There are four questions for the Philadelphia Eagles regular season that need an answer. The preseason is finally over and although the Philadelphia Eagles finished .500, they did make it out relatively healthy which is always considered a success. Throughout the preseason we have learned a lot about this team, however there are still some questions that need have yet to be answered if this team is going to make a serious push atop the NFC.
1. Can Jeremy Maclin stay healthy?
Maclin has only played a full NFL season once in his six year NFL career. The Eagles wide receiver is now coming off of a torn ACL after spending all of last season on the sidelines and will have to prove he can stay on the field.
Thus far however, Maclin has had a couple of scares during training camp and the preseason hurting his hamstring in a joined practice with the New England Patriots and then got hurt again in last week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Eagles are relying on Maclin to be their number one receiver, therefore they are going to need him to stay healthy, which isn’t as much of a certainty as some would like. Maybe Maclin has just been playing it safe in the preseason as not to further the injury, but the fact that he has only ever played one full season in his career is a concern and the Eagles need to be prepared with a backup plan.
2. Eagles Wide Receiver Depth
This and the previous question are connected, but they are both fair questions. Behind Maclin and Cooper, the Eagles don’t really have anybody that has meaningful wide receiver experience in the NFL. Quarterback Nick Foles struggled against the Bears while both Cooper and Maclin were out as he threw two interceptions in limited snaps.
If Cooper and Maclin go out you’ree looking at guys like Arrelious Benn, Brad Smith or Jeff Maehl starting, and those guys can be nice role players, but obviously, it’s not ideal if they have to start, and you can’t help but be a little bit nervous.
3. Pass Rush
Rushing the passer was a big problem for the Eagles last season as the Eagles came in 20th in total sacks and were next to last in sack percentage. Throughout four preseason games, that hasn’t seemed to change even with the addition of first round pick Marcus Smith.
The Eagles have only managed three sacks throughout the entire preseason which is dead last in the NFL, and although it is “ONLY” preseason, as if we haven’t heard that enough, it is still a concern. Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry appear to be the best pass rusher on the team, but come the regular season, they will need to prove that.
The Eagles don’t need to have a pass rush like that of the Carolina Panthers or St. Louis Rams, but one that can make the quarterback feel uncomfortable or force a bad throw here and there would be nice.
It looks like this question may have been solved with Cody Parkey, but the young kicker out of Auburn still has a lot to prove before he gains our confidence, he is no murder-leg after all. Parkey looks to have the leg up in the competion, but this is still an area of concern of the Eagles.
A kicker may not be the most important position on the field, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t important at all and doesn’t hold any power on a team. Over the past 20-years 23.59% of games were decided by 3 or less, the same number is true for the past five years.
This means that a kicker has the power of winning or losing a game for their team and having a kicker that has the ability and a kicker that you trust to make that kick, is very important.
We are 10 days away from the beginning of the 2014 regular season and we will see whether or not these issues in the preseason will become issues in the regular season.
Tags: Philadelphia Eagles