Division rivals tout the success of Eagles’ front 7 as a blueprint to strive for

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, center, stands with defensive end Brandon Graham (55) offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and center Jason Kelce (62) after the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 31-7. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The success the Philadelphia Eagles have had over the last two decades has been well documented. All-Pro talent has come and gone, but the organization’s forward way of thinking has allowed them to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for anything the NFL throws at them.

The Eagles cemented this last season, as they boasted one of the most successful seasons in franchise history and secured another Super Bowl berth. Their achievements in recent history have been so noteworthy, in fact, that players from rival teams within their own division have openly admired their dominance on the field and considered them a blueprint for how they should develop their own teams.

Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, center, reacts with linebacker Haason Reddick (7) and defensive end Josh Sweat (94) following an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Eagles Receive Praise from the Meadowlands

After practice on Wednesday, Giants’ left tackle Andrew Thomas said, “I think that starts up front, honestly. If you watch a lot of Philly’s games last year, they dominated on both sides with their front seven,”.

Thomas saw up close how dominant the trenches were last season for Philadelphia. The offensive line was a big reason for the team setting a franchise record for points and the defensive line rewrote the team record book for sacks. As they move into the 2023 season, the Eagles will hope to maintain this dominance, leaning on newly acquired defensive tackle Jalen Carter and linebacker Nolan Smith for continued success against opposing offenses. While flattering, Thomas’ comments were not exactly echoed by other division rivals – most notably – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Philadelphia Eagles’ Miles Sanders stiff arms Dallas Cowboys’ Donovan Wilson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Jones Frowns on Eagles’ Success

Famously, Jones has stated that his team has different ways of building winners and that Philadelphia’s gambles don’t always pan out and are just not sustainable. It is worth noting, however, that Dallas has not been to the NFC Championship game in close to 30 years while the Eagles have won the conference three separate times in that same span.

While Jones’ comments show that the Cowboys and Eagles are two fundamentally different organizations, two other NFC East rivals appear to be following in the footsteps of Roseman and the Eagles. Upon closer inspection, one can see that the Giants and Washington Commanders both show traces of emulating the Eagles’ style of development over the last few years.

For instance, New York recently hired Brandon Brown away from the Eagles in 2022 as Assistant General Manager. While there, Brown has helped revamp the entire scouting department in an attempt to rise to the top of the NFC East for the first time since 2011. The Commanders have heavily invested assets in the defensive line position, hoping to spur some of the same success the Eagles have had in recent memory. Coincidentally, their new owner also quite literally owns another team in the city of Philadelphia and undoubtedly hopes to finish above .500 for the first time since 2016.

Eagles commanders
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) makes a catch against Washington Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) and safety Bobby McCain (20) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
High Hopes in Philadelphia

As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how these matchups measure up. We know one thing, however, the Eagles will be a target as they look to continue their domination in a division that is aiming for the top. After all, that’s what comes from being the top dog in the most storied division in NFL history.

As the Eagles get ready for their third season in the Nick Sirianni era, it’s apparent that while the rest of the division is playing catch-up, the team is prepared to take the next step to being a perennial Super Bowl power.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum