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Philadelphia Eagles 2016: We've Got Our Predictions

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Many NFL teams have question marks going into the season, and the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles are no exception.

 

With the entire trajectory of their season practically altered with Sam Bradford’s trade to the Vikings last weekend, the team is boldly putting their fortunes squarely on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.

 

Our Philly2Philly panel recently shared their thoughts in regards to where they think this Eagles team is headed.Photo: Insidetheiggles.com

 

Here they are:

 

Ryan Downs

@downsy78

 

Now that the tug of war between Sam Bradford and Howie Roseman is over, the landscape of the 2016 Eagles has shifted significantly.

 

Rookie Carson Wentz is no longer on ice, and hopefully the same continues to apply to his ribs. Very rarely do players make an immediate transition from Division I-AA college football to the NFL, and there is reason for that. This season will be all about the growth and development of Wentz, plain and simple. Roseman and the front office went all in for the big kid from North Dakota State, and their trade of Bradford reinforces that notion.

 

As for predicting a record, I'll be cautiously optimistic and go with 7-9. I do trust the defense to have some big moments, and this prediction assumes zero starts for backup QB Chase Daniel. This team lacks weapons on offense and just won't be able to score enough to win consistently.

 

ryan.downs1@comcast.net

 

 

Steve Olenski   

@steveolesnki

 

For those of you old enough to remember Chip Kelly's first year, there was a need for much patience as we did not know what to expect. I for one, was looking for progress in Chip's first year. I thought if we could see the team getting better throughout the year, that would be a positive.

 

Of course, that all went by the wayside when they shocked everyone by making the playoffs. I think it's back to the future this year under Doug Pederson. I think patience and progress will be the two operative words. I realize that Eagles fans (yours truly included) have very little of the former. But if we see the latter, that's all anyone can really ask for this coming season.

 

As far as a record, my original Sam Bradford inspired prediction was 7-9. Now, however, with Carson Wentz under center, I am going to scale that back somewhat and go with 5-11, possibly 6-10.

 

steveolenski@yahoo.com

 

 

Bill Vargus

@BillyVargus

 

One thing all of us who live in the Philadelphia area are familiar with are construction delays: On I-95, on the Schuykill, on city streets, and now especially at the Stadium Complex.  Delays while the rebuilding of the Phillies, Flyers and Sixers take takes place- and now, the Eagles.  

 

With rookie Carson Wentz now the starting QB, there will be lots of growing pains. Though everyone is excited about his raw skills, he still needs to improve his mechanics, which result in a tendency to throw everything high. Remember how most Eagles fans were drooling all over themselves during the previous offseason at the thought that the team might be able to acquire Marcus Mariota? It didn’t happen, and he played for the Titans of Tennessee. Even though he showed some signs of potential greatness, he ended up finishing 24th in the league in passing.   It’s not easy, but it’s true: You just have to be patient with young quarterbacks.

 

At the same time,  the Eagles do have the benefit of playing in a weak division. We’ll see if Kirk Cousins can repeat his breakout year in Washington. If not, the division is wide open now that Dallas has lost Tony Romo yet again. Maybe Wentz proves to be a fast learner, Dorial Green-Beckham stays focused and turns into a real stud (and I think he will), and the Eagles defense proves to be all they’re cracked up to be—then they can make a run at the division title.

 

More than likely, they’re a sub-.500 football team this year, and we’ll all have to try to avoid road rage as we sit there watching this young team make its mistakes.

 

bvargus@aol.com

 

Matt Goldberg  

@tipofgoldberg

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Sam Bradford trade came out of nowhere, right after I made my initial pick. I really don't know how to revise it, but I definitely like the move, even if it won't pay immediate dividends.

 

Or will it?

 

We still have a first-time (anywhere) head coach mentored by Andy Reid, more power for Howie Roseman, great uncertainty with our two best O-linemen, a subpar set of offensive weapons, and new defensive coordinator and system. And oh yeah, Carson Wentz gets under center right away.  

 

What could possibly go wrong in 2016?

