arcega-Whiteside could be a bust. Reagor being good from the get go would be a big boost for the Birds.
3 - Carson Wentz improves ball security
Just wanted to take this moment to remind you that Wentz completed 67.6% of his attempts for 1,199 yards (nice 6.9 average), seven touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 100.8 passer rating in four must-win games for the Eagles down the stretch last year. And he did it while playing with a bunch of practice squad players. Hopefully Wentz’s hot streak can carry over. An improved supporting cast — in theory, at least — should help. But Wentz also has to help himself by not being so careless with the ball. The Eagles’ franchise quarterback had 16 fumbles in 16 games last year, which puts him at 48 fumbles in 56 career games played. That’s just too many. Wentz had nine fumbles in 13 games when he was lighting the league on fire in 2017. He’s probably never going to be one of the league’s best at protecting the ball but there needs to be some kind of improvement there.
You can listen to the podcast for the remaining unexpected developments. Jimmy and I also touched on the fallout from George Floyd’s death, some former Eagles trivia, our new sponsor, and more.
What unexpected developments do you think need to go right in 2020?
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