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Eagles rookie storylines entering the Chargers game

Week 9 preview.

Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Eagles are coming off a big win over the Detroit Lions and looking to carry that momentum into Sunday’s game against a much more competent Los Angeles Chargers team. The beatdown in Motown hopefully inspired confidence in the team’s younger players, because they will need it to face LA.

Can the team use DeVonta Smith correctly?

The Eagles drafted DeVonta Smith tenth overall to be the leader of their young receiving corps. The results, so far, have been up and down. A big part of that is how strange their usage of the former Heisman winner has been.

DeVonta Smith showed his whole college career that he is a polished wide receiver that can win at every level of the field. In the NFL, he has shown that same thing. Why then does the team insist on using him on gimmicky, low upside passing plays that cap what he can do. It feels like they’re not designing targets for him, so much as they’re designing completions for Jalen Hurts. However, we all know the offense looks at it’s best when the passing game isn’t limited by high school play calling and that goes for Smith as well. Smith is a very good player. Against a tough LA secondary, let’s hope the Eagles treat him like one.

Let Landon Move Downhill.

Landon Dickerson kicked ass against Detroit last week. Sure, it was a weak opponent, but it was refreshing to watch the young guard look aggressive, confident and dominant at times.

The Chargers defense is far tougher than Detroit, with some players in their front seven who will test Dickerson and the rest of the offensive line. The Eagles staff hopefully learned last week the value in a consistently running the ball and let Dickerson and the rest of the line pave the way for the Eagles ground game.

Milton Williams. Playmaker?

Similar to Landon Dickerson, Milton Williams broke out last week against the Lions’ shoddy linemen. The defensive tackle looked like a legit playmaker against the pass and running game.

The Chargers’ line and whole offense is far more competent than what they got up in Detroit, so it will not be as easy going for the rookie defender. However, it will be encouraging to keep seeing flashes of that disruptive player we got a glimpse of last Sunday.

Will Kenneth Gainwell’s role change?

There was significant hope that Kenneth Gainwell would get a huge opportunity last week against the Lions, but instead the team ran by committee with Gainwell, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard and Jalen Hurts. It was surprising, but it did work. Even with the, say, democratized workload of the ground game, Gainwell still carried the ball 12 times. The problem was that his playing time mostly came in garbage time.

The Chargers have been susceptible to big plays in the run game and if the Eagles are going to get it from anyone, it will be Kenny G. Hopefully he can maximize his touches against LA and add some spark to the ground game.

Can Tarron Jackson keep getting on the field?

Tarron Jackson played in relief of the starters against Detroit and looked really good! Context is important, but Jackson has been getting some snaps every week and maybe big plays in Detroit has the staff thinking he should have a bigger role in the offense.Jackson is not a dynamic player, but his high motor and consistent technique can be very effective. We’ll see what kind of looks Jonathan Gannon throws at LA, but maybe Jackson gets some meaningful playing time.

The Legend of Jack Stoll

Jack Stoll was a big factor in the win against the Lions. The rookie tight end was crucial in the ground game with his blocking all game. If the Eagles are committed to being a running team from here on out (please, god), Stoll will continue to see playing time as an extra blocker. Maybe he will even catch some more passes!