There’s no doubting that this years Philadelphia Eagles has perhaps received more media attention than any other team in the league…(if you exclude Bill Belicheats Patriots) and even after a win against the Jets, there are still some stiff questions the teams will face when they do battle with the Redskins at FedEx Field.
3: Can the Eagles sustain a successful running game?
Ryan Mathews rushed for over 100 yards against the Jets whilst DeMarco Murray is currently 11 yards on 21 carries. It was evident that the Eagles switched back to the basics when running the football last week and one of the main questions has been, who is responsible for the success? Did the Offensive Line step it up? Does Mathews simply suit the teams style better?
The main factor here is how Murray will factor into the lineup upon his return. The Eagles number one running back is set for a game day decision following a hamstring injury two games ago but if he does take a few snaps it will be interesting to see if they are straight HB Dive’s out of the Shotgun or some sweep plays/outside zones like Mathews faced last week. If Murray can run the same plays that Mathews excelled in then the Eagles are going to have a running game to be feared. If not, then we could see Mathews taking the majority of snaps.
If that happens then we may even see a slight power struggle. This is all speculation, the overall question is do the Eagles now have all the right pieces to sustain an efficient running game after a rocky start? Beneath that are a handful on tangents to explore..but the only way to find out is to see what plays are ran, the ratio of plays ran and the success of said plays after tomorrows game..it’s going to be interesting.
2: Who’s the roadblock in this Offense, the Quarterback or the receivers?
Sam Bradford has received a lot of criticism this week over his lack of deep balls, a trait that has followed him throughout his career. However, the wide receivers have been coming under fire since week one but nothing has changed. Sam Bradford threw 0 interceptions against the Jets and had flashes of brilliance in the previous two games..but the receivers are a very different story.
Jordan Matthews is the ONLY receiver to have over 100 receiving yards with 231..where’s the help?! The Receivers have dropped on average 4 easy completions per game. From two what should have been touchdown passes against the Jets to tipped passes that lead to interceptions against Dallas, the Eagles receivers have struggled hugely to bring the ball in after the pass.
It’s expected that Bradford is going to experiment with some deep passes this week and it could well be the first time we get to see a complete view of the situation. Is it fair that Bradford takes all the flack for a failing Offense? Are the receivers having chemistry issues with their new Quarterback or are there simply too many inexperienced receivers on the field?
There are plenty of questions surrounding the Philadelphia Offense, but with the world focusing its attention so heavily on Sam Bradford..he could certainly use a little help from his receiving core that was predicted huge things just five weeks ago. But is this the week he finally gets it?
1: Is this Eagles Secondary the real deal?
The Eagles have had a tough time in recent years when it comes to a secondary. From the Asomugha saga to Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, the team have hardly had gleaming success in the area. Last season the team gave up far too many X-Plays but it’s all looking to change this year. Guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond have come up huge in the opening games and as rookie Eric Rowe continues to progress slowly under the wings of Nolan Carroll, the secondary is rapidly becoming a very intimidating unit.
Byron Maxwell still remains an unproven talent despite flashes of promise against the Jets. Somehow allowing a touchdown on Brandon Marshall when he had three men on him is just a little puzzling..but the signs are there. The problem with Maxwell is that every game he has had bar one this season he should have faced an elite receiver and hasn’t.
Falcons- embarrassed by a fiery Julio Jones
Dallas- No Dez
Jets- No Decker/ struggled with Marshall despite some big plays and a more confident style of play.
Redskins- No DeSean Jackson.
It’s almost like every time Maxwell has a chance to prove himself, the chance is stripped away or he strips it away himself. He comes up against some talent this weekend however in the form of Pierre Garcon who has had more targets in the Redskins Offense than anybody. An improved and more well rounded performance here could finally shut up the naysayers, but when you pay THAT much for a cornerback..you expect elite coverage and it’s something he simply hasn’t delivered on a consistent basis.
Every other player in the Eagles secondary has seemed to gel together incredibly quickly and as a unit look more and more refined as weeks go by. But as we go into week four, the Secondary could be on double duty when having to contend with Alfred Morris and company in the backfield. The pressure is most definitely on for what has been a successful unit as a whole in comparison to last year, but will Maxwell be the man to push all momentum into the Eagles corner..or is someone else going to have to step up and make the big stops that the more inexperienced and lesser renowned players have been doing thus far.
Billy Davis has helped build a secondary of versatile men whos skills transition into numerous positions. Against Washington they should prove to be just as/if not more effective as they were against the Jets, but the world is waiting on Byron Maxwell to deliver the goods..