The Philadelphia Eagles will head in their 2019 NFL training camp loaded with questions surrounding new and returning players. The return of Carson Wentz is huge, but the Eagles must wonder if this will be a repeat of the last two seasons. How long can he stay upright and now with no Nick Foles, what will they do if he can’t?
With upgrades over the offseason, the Eagles will have one of the best offenses heading into the new campaign. However, the defense has been an area of concern. Even with a Super Bowl victory under their belt, the defense has given up too many big plays in closing minutes that have cost them games. During training camp, this must be fixed.
Will the new guys challenge the veterans for playing time and will players coming off of injury ever return to form? Will Derek Barnett and the rest of the defensive line be able to cause havoc for opposing quarterbacks? And as for the secondary, will we get to see the real Sidney Jones and Jalen Mills?
Here are three things to watch for during Eagles’ training camp.
3. How Does Carson Wentz Look?
No matter what happens this coming season, all eyes will be on Carson Wentz. Going into his fourth year as the starter, Wentz has the money and the stats, but does it have it mentally? He’s a strong kid as far as arm strength, but two straight season-ending injuries coupled with watching his backup lead the Eagles to the first championship and the playoffs the following season can do damage to an ego.
Is Wentz ready to take the role of leader back on? Are the Eagles willing to jump back into his huddle as if none of the things mentioned above happened? With reports surfacing that Wentz has lost some of the locker room and fans still riding the Foles train, Wentz will need to be a mirror image of Tom Brady. But, will he push the envelope too much? Will thoughts of going down again cloud his judgment?
Training Camp will determine just how mentally prepared Wentz is.
2. Doug Pederson’s Next Task
After restoring faith back into the Eagles’ organization and their fan base, what else does Doug Pederson have to do? For starters, he must get the Eagles back on track. He has to find a way to protect his franchise quarterback, get his new offensive weapons on the same page, and make sure mistakes from last season don’t carry over.
Pederson is a great motivator, but this season will be his toughest challenge since taking over the job in 2014. With Foles, Pederson could dial up bigger plays. With Wentz back in the fold, Pederson must adjust back to what made him an MVP candidate two seasons ago.
While OC Mike Groh does some play-calling, Pederson has been known to handle some duties as well. He has to find a way to improve the ground game which finished the year ranked 28th in the NFL last season.
1. DeSean Jackson
Jackson is back in Philly. For fans who have followed them for some time now, they’re expecting the Jackson of old. Pairing Jackson with Carson Wentz has been every Eagles’ fans dreams for the past three seasons.
He will provide Wentz with his first real deep threat. Yes, Alshon Jeffery has the speed to go over the top, but Jackson is a different beast. Take these stats into account when thinking of how Jackson should succeed in the Eagles’ system.
Since leaving Philly in 2014, Jackson has led the league in YPC three of those six years, including last season with 18.9. Even at 32 years old, Jackson is still the best deep threat in the NFL. Having him opposite Jeffery will give Wentz two of the best targets in 2019. Plus, you add in the fact he’s coming home, Jackson is expected to have a huge year.