Eagles OTA’s: Five storylines to keep an eye on

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 14: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) exits the field after the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles on October 14, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Eagles open up OTA’s this week. It’s the first true chance to have almost every player on the roster get offseason work with the coaches. It’s also the first true look at how some of the newcomers will fare within the confines of the Novacare Complex.

So while the Eagles only have OTA’s for a few days to protect player health, here are the five main storylines to watch.

5. Offensive Line Construction

It’s common to see offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland, change a lot of things up during OTA’s. Players normally locked in to certain positions may be moving around along the OL to see if they can be better utilized and cross-trained.

It allows the Eagles to be more flexible when it comes to using their depth offensively.

This year is even more interesting than most though. While Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson are still the de-facto leaders of the group, young players like Landon Dickerson, Jack Driscoll, and even Sua Opeta have developed nicely under Stoutland’s tutelage.

Add in the fact that the right guard position doesn’t have a set starter yet and you’ve got a very interesting group starting out.

Will Jack Driscoll beat out Isaac Seumalo? Will the Eagles even put Seumalo on the right side, or will they let the former third-round pick battle with Landon Dickerson on the left side?

And what about Andre Dillard? With the left tackle position all but given to Jordan Mailata, will we be seeing more effort from Dillard on the right side behind Lane Johnson?

While the offensive line is by the far the best collection of talent the Eagles have, it definitely has its share of questions at different position groups.

4. Can Jalen Hurts take a step forward?

People will be surprised this isn’t number one on the list, but to be fair, OTA’s aren’t exactly the best platform to decipher how far a QB has developed. There won’t be live contact, and most of the drills will be run to limit any potential injury.

Still, how the team rallies around Jalen Hurts will be the big key for the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philly’s front office has done everything this offseason to put more weapons around Hurts and get the most out of his growing talent.

It’s a make-or-break season for QB1, and if he continues to improve the way he has been doing since his college days, the Eagles are in for a deep playoff run.

3. Who is the leader on Defense?

The Eagles have added a collection of great talent on the defensive end.

Haason Reddick, James Bradberry, Jordan Davis, Kyzir White and even Nakobe Dean.

Will it be a member of the incoming group, or will it be a player that was on the roster last season that turns into the leader of the defensive side of the ball? That question will be asked for months before opening day starts.

The Eagles defense of the past few years has been without an identity. A lack of talent, execution or sometimes both, put the defense on its heels most years. If that is to change in 2022, a leader is going to need to emerge on this team and one that will be around for years to come.

When Malcolm Jenkins left, the leadership void was missing.

It’s time for someone to step up and take those reigns.

2. Young Bucks in the Secondary

The Eagles have veterans like Darius Slay and James Bradberry to command most of the action in the secondary.

The biggest question surrounds the top backups in the unit. As of right now, K’Von Wallace and Jared Mayden are situated as the top backups at safety and Zech McPhearson is the backup at corner.

Suffice it to say, the Eagles do not have a lot of quality depth in their secondary. How the young players look in OTA’s and even minicamp will most likely determine what the Eagles do to try and bolster the backup spots later on in training camp.

1. Coaching Staff Development

Nick Sirianni had an excellent first year as Eagles head coach. But as we saw with Chip Kelly, the first year isn’t always indicative of long-term success.

Sirianni and the rest of the Eagles coaching staff need to continue to develop their own styles and be able to continue to gets wins out of their roster.

With the additions from the offseason, the Eagles should look a lot different than they did in 2021. The key will be to make sure that the offense continues to develop and the players continue to improve as the season goes on.

2021 was all about how the Eagles coaching staff adjusted the scheme to get the most out of their players. As long as that continues in 2022, the Eagles coaching staff will continue to be one of the most underrated in football.

Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire