5 defensive questions Eagles need to answer heading into training camp

Eagles reed Blankenship
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship (46) warms up during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. ( Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Training camp is drawing closer and that means the Philadelphia Eagles will soon be back at the Novacare Complex and practicing in preparation for the 2023 season.

Every team has questions going into the first true competitive tests of the new season but luckily for the Eagles, theirs are not as pressing as some from other teams. That’s what happens when you return a high percentage of starters from a conference championship team.

While the offense has more questions surrounding their depth, the defensive side of the ball is full of questions at almost every position.

Are Terrell Edmunds and Reed Blankenship enough at safety?

Edmunds and Blankenship have looked strong during voluntary workouts, but the questions surrounding them will hover above the Novacare Complex throughout the season. The safety position has been one that Philadelphia has overlooked in the past, and if the team isn’t careful, it could be an Achilles heel going into next season.

How Edmunds and Blankenship look during training camp will go a long way to quelling the fears of the organization. If they perform well, the team and defense should be fine. If not, then we could see another example of the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson situation for another year.

How does Nakobe Dean answer the call?

All eyes are on Nakobe Dean through camp and his second season as a pro. Dean is expected to be the play-caller of the Eagles’ defense and has arguably the most pressure out of anyone besides Jalen Hurts. If he performs well, the Eagles should have the future at linebacker set for the foreseeable future.

We should know if Dean has the “It” factor he had at Georgia very quickly.

What does the defense look like in camp under Sean Desai?

There are obviously a lot of questions surrounding the Eagles’ defense with just five starters returning on a defense that was a top-ranked unit last season. Unlike most of these questions, how the 2023 unit looks will be on a case-by-case basis throughout camp and into the start of the regular season.

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 21: Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai looks on during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills on August 21, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Newly-hired Sean Desai has to bring in a defensive system that fits both his players and his overall scheme, he needs to see who will start at each position, as well as how his unit will look against some of the top offenses in football. Not an easy task for a defensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Desai may come with plenty of pedigree, but trying to improve on a team that set franchise records in sacks and other key defensive statistics will take time.

Targeting how the defense looks in camp will be an interesting storyline throughout Philly. The scheme and players will need time to adjust to one another. And a question that won’t be solved right away once practices begin.

How long can Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox play at a high level?

Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox are two of the oldest players on the team and two of the longest-tenured players in franchise history. Both are coming off very good seasons with career years in sacks and pressures.

But how long can two 30+-year-old players compete at a high level before Father Time comes to collect? The good news is that Philadelphia has contingencies in place for both players should that happen.

This is another question that could be answered very quickly once training camp starts.

What does a second year for Jordan Davis look like?

For the 14th overall pick, Jordan Davis didn’t have the best of seasons during his rookie year. The Georgia standout battled injuries and ineffectiveness once he came back to the team during the second half of the season. Entering a new year, with a new defensive coach will be a challenge for Davis entering his second NFL season.

Jordan Davis
LAS VEGAS, NV – APRIL 28: Jordan Davis, Georgia is selected as the number 13 pick by the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire)

Can the Eagles get solid production with Davis and Carter now joined together again? Dean will have a lot of pressure on him just because of his position, but it’s Davis that should be a key cog in the plans for the defense entering the 2023 season.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire