The Eagles have a team full of potential playmakers, but there are five in particular who could have a huge impact on the result of Sunday’s showdown with divisional rivals the Washington Redskins.
5: Nolan Carroll
Carroll has very much been the unsung hero of this Eagles Defense so far. He had a fairly quiet start to the season before deflecting two passes against the Jets and allowing just a 60% completion rate against him. Two almost perfectly executed plays against New York surely show signs of his first interception drawing nearer. The Eagles objective this year was to cut out the number of deep passes, they’re certainly doing that and Carroll’s role is becoming more and more vital as weeks go by. With no DeSean Jackson..Cousins will be limited for targets, leaving Carroll to potentially use his hawking abilities against some weaker receivers to swing the momentum of the game.
4: Nelson Agholor
We have spoken very highly of Aghlor following last weeks performance. For those unfamiliar to the article, we will leave a link here. The rookie receiver whilst targeted minimal times was matched up against Darelle Revis for a huge percentage of the game last week. Not only that, but he was able to beat the star corner numerous times. If Bradford is looking to finally start airing out deep passes, Agholor may be in for a Jordan Matthews breakout esque’ game. Some easy picks in the opening weeks and minor teething problems are rapidly being grown out of..leaving the Eagles with a lethal seam runner. No star corner, more pressure to keep Agholor on chains. The question is, will Sam Bradford finally air out a deep pass to the versatile USC Product?
3: Sam Bradford
Bradford has made our list every week so far and for good reason. However after coming up against the Jets Defense and throwing 0 interceptions..he now faces a weak Redskins Defense that also have 0 interceptions (just on the entire year), a corner back that allowed two touchdowns in ten snaps and have just four sacks on the year. This could be the one game where Bradford’s short passing style actually makes sense because of all the time he has in the pocket. However, people want to see deep passes..and this is one of the best Defenses in the league to gain the confidence to try a 40 yard pass against due to their low success rate in stopping the X-plays..Bradford’s mentality could well dictate how many first downs the Eagles pick up. If there are two runs to start the game, expect some short passing drives for the first half. If he comes out with 3/4 completions, then he may well decide to shake things up.
2: Zach Ertz
Ertz is an interesting one. The tight end was targeted only two times last week and has less than fifty yards receiving on the year. He is also yet to catch a touchdown pass. Bradford doesn’t appear to like throwing to the tight ends but we have seen in previous years how dangerous Celek can be on deep routes and already know how talented Zach Ertz is..could this be the game Ertz breaks the spell and picks up over 50 yards in a game and catches a touchdown? It’s the weakest Defense he will have faced so far and if we have taken anything from the opening three games, it’s that Bradford simply has to spread the ball around more. Throwing to Matthews and Austin play after play is not only predictable but also minimising the chances of throwing first downs if they are not the perfect receiver for that play. I think this could be the game we see the emergence of Zach Ertz.
1: Jordan Hicks
Talking of emergence…Jordan Hicks has exploded after being thrust onto centre stage. With Kendricks and Alonso both out, a lot of pressure fell onto the rookies shoulders, but he met it head on and came away with some incredible stats as well as an interception. With Kendricks returning but still no Kiko…the legend of Jordan Hicks is almost destined to open up another episode as he will feature more prominently in the lineup. He’s proven effective at stopping the run, rushing the passer and without the Redskins starting LG, it’s almost hinting at yet another huge game for a rookie who’s playing and reading the game like a veteran.