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Five Keys to the Eagles Success This Season

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Defensive end Derek Barnett and Linebacker Nigel Bradham celebrate after sack.
Via Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t exactly live up to their expectations last year. Philadelphia was marred by injuries and inconsistencies throughout the season, finishing with a 9-7 record. With the 2019-2020 season upon us, Philadelphia once again has high expectations and eyes another shot at the Super Bowl. Here are five things the Eagles must do in order to ensure their success in the upcoming season.

1. Protect Carson Wentz

With Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles packing his bags and taking his talents to Jacksonville in free agency, the Eagles do n0t have the formidable fall back option at quarterback as they once did. Protecting quarterback Carson Wentz will be a big key to Philadelphia’s success during the upcoming season. Much weight falls on Wentz himself, as he must learn when it’s appropriate to extend plays so he can lessen his risk of injury.

The addition of first round pick Andre Dillard to an already top tier Eagles offensive line helps to secure the safety of their quarterback. As long as the offensive line plays up to their abilities and avoids injuries, the chances of Wentz producing an MVP caliber like season dramatically increases.

2. Score More Points

The Eagles ranked 18th in the NFL last season in points per game, a significant downgrade from their Super Bowl championship season where they ranked an impressive 7th.

To address this issue, Philadelphia acquired Pro-Bowler Jordan Howard and drafted Penn State rusher Miles Sanders to revive the running game. The additions of DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside further bolsters Philadelphia’s arsenal in the air attack, giving Carson Wentz a plethora of options to drive the offense down the field and score more points.

3. Secondary Needs to Step It Up

Philadelphia has had one of the best red zone defenses over the past couple years and has done a fantastic job at keeping opponents out of the end zone. However, Philadelphia’s defense struggled to get off the field on third down situations, often giving up huge chunks of yardage to the opposition. The return of Rodney McLeod and the signing of underrated safety Andrew Sendejo should help Philadelphia to solve this problem and help the team get off the field sooner but that won’t solve the problem alone.

The cornerbacks need to get it together. Jalen Mills was incredibly inconsistent and Rasul Douglas looked sluggish at times. Although Avonte Maddox had a solid regular season, he was completely exposed in the playoffs. If Maddox can’t handle the surge of balls thrown in his direction, than he needs to let someone else do the job. What’s most critical is the health of Ronald Darby and Sydney Jones. Both need to stay healthy and play the whole year if Philadelphia hopes to succeed on the defensive front.

4. Philadelphia’s Defensive Line

Philadelphia already has one of the greatest defensive lines in the NFL. The additions of Malik Jackson and Vinny Curry will serve as solid replacements for Chris Long and Michael Bennett, helping Philadelphia retain their dominance in stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Fourth round draft choice Shareef Miller looks to use his quickness as a stable base in his efforts to develop as a pass rusher.

With questions surrounding the defensive secondary, the Eagles are going to need the defensive line to play up to their abilities and put pressure on the quarterback. Bringing back Brandon Graham on a three year deal is a great first step to achieving that goal. In addition, Fletcher Cox is one of the most dominant players at his position and further enhances Philadelphia’s chances on winning defensively at the line of scrimmage.

5. Play All Four Quarters

Last season, Philadelphia lost many games where they had a multi-touchdown lead heading into the second half. These early season setbacks raised the stakes in the latter half of the season and almost cost Philadelphia a playoff spot. Philadelphia’s offense serves as crucial support to help the defense achieve its objective of keeping opponents out of the end zone. The more time the offense is on the field and the more points the Eagles score leads to more pressure being lifted off the shoulders of the defense. This starts all the way at the top with the offensive play calling by coach Doug Pederson to the smart decision making of franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.

The Eagles must play the full four quarters and play them well. If they take their foot off the gas pedal by even the slightest bit, the Eagles chances of making the playoffs may be in jeopardy.

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