Five Eagles who need to take a step forward in 2021: Offense edition


The Eagles may well have one of the more underrated offenses in the NFL. This is mostly due to the unknown of how QB Jalen Hurts will do now that the spotlight is completely on him. The team had Super Bowl expectations whenever Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson touched the field but now it seems they have low-tier expectations with a first-time head coach and a 2nd round QB. 

All in all, this could be one of the more effective units in all of the league if they hit all the right buttons. To do so, they’ll need the help of some breakout candidates. A few of these have been mentioned already, but it’s time to take a closer look now that the dust of the offseason has settled.

Miles Sanders

The Eagles brought back Jordan Howard, claimed Kerryon Johnson, and drafted Kenny Gainwell this offseason. While Howard and Johnson were brought in for pass blocking and short-yardage situations, it’s down to Miles Sanders to fill in the blanks,

Head Coach Nick Sirianni has preached competition all offseason because of the culture he wants To implement. Sanders is hands down the best running back on this roster but health concerns and inconsistency have slowed him down tremendously in his first two seasons. The potential is there but Sanders has to jump to the next level to secure his role.

Dallas Goedert

Goedert’s role will be the most looked at one this offseason due to all of the noise surrounding Zach Ertz. It isn’t a secret to say that Ertz regressed last season, but poor QB play and several injuries hardly helped.

Money remains the biggest issue between Zach and the franchise, but that doesn’t bode well for him since Dallas Goedert is entering a contract season and the negotiations have already begun.

Goedert could be a top 5 tight end in the NFL this season but for that to happen, the young pass-catcher has to find a way to play all 16 games. His availability has declined in each of the first three years of his career. Even so, in the last two seasons, he’s tallied 1,131 receiving yards on 104 receptions with 8 touchdowns. 

He truly has the ability to be a next-level tight end in this league but it’s going to take a full 16 game slate of him starting. Goedert is as dynamic as Kelce and Kittle but hasn’t had the same opportunity to show it with the shadow of Zach Ertz looming over him.

Travis Fulgham

The Eagles are completely set at WR1 and WR2 which leaves last year’s leader in receiving yards for the team in a position where he may have to compete with Greg Ward Jr for that WR3 spot. The good thing about Fulgham is that he is a more dynamic receiver than Ward and presents a mismatch nightmare as a potential big-slot option. But what we saw in 2020 was a receiver who struggled when volume declined.

Despite finishing with 539 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns, Fulgham disappeared towards the end of the season. Many felt as if it was mostly due to the nagging injury that he had on his foot or the return of Alshon, but the truth was that he struggled to separate as often due to facing more attention at the line and that eccentric catch-radius could only do so much.

Fulgham at WR3 could bode well for this offense after seeing how talented this kid is but he has to learn how to adjust to the way that defenses will play against him now.

Kenny Gainwell

First and foremost, let me state how big of a fan I am in the fact that the Eagles selected Gainwell. He was a true steal in this year’s draft. Gainwell brings a receiving dynamic to a running back room that’s searching for an identity. The key to Kenny and this offense will be how much Head Coach Nick Sirianni plans to play the rookie. In years past we saw how Pederson limited several of the young players but over in Indianapolis, Nick Sirianni unleashed Jonathan Taylor after Marlon Mack went down.

Gainwell is the perfect sidekick for a player like Miles Sanders but in a crowded running back room, it could become difficult to see. He could become the biggest x-factor for this offense, especially if he could learn to pass block better than Boston Scott.

Jalen Hurts

QB1.

The most important man on this roster this season. Jalen Hurts holds all the keys for the Eagles’ future in his pocket. If he balls out this season then the team doesn’t need to worry about drafting a QB next year and instead invest in more weapons to support their young signal caller.

The Eagles have surrounded Hurts with well-rounded offensive minds but what he does with that knowledge bestowed upon him is another thing. The Eagles need more consistent QB play this season if they’re looking to make some noise down the stretch. With Carson Wentz gone and no real threat sitting behind him, Hurts has been allowed to truly blossom with no restrictions.

For the Eagles to go return to previous heights, the team will need Hurts to work on his ball-security, read progression, and accuracy.

Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire

2 thoughts on “Five Eagles who need to take a step forward in 2021: Offense edition

  1. As far as Sanders is concerned, he has never been given enough carries to really get into a rhythm. During Doug Pederson’s five years, the Eagles run/pass ratio was 60-40%, and in 2020, it was actually 65-35%. I’m guessing that figure this year will be almost reversed, or will be much closer, like a 55-45% in favor of the running game. If the new RB coach can get Kerryon Johnson back to form, I think a dual/and or rotational backfield of Sanders and Gainwell, will be a dangerous combo. Both of them are excellent receivers as well, so I think we will see the return of the screen game in a big way. If the line stays healthy, they are one of the best at run blocking in the NFL. Combine that backfield rotation with Hurt’s ability to run, and that is going to force the D to key on the run game, and that will open up a lot of pass routes for Smith, Reagor, Fulgham and Goedert. The ability of Hurts in the RPO game will force the Safeties to play up, giving him the option for those short passes and a lot of YAC.

    Fulgham will adjust and figure out how to use his size to get off the line and work the CB and take advantage of that big catch radius he has. With Smith and Reagor on the field as well, Fulgham is likely to draw the least talented CB on the opposing roster. Moving Reagor to the slot is a good idea. His YAC should increase dramatically with slant routes and quick passes.

    Don’t forget that we just signed Mullins, so no doubt Sirianni will pick his brain and possibly incorporate some of the 49ers concepts into the offense. Shanahan is well known for innovative play design, and Sirianni will use everything at his disposal to make this team the best it can be

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