Eagles

Eagles

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The Philadelphia Eagles have wrapped up OTAs, and The John Kincade Show is measuring their level of confidence in Eagles position groups entering the 2023 season.

The “Cooney’s Corner” segment included a breakdown of each expected starter.

“So I wanted to go through the roster to you and find out where your trust comes from and where maybe you’re a little hesitant on trusting somebody.” -Bob Cooney

Howie Roseman executed some impressive roster turnover this offseason despite challenging circumstances with a number of key contributors hitting unrestricted free agency.

The 2022 NFC champions fielded arguably the most complete roster in the 90-year history of the franchise. Even with some shrewd maneuvering, it’ll be difficult to replicate.

Philadelphia Eagles Position Groups

Veterans like Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox don’t have too many productive seasons remaining, and other changing parts will force the 2023 Eagles to handle adversity that wasn’t always there during a dominant trek to Super Bowl LVII.

The defensive line won’t have the same overwhelming veteran presence up the middle after losing Javon Hargrave, Ndamukong Suh, and Linval Joseph. Does drafting Jalen Carter with the 9th overall pick affect your level of trust?

Is there inevitable regression for a team that tore through the NFC as an unrivaled favorite during the regular season and outscored NFC opponents 69-14 in two playoff games?

Where is your confidence level in Jalen Hurts and the Eagles to repeat as the conference champs and right the wrong of a loss on the game’s biggest stage?

John Kincade, Bob Cooney, and Connor Thomas broke down the Eagles’ position groups one by one. 

  • Quarterback: No Question About Jalen Hurts

    It almost went without saying. The group is unanimously confident in Jalen Hurts.

    Since the season ended, The John Kincade Show has repeatedly discussed a natural advantage the Eagles have. All the other quarterbacks besides Hurts considered in the top tier of the NFL play in the AFC.

  • Wide Receivers: Top Heavy Starters, Depth Questions

    The Eagles have one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. It’s tough to question a position group with two wide receivers who finished in the top 10 in the NFL in receiving yards last season.

    However, the third wide receiver position isn’t nearly as secure.

    “I don’t think it’s a liability, but I don’t think it’s going to be a positive for the team.” -Connor Thomas

    Quez Watkins worked his way into the starting lineup in 2021 as a late-round steal with dangerous straightaway speed.

    He had an underwhelming season in 2022. Most Eagles fans can’t hear his name without immediately thinking of a missed opportunity for a big play in the 3rd quarter of Super Bowl LVII.

    Howie Roseman brought in local product Olamide Zaccheaus to compete for targets after he finished with a career-best 533 yards in 2022.

    Connor acknowledged that any minor weaknesses on the roster need to be pointed out. Super Bowl contenders operate with a narrow margin for error within a limited window of opportunity.

    “I think this team deserves it to be better than fine because of the window they have.” -Connor Thomas

     

  • Running Backs: Question Marks in Swift, Penny

    Miles Sanders signed with the Carolina Panthers in free agency, and the Eagles will have a new-look running back group.

    “I can’t say that I trust that they’ve got a crew that I think is going to be outstanding.” -John Kincade

    Rashaad Penny brings the potential to contribute to a physical running game that would mesh well with a stout offensive line. He has played in only 42 of a possible 82 games in his NFL career, and his availability is a major question mark.

    New addition D’Andre Swift might benefit from what Connor called “The Haason Reddick Factor” for a player returning to his hometown. The former St. Joseph’s Prep standout has never been a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but he brings enough experience and dependability to contribute to a good running game.

    He also brings a receiving threat that Sanders didn’t offer in his final three seasons in Philadelphia.

    The two new additions are one of the greatest unknowns on the roster. If the offense develops a good balance with a healthy stable of running backs, the Eagles should once again have one of the most effective rushing attacks in the NFL.

    At this point, however, it’s not fair to blindly trust that they’ll hit the ground running with no hiccups, regardless of how much you might love Swift’s Philly attitude.

     

  • Offensive Linemen: Trust the Beef

    It’ll be tough to find many Eagles fans who don’t trust Kelce, Johnson, Jordan Mailata, and Landon Dickerson.

    Jeff Stoutland’s unit must plug in a new right guard to replace Isaac Seumalo, and Cam Jurgens is the likeliest option. Rookie Tyler Steen will also compete for the job.

    While one of the five positions is a little bit of an unknown, the trust is there for the unit collectively.

    John had so much confidence in the situation that he worked up the courage to use a hip, new word his daughter taught him.

    “It ain’t gona be mid.” -John Kincade

  • Tight Ends: Who's Behind Goedert?

    The Eagles have one of best starting tight ends in the NFL, but how much do John, Bob, and Connor trust the depth behind Dallas Goedert?

    “They need to be bodies to block. You’ve already got so much in the passing game.” -Connor Thomas

    Grant Calcaterra and Jack Stoll certainly aren’t the flashiest players. Can they compensate if Goedert is unavailable at any point?

    Bob immediately drew back to the conversation about the depth behind A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

    “It kind of goes like slot receiver then. You don’t want to just be okay. You want to be good.” -Bob Cooney

    Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

  • Defensive Linemen: Two Units Deep

    The John Kincade Show has total confidence in Josh Sweat as a starting defensive end and Haason Reddick as an edge rusher.

    Brandon Graham also inspires confidence coming off a career-high 11 sacks in 2022.

    One of the most impactful defensive players in franchise history and arguably the most talented player in the 2023 NFL Draft will most likely make up the interior of the starting defensive line.

    Fletcher Cox hasn’t been the model of consistency in recent seasons, and Jalen Carter hasn’t proven himself at the NFL level. They’ll need to earn some trust in 2023.

    Part of Roseman’s roster construction strategy is to build depth along the defensive line. Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, and Nolan Smith will lead a group of capable rotational players.

  • Linebackers: Prove It

    Bob spoke for the group in a unanimous decision about projected starting linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nicholas Morrow.

    “I can’t trust the linebacker position right now.” -Bob Cooney

    Neither player has given enough reason for anyone to be fully confident. The Eagles have already put some trust in Dean, who could end up as the defensive signal caller next season.

    Morrow hopes to avoid becoming another casualty of a shaky history of free-agent linebacker signings by Howie Roseman.

  • Cornerbacks: Questions About "Big Play Slay"

    “Now it gets interesting. Darius Slay didn’t have a good second half of last year. Darius Slay’s getting older. He’s above 30 now. Do you trust Darius Slay to be what you want him to be, what you need him to be?” -Bob Cooney

    John couldn’t give the “glowing endorsement” that some listeners might’ve expected for a player coming off consecutive Pro Bowl seasons.

    Connor puts more trust in James Bradberry as the other half of the tandem of outside starting cornerbacks.

    Avonte Maddox is a reliable slot corner, as long as he stays healthy.

    A position group with two expensive starters who’ve combined for six career Pro Bowls isn’t convincing everyone to trust them without reservations.

    The play of the veteran corners might be an important storyline to watch in 2023.

  • Safeties: Trust (Ed) Reed Blankenship?

    It’s not out of the question that former undrafted free agent Reed Blankenship takes another step to prove himself as a steal.

    “He could end up developing into something, but he’s average.” -John Kincade

    Terrell Edmunds started for the majority of his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While he should be a reliable option in the defensive backfield, he won’t be a featured player on defense in 2023.

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