4 biggest storylines for the Philadelphia Eagles entering 2019
The Eagles are just two years removed from a Super Bowl championship, but there are a lot of question marks up and down the roster.
While there is a pretty large faction that actually thinks Philadelphia is going to win the NFC East division in 2019, it’s mostly based on potential rather than what we are currently seeing, as the Dallas Cowboys seem to be the clear favorites as of right now.
Still, Philly has a chance to boast a dynamic offense, and in a division that really isn’t that great from top-to-bottom, the Eagles should have a chance to make some noise.
Here are the four biggest storylines for Philadelphia heading into this season.
4. Can Jordan Howard Re-discover His Old Form?
Jordan Howard may have rushed for 935 yards and nine touchdowns in his final year with the Chicago Bears in 2018, but he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and has been in clear decline since his spectacular rookie campaign in 2016.
Could a change of scenery be what Howard needs to get back on track?
Howard will likely be the Eagles’ featured running back in 2019, and while Philadelphia certainly has a talented backfield, Howard looks like the top dog right now.
If he can come even close to performing the way he did in his rookie year when he racked up 1,313 yards on the ground, the Eagles’ offense might end up being lethal.
3. The Return of DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson spent the first six years of his NFL career in Philly, making three Pro Bowl appearances.
Since then, Jackson has been on the decline, spending the last five seasons with the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and posting largely underwhelming results.
Can Jackson get his groove back in Philadelphia?
It probably won’t be as simple as merely returning home, as Jackson is 32 years old and can’t do the kinds of things he did six years ago, but in a better offensive system with more weapons around him, Jackson should certainly be better off in Philly than he was in Tampa Bay.
2. Can the Defense Improve?
The Eagles’ defense ranked 23rd in the NFL this past season, but with the addition of Malik Jackson and with Ronald Darby potentially getting healthy for the first time in what is now his three-year tenure with Philadelphia, the Birds could be better defensively in 2019.
It’s not like Philly doesn’t have talent on that side of the ball.
Fletcher Cox is a terrific pass rusher, and Malcolm Jenkins is one of the league’s better safeties. Plus, Jackson is two years removed from a brilliant season in Jacksonville.
But there is no doubt there are some question marks here, as the Eagles lost defensive end Michael Bennett and linebacker Jordan Hicks to free agency.
1. Can Carson Wentz Stay Healthy?
There is no doubt that Carson Wentz can play. The question is, can he stay healthy?
Each of his last two seasons was ended prematurely, with a torn ACL ending Wentz’s season in 2017 and a back issue putting a period at the end of his 2018 campaign after just 11 games.
The difference this year is that Nick Foles is no longer around to come to the rescue, so the Eagles don’t have the luxury of having a terrific backup if Wentz gets hurt again.
Wentz seems to be coming along slowly but surely, and all indications are that he will be just fine, especially given how good he has looked at organized team activities.
But the Eagles need Wentz to play a full 16-game campaign this time around, or there won’t be any more chances of any more magical runs.