Will the Philadelphia Eagles’ rivals see less scrambling from their QBs?
As mentioned earlier, it was an injury-plagued run for every NFC East team in 2020. Perhaps, the most newsworthy came when Dak Prescott went down in the Cowboys’ fifth game of the season with a compound fracture of his ankle.
Before 2020, Prescott averaged 313 rushing yards over each of his first three seasons, so he’s obviously a dual-threat. Will the injury convince Dak to scramble less often, or will Prescott return to his old form? If he does, Dallas might be the biggest threat to challenge Philly for ground superiority in the East.
Then, there’s Daniel Jones of the New York Giants. He rushed for 423 yards last season in 14 games. That made him New York’s second-leading rusher. Philly fans know he can burn in the open field. That is if he can keep his footing.
If Barkley comes back and looks like the Saquon Barkley we all remember, Jones’s numbers might decrease, but that’s not the biggest problem for the Giants quarterback, turnovers killing drives are.
Washington had a shuffle of quarterbacks last year, but none of them really had any bearing on the running game. Hopefully, that continues in 2021, and Philly’s defense can get a few hits on some stationary guys. In 2021, Washington will probably lean on their running backs, but their new starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, can run with the ball when he has to. Fitzpatrick averaged 191 rushing yards over two seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
Verdict: The Eagles can definitely remain the NFC East’s best running team thanks to a franchise back in Sanders, the elusiveness of Hurts, and some steady contributions from backups and their role players.
If Sanders can’t stay healthy, the offensive line gets hurt again, and Hurts doesn’t have any protection, Philly is going to see some long days and nights, and the NFC East will be a pressure cooker in 2021. Fans should cross their fingers and hope that this team stays healthy.