Philadelphia Eagles: 3 Reasonable expectations for Week 1

Josh Sweat (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Josh Sweat (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Fletcher Cox (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles defense will see familiar packages in Week 1.

Did we mention that the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons share quite a few similarities? The Falcons’ new head coach, Arthur Smith, runs a style of offense that may be familiar to many Eagles fans. Once the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, Smith often ran 12 personnel packages (two tight ends, two wide receivers, and a running back are on the field).

Does that sound familiar?

This had a lot to do with ensuring the Titans featured player, running back Derrick Henry, had good blocking to spring through the offensive line. Now, the Falcons don’t have a Henry-type of runner, but who does right? What they do have is a solid set of tight ends that can be deployed in various schemes. Atlanta’s first-round draft pick tight end Kyle Pitts and veteran tight end Hayden Hurst make for a solid tight end duo.

Atlanta also still has their star wide receiver, Calvin Ridley. He amassed over a thousand receiving yards last season and became quarterback Matt Ryan’s go-to guy. Some might argue that a lot of Ridley’s success was due to Julio Jones being on the other side of the field, but Ridley proved that he could thrive in Julio’s absence as we saw the future Hall of Famer sit out of multiple games in 2020.

The good news for Eagles fans is that the Birds defense should disrupt Atlanta’s offensive scheme. One of the large bright spots on this team this season is its defense, who is on it, and the schemes they will be running. This defense can line up in a 4-3 or 3-4 formation, and from what fans have heard out of training camp, it now includes the SAM linebacker position.

What is the SAM linebacker position? It typically is the strongside linebacker lining up with the most offensive personal, mainly across from the tight end. Why is this position useful? It removes not only a possible receiver from any given play, but also ensures that the extra person on the offensive side is checked at the line of scrimmage, helping to limit the amount of play-making ability. So for an Atlanta offense that may run-heavy 12 personal, this is a great matchup.

Edge: Philadelphia Eagles