The NFL season is 10 days away from starting. For the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s 12 days between now, and the team’s first game of the season against the Detroit Lions. Several teams went through different types of adversity within the last month due to injuries, controversies, or poor play. As the season draws closer, each lesson can be used for the Eagles to better understand their opponent.
Detroit Lions – 44-6 won’t happen again
The Detroit Lions are a much different team than their 3-13-1 record was last season. The addition of Aidan Hutchinson, the improvements on offense and defense, and the fiery personality of their head coach could make for a strong season for Detroit. The idea that week one will be a cakewalk for the Eagles was gone after the first episode of “Hard Knocks.” The Eagles cannot look past this opponent just because of last year’s schedule.
Minnesota Vikings – Coaching Matters
The Vikings have historically been one of the worst primetime teams in the game over the last few years. Mike Zimmer is gone now though, and Kevin O’Connell is in with a new Rams-like approach to offensive schemes. The Eagles’ home-opener may be on Monday night, but the new-look Vikings offense is nothing to underestimate. The preseason has shown the Viking’s offense will look much different and could be a sleeper team for the North crown.
Washington Commanders – Carson Wentz isn’t bad
This notion that Carson Wentz is a bottom-tier quarterback in the league is laughable. Throughout preseason, Wentz has impressed teammates with his arm and leadership ability. His connection with Terry McLaurin will continue to grow, and while week three may be a little soon to kick it off, this is still a very dangerous football team.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Records don’t always show improvement
Doug Pederson has been coaching the Jaguars for a few months, and you are already seeing major improvements from last season. Preseason games have shown a defense that is aggressive and opportunistic. Offensively, the talent of Trevor Lawrence has shown out impressively. The Jaguars may not win 10-11 games this season, but their record won’t show the major improvement this team could make.
Arizona Cardinals – Dysfunction comes in different guises
There are several dysfunctional teams throughout football. They don’t all look the same. The Arizona Cardinals have a ton of talent on offense and defense. The fact they made the playoffs last season would have many people pausing on calling them dysfunctional. Except their star wide receiving was suspended for a third of the season, the quarterback needed a controversial study clause in his major extension, and the head coach is defending how hard it is to call plays by telling his quarterback to do it. Dysfunction looks different to different teams, but it’s clear Arizona is on the cusp of a disaster.
Dallas Cowboys – Depth Matters
The Cowboys are the Eagles’ top rival in reaching the NFC East crown. The Cowboys have also lost a good amount of talent in the offseason due to salary cap mismanagement. If there is one lesson we’ve learned from the Cowboys to this point is that depth absolutely does matter. Depth at receiver, defense and especially the offensive line have all been major problems for Dallas. Tyron Smith’s injury highlights the lack of proven depth the team currently has at the position. It’s a lesson that the Eagles are all too familiar with.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Patience with young players has its benefits
In the modern NFL, rookie quarterbacks aren’t given the chance to grow accustom edto the NFL game. They are thrown immediately into the season and have to learn on the fly. For Pittsburgh, that might not be the case, and it might be the best way to do it. Kenny Pickett’s first-round selection allows the Steelers to be patient with the signal-caller. It’s something that the Eagles could definitely take a page out of with their young players and especially the quarterback.
Houston Texans – Front office overreach offers disaster
The Houston Texans are a mess. A combination of a meddling owner, and poor general manager choices have made a Houston team that once reached the playoffs consistently, to being one of the worst-run organizations in football. It’s a cautionary tale of how front office overreach can really hurt any positive future a team has.
Indianapolis Colts – The grass isn’t always greener
The Colts traded Carson Wentz to Washington because the quarterback wouldn’t get the vaccine, and lost the last two games of 2021. They feel Matt Ryan is a major upgrade from Wentz. The grass isn’t always greener though. It’s a cautionary tale for those in the organization and fanbase to still want to move on from Hurts. The next quarterback, whether it be a rookie, or star veteran isn’t guaranteed to win right away, and could be on a much different trajectory than Hurts.
Green Bay Packers – #1 receivers are a major need
The Green Bay Packers have gone the entire preseason with debates over who will be the #1 receiver this year. After trading DaVante Adams, the Packers are going to need Rodgers to continue to play at an MVP level and improve the receiving core around him. That’s a lot to ask. The Packers are going to be a great team this year, but championship teams need a #1 receiver nowadays. The Packers no longer have that.
Tenessee Titans – Trading young players as cap casualties breed disaster
The Titans haven’t been bad in preseason. Malik Willis, the teams’ third-round pick, has looked solid and the group seems prepared to try and get back to the postseason. But the receiver position has looked barren all summer. The trade of AJ Brown and play of Treylon Burks is a cautionary tale to any team that trading a young superstar because you don’t want to pay him at a premium position could very well be the nail in the coffin of the long-term struggles of your team.
New York Giants – The injury bug can hit anyone
The Giants have been decimated with injuries this offseason. Whether it’s the turf, or just the way they practice, New York has lost a good chunk of its reserve offensive linemen, good linebackers and others even though practices haven’t been as strict as it was with Judge. The lesson here is simple: injuries happen to anyone, and it doesn’t really matter what kind of off-season program you run, it won’t necessarily save you from getting hurt.
Chicago Bears – Investment in the OL is always the #1 issue with young quarterbacks
The Eagles don’t really have this problem, but the Bears are teaching teams a very valuable lesson about young quarterbacks. Expecting them to play well behind an atrocious offensive line will only hurt the quarterback’s development, and cost people their job. The Bears OL is a mess, and will be a problem throughout the season. If Chicago is even close to .500, Justin Fields should garner MVP consideration. It’s not a joke, that’s how bad the OL looks right now.
New Orleans Saints – Coaching Matters
Dennis Allen isn’t Sean Payton. While the Saints have looked solid throughout the early parts of the preseason, the biggest question surrounds their coach and quarterback. Allen won’t be able to show his stuff out just yet as the team continues to grow and prepare for the first week of the season, but he has the unenviable task of trying to replace a coach who was a QB whisperer for the better part of three decades.
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