Are the Eagles closer to being competitive than we think?

NFL: DEC 13 Saints at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – DECEMBER 13: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) passes to tight end Dallas Goedert (88) against New Orleans Saints on December 13, 2020 at the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

An NFL rebuild is nothing like what happens in the NBA. The NFL is such a dynamic league where a team could be one of the worst at the end of the year and in the blink of an eye be one of the best in the very next season. A lot of people view the Philadelphia Eagles as a middling franchise that will take at least a few years to get back to being a playoff-caliber team, but they may already be closer than we think.

Trusting in Jalen Hurts

First and foremost, they’re not as desperate as many think they are to go and blow up the roster to snag a top-tier QB. If that wasn’t the case, we would’ve seen a move for Deshaun Watson, or even the drafting of Justin Fields who was within reach when the Eagles selected DeVonta Smith.

Hurts may be projected by PFF to be the 2nd worst QB in the NFL this season but that doesn’t prove anything. Speculation is just that.

The world was only able to see a small 4-game sample size of what Hurts can do in a terrible offensive scheme with 2nd and 3rd string bodies all around him. Now the truest testament of Hurts’ ability will be on display with a new coaching staff calling the shots for him.

Having demonstrated an ability to command a locker room full of veteran leaders in his rookie season when he was serving as backup, there’s no denying that the Eagles could be on the right side of history with Jalen Hurts at the helm. The kid is all for competition and would rather earn the starting role instead of having it handed to him.

An old adage

Secondly, the Eagles have great talent in the trenches. The defensive line is full of top-notch players that have either made a name for themselves or are going to in the near future. With a defensive line stacked by the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave, and Ryan Kerrigan, this team could cause fits for opposing offences. With those four players surrounded by a group of young and talented players, there’s no telling just how great this line can be.

There’s also the offensive line. One of the more talented units in the NFL whose only issue for the last several seasons has been staying healthy. After losing Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard to injuries at the beginning of the season, Lane Johnson followed suit with a high ankle sprain that nagged him for the better part of the year. The unit proceeded to give up a league-worst 65 sacks that season and decimate any chances of consistent success through the air or on the ground.

After a breath of fresh air and an offseason to get healthy, the offensive line is ready to get back to its best. The selection of Landon Dickerson kicked off an offseason that saw the conveyor belt pick up again before the Eagles went on and signed veteran lineman, Le’Raven Clark. Let’s not forget the players that stood their ground last season as well in Nate Herbig and Jack Driscoll, who should be fully healthy, bringing some much-needed reliability deeper down the depth chart.

The Eagles are harnessing the same energy that once made them great

This team has several holes around the roster but not enough to consider them a non-competitive unit. Along with the new coaching staff, this roster is capable of surprising people. They have the one motivation that other teams in the NFC don’t have and that’s doubt.

Nick Sirianni has been doubted since his first press conference. Jalen Hurts has been doubted ever since Wentz was traded. Jalen Reagor continues to be doubted because Justin Jefferson had a better season. DeVonta Smith is being doubted due to his slim frame. The list goes as far as the most tenured player.

The team is in the middle of a retool and has a true underdog mentality. When’s the last time that you saw the last-place team, in the NFL, with those two combinations? 

Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire