The NFL schedule is out. Everyone is dreaming of a trip to Las Vegas for a Raiders game. Me? I’d love to hit Denver when the Eagles are in town to play the Broncos. Never been. Feels like my vibe. I’m hoping to get a couple of road trips going this year and would love to do some BGN-centric meetups or tailgates like we did back in 2019.
Anyway... time for this week’s mailbag questions:
@matt_burkey: What is the ceiling and floor for the Eagles this season?
Like almost every team in the NFL, it comes down to the guy under center. Is Jalen Hurts the type of guy who can have 400+ yards of total offense and four tuddies when the Eagles need him to carry them? Or is a guy whose accuracy issues will doom him no matter the deep ball he throws or his ability with his legs?
If Hurts establishes himself as the team’s legitimate franchise signal-caller going forward, you could be looking at a situation where he throws for 3,700 yards, gains 700 yards on the ground, and combines for 30+ total touchdowns. DeVonta Smith meshes with Hurts instantly, winning Offensive Rookie of the Year while Jonathan Gannon's defensive scheme maximizes a unit with an unheralded back seven.
The Eagles get off to a surprising 3-0 start, the town falls in love with Nick Sirianni’s personality and they’re even able to steal a win on a short week at home against the defending champion Buccaneers.
The Eagles make the most of a bad division, go 11-6 and win a home playoff game against the Wild Card Seahawks, finally getting one of the devils off this team’s back.
The flip side?
Hurts struggles out of the gate, gets manhandled against a tough San Francisco defense in Week 2, and is in and out of the lineup due to injuries he sustains on runs and scrambles. An 0-4 start has Eagles fans getting their torches and pitchforks ready outside the NovaCare Complex. Joe Flacco comes in late in the season as the Eagles head towards a tanktastic finish. With three first-round picks, the Eagles are hell-bent to find their new QB1 in the offseason.
We're four months away from Hurts having one of the most pivotal seasons in recent memory for the Eagles.
@lwrncjones: Defensive MVP for the team in 2021?
Brandon Graham finally got his first Pro Bowl nod in 2020 during his age-32 season. Is it reasonable to expect him to have the same impact this season while being another year older? A defensive end heavy on power moves like Graham feels like the type of player who can continue to age gracefully.
Can Fletcher Cox regain the All-Pro form that’s been missing the last two seasons? Perhaps a full season of Javon Hargrave opposite him, plus rookie Milton Williams getting a healthy amount of rotational snaps, makes life easier on Cox, as he sees fewer double-teams and stays fresher into December. If Cox wants to continue his path as one of the best defenders in franchise history, he’s going to need another star-caliber season from with the D in a transition year.
@ThisIsJoeMac: Mac & cheese or au gratin potatoes?
I go mac and cheese easily. I’m not a big potato guy. I am a HUGE sweet potato guy though. Mashed, roasted, etc. Doesn’t matter. You can make it a little fancy or have it as a fun backyard BBQ food. Sweet potato fries are undoubtedly my comfort food.
@NegadelphiaNorm: Three parter to keep you on your toes: Keep the (potentially) 3 first-round picks or go after Deshaun Watson? If we do end up going for a QB next draft, who do you have an eye on? If Hurts balls out, what are the next positions to focus on?
I could not be more against acquiring Deshaun Watson. Is he going to be able to play in 2021? Hell, is ever going to be able to play again? The legal situation is still in flux. There’s a morality aspect to it too. Is that type of guy you want to root for? My personal and professional lives are dedicated to the Eagles. Watson is going to be the center of my world? That’s not what this is all about. I get he’s an MVP-caliber player, but I couldn’t be more disheartened as these rumors persist.
If they want to make a play for Russell Wilson, sure, go hog wild and get him. Wilson is my favorite non-Eagle to watch in the league. I’d be all about it.
If the Eagles feel the need to target a quarterback in the 2022 draft, Spencer Rattler out of Oklahoma seems to be the favorite to be the first QB taken. Incredible quarterback name. There’s no way he’s bad in the pros. I’d also keep on Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder. He has tons of starter experience, stands tall at 6’4” and has the type of pocket maneuverability the Eagles seem to be keen on.
If Hurts balls out, I really have my eyes set on Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton. Safety is the most important position in the back seven to me. Hamilton is a transformative presence that Gannon will assuredly love. He may go in the top 10, so the hope would be that the Dolphins suck and gift us the Eagles’ next great safety.
@JohnTCphl: If (when?) Nike did City Series uniforms for NFL, what should the design for the Birds look like?
I think “when” is apt. It’s going to happen. Look at what’s happening in the NBA. They’re printing money with new jerseys every year. I am certainly in the minority, but I liked the concept of the Eagles paying homage to the Philadelphia flag with blue and yellow uniforms. The helmets sucked when they did that though and the Eagles should ALWAYS have wings on their helmet.
I ultimately find it hard for the Eagles to sign off on non-green-based uniforms going forward though. It’s too ingrained in the brand. This is where throwback kelly green uniforms could go into place. One year you could pay tribute to the Ron Jaworski era, another, the 1960 NFL Championship team, or, as most people want, copy what they wore during the Buddy Ryan days.
To keep things fresh, I’d love for them to alternate and wear white jerseys every other year. White jerseys with silver pants is my favorite Eagles combo ever. No Eagle has ever looked as cool as Randall Cunningham did wearing that.
If we’re getting a bit more experimental, maybe the Eagles try some sets that have wings both on the helmets and on the shoulders of the jerseys, giving off a futuristic vibe reminiscent of Oregon football. I’d be down to go back to the white helmets at one point too with these alternates.
@Mismatchsports: Who do you think will be the first mutant to appear in the MCU?
Conventional wisdom would say one of the most popular X-Men characters like Wolverine, Professor Xavier, or even Magneto (especially considering his relationship with Wanda). I could see an out-of-the-box turn of events where the first one is Namor. Namor is the King of Atlantis and a more ruthless version of Aquaman (though Namor actually debuted as a character before Aquaman).
He was the first mutant to ever be published in a Marvel comic, way back in Marvel Comics #1 back in 1939. While he wasn’t written as a mutant then, he has since been written as being both an Atlantean and a mutant.
Namor has been a frequent adversary of the Fantastic Four. With a Fantastic Four film already in motion with a release likely for late 2023 or 2024, Namor feels perfect for some sort of post-credit scene in that. Namor could be the first mutant on screen in the MCU, though he’s the one with the least tangible connection to the famous mutants in the X-Men line of characters.
That would keep Marvel Studios’ mutant/X-Men plans on the back burner, as they seem to want to wait a good amount of time for that rollout, distancing themselves from the FOX films.