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7 pertinent questions for the Eagles as the season opener approaches


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7 pertinent questions for the Eagles as the season opener approaches

Glenn Erby 
September 7, 2021 2:58 pm ET

The Eagles are in regular-season mode and as the Birds sit just five days out from kicking off at Atlanta, there are several pertinent questions that need to be answered.

Whether it’s Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, the offensive line, or Jonathan Gannon’s defense, we’ve highlighted seven questions that need to be answered.

1. Can Miles Sanders be a lead Running Back?


(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

A second-round pick in 2019, Sanders has reached that point in his career where he can start discussing a potential contract extension. There’s no fifth-year option for the Eagles to fall back on, so the time is now for the former Penn State star running back.

As a rookie, Sanders set Philadelphia’s franchise rookie records for all-purpose yards (1,641) and yards from scrimmage (1,327).

In 2020, running behind a battered offensive line, Sanders missed four games with hamstring and knee injuries, while only rushing for 867-yards six rushing touchdowns.

As a pass-catcher, Sanders went from 50 receptions on 63 targets for 509 yards and three TDs in 2019 to 28 catches on 52 targets for 197 yards and no touchdowns.

Jalen Hurts will have an easier time succeeding if Sanders can hit the ground running in 2021.

2. DeVonta Smith true No. 1 wideout?


(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Smith no doubt is the top wide receiver on the Eagles’ roster, but fans and pundits need to see the Heisman Trophy winner dominate opposing cornerbacks to the tune of an Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

3. Can Nick Sirianni bring balance to Philadelphia's offense?


(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Eagles love good quarterback play and they prefer the deep ball among everything else, but the thing to watch will be how Nick Sirianni is able to balance out life in the running and passing game.

As the offensive coordinator with the Colts last season, Sirianni’s group ranked 10th in rushing attempts with 459 compared to 403 for the Eagles, which ranked 24th in the league.

The year prior, the Colts were fifth in rushing attempts (471), while the Eagles were seventh (454).

Jalen Hurts’ presence alone will reduce some of the passing attempts at the line of scrimmage and if Sirianni can let Philadelphia’s offensive line dictate the pace, the Eagles defense could be the real winner here.

4. Can Brandon Brooks return to dominance?


Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles are a physically dominant group when Brooks is healthy and the league’s best right guard is back to team up with Lane Johnson.

A three-time Pro Bowler (2017-2019), this team will go as Brooks goes.

5. Can Jonathan Gannon's defense stop the run?


Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles’ defensive front is stout, but it’ll be on Eric Wilson, Genard Avery, and Alex Singleton to ensure that Philadelphia’s run defense is stout as well. Wilson and Singleton logged tackles with the best of them, but they’re both also among the leaders in the NFL when it comes to missed tackles.

If Philadelphia can tighten up the run defense, it could be a top-7 unit.

6. Can Jalen Hurts finally silence the doubters?


(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

There’s a terrific backfield, some top-flight wide receiver talent, and two dynamic tight ends on the Eagles roster. If Jalen Hurts can blend all that talent, while increasing his completion percentage, the second-round pick could finally silence the doubters, while giving Howie Roseman permission to use three potential first-round picks on building around a dynamic quarterback who’s still on his rookie deal.

7. Can Eagles CB's survive the gauntlet over 17-weeks


(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

With the AFC West and NFC South on the schedule along with the Lions, 49ers, and Jets, Philadelphia will face some of the top pass catchers on the planet.

Darius Slay and Steven Nelson are top-notch cornerbacks and Avonte Maddox is solid, but the roster after that leaves cause for concern.

Philadelphia will face, Tyreek Hill, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, D.J. Moore, Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin, Kenny Golladay, Corey Davis, CeeDee Lamb, Antonio Brown, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Deebo Samuel, and Henry Ruggs III among others.

Behind the three starters are rookie Zech McPhearson, veteran Andre Chachere, alongside practice squad cornerbacks Michael Jacquet and Craig James.


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I don't know who Glen Erby is or who he writes for, but this is an article I enjoyed and found worth my time to read. 

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