Eagles’ week-one formula can be a recipe for success in 2017

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Carson Wentz
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Quarterback Carson Wentz /

Carson Wentz and the Eagles defensive line have all the tools to lead the franchise to new heights.

There are several takeaways from the Philadelphia Eagles‘ week-one victory over the Washington Redskins. In fact, there are two things that really stood out. The first being Carson Wentz, who showed poise and signs of brilliance. The other being the front four led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, who dominated the line of scrimmage. Not only were these factors key in the victory on Sunday. They can potentially be key to multiple Eagles victories going forward.

Carson City!

Wentz showed on Sunday why he has all the makings of an elite NFL quarterback. Wentz completed 26 out of 39 passes for 307 yards, and he threw two touchdowns and one interception. What was very impressive about the second year signal caller was his patience in the pocket. Despite being pressured at times, Wentz was able to use his feet to extend plays. There was no play that demonstrated that better than Wentz’s 58-yard touchdown bomb to Nelson Agholor.

ESPN Eagles beat writer Tim McManus made note of Wentz’s poise in the pocket on Twitter.

Wentz’s ability scramble is attributed to his athleticism that was displayed at North Dakota State. Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, His skill set was constantly compared to that of two-time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger. His ability to extend plays will help the offense in not giving up negative plays.

Trench warfare

Heading into the 2017 NFL season, the Eagles biggest strength was that of their defensive line unit. That certainly was the case on Sunday. Anchored by Cox and Graham, the Eagles front four gave Kirk Cousins issues all game with their constant penetration. Cox proved why he is one of the premiere defensive tackles in all of football. Cox had one sack, one tackle, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. The last one resulted in a defensive touchdown that would, ultimately, put the game away.

Graham also proved why he is one of the elite defensive ends in the league as well. The 2016 Second-team All-Pro ran amok Sunday accounting for two sacks, three tackles and one forced fumble that led to a touchdown.

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Timmy Jernigan, who was acquired from the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, also made his presence felt with a one sack and one tackle. Rookie Derek Barnett had a solid regular season debut, registering 2 tackles as well.

Despite the loss of newly acquired cornerback Ronald Darby (he went down with an ankle injury), the defense lifted the rest of their teammates to victory. Now, Darby’s out for 4-6 weeks with a dislocated ankle, and it will be up to the men in the trenches to carry the load.

If they can consistently pressure the quarterback, not only will they make it easier for the other units, they’ll allow for more big plays for the entire defense. If guys like Wentz, Cox, and Graham can play as well as they did on Sunday for the entire season, the Eagles could very well be playing in January.