 

Well, quite a bit, but……thinking more positively:

 

-What if Doug Pederson knows what he’s doing and he, like his mentor, seems to be a players’ coach (and weren’t most of us clamoring for Chip to go to the other coast?).

 

-What if Jason Peters has one more good year in him and we get enough out of a talented, coming-into-his prime Lane Johnson? And perhaps, the other linemen won’t stink.

 

-I’m a Jordan Matthews fan, think Zach Ertz will finally have a big year after showing flashes, and isn’t it time that another receiver (DGB? Turner? Huff or Agholor? I’m begging) becomes legit?

 

-As to running the ball, what we have here is a committee which could be effective enough for the 2016 Birds’ offensive to be, well, adequate. And yes, Wentz, while quite raw, is obviously physically and mentally gifted, and it will be interesting to see if he will be ready sooner rather than later.

 

My comparative optimism comes more from the D, which I think will reap benefits from their upgrade to Jim Schwartz from Billy Davis. The Schwartz is with us, and so is a budding superstar in DT Fletcher Cox, our anchor and best player by a large margin. Yes, I think he can be as dominant as a prime Ndamukong Suh--and without any of the baggage!

 

I also envision a stout, attacking Front 7, who will help out our not-terrible (I hope) corners and pretty strong safeties. All in all, it’s a solid defense that could combine with a competent special teams unit to give the Birds some stability, and not need the offense to be potent.

 

Another cause for optimism is the mediocre NFC East–-weak on paper again, and with the Cowboys’ Tony Romo (I don’t think Dak Prescott will be elite right away) starting the season on the shelf.

 

So, I foresee 7-9-type talent, but will spot them an extra win, given the suspect division. All this adds up to 8-8, which may not be enough to get the Birds in the postseason, but easily enough to get fans salivating for 2017 and beyond.

 

-Matt Goldberg, author, speaker, and co-author of A Snowball's Chance

 

matt@tipofthegoldberg.com

 

 

Earl Myers

@EMyersIII Photo: nj.com

 

As the Philadelphia Eagles begin the 2016 NFL campaign, it’s time to make a bold—and likely wrong—prediction.  

I’ll get to the number of losses I expect the Eagles to suffer in a moment (hint: it’s a lot), but first, I should briefly explain why.

Chip Kelly’s firing means Howie Roseman is in charge of the front office, and he used his newfound influence to hire a first-year head coach in Doug Pederson. Later, he traded up in the draft to acquire a quarterback (Carson Wentz) who dominated FCS football for about one season. In doing so, he mortgaged the future similarly to the way Washington did in 2012, when they selected quarterback Robert Griffin III.  

Trading quarterback Sam Bradford to the Vikings helps, but Roseman still must prove his mettle as an NFL talent evaluator, not just a guy who can make trades.

Whether Wentz becomes a good player is debatable, but two problems loom this season: First time head coaches often get exposed, and the NFL is hard on rookie quarterbacks. That leaves the Eagles at a significant disadvantage.

Add in question marks at wide receiver, holes along the offensive line (thanks again, Lane Johnson) and new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s often undisciplined units, and double-digit losses is likely.  

4-12 likely.  

emyersiii@gmail.com

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Joe Vallee

@JoeVallee214

Prior to Saturday, some eternally optimistic Eagles fans believed the Birds’ could possibly make a run at a weak NFC East.

Well…..that mindset seems to have changed a bit over the last few days—and all because Teddy Bridgewater got injured.

Apparently, the Eagles were committed with moving forward with Sam Bradford during the 2016 season- and coming from an organization that seemingly prides itself in fallacies and deceit, there’s actually no reason to believe otherwise here.

That being said, I’m not so sure throwing Carson Wentz to the wolves in Week 1 against the Browns is the way to go just yet. Doug Pederson himself played most of the 1999 season, before making way for Donovan McNabb near the end of November. As we know, Wentz only played a series of snaps in the preseason before his injury, and giving him the keys to the proverbial kingdom could ruin this kid if his confidence wavers. This isn’t North Dakota State anymore. Moreover, the offense is shaky at best. Lane Johnson’s future is still undecided, Jason Peters is literally an injury away from retirement, and it’s not like you have a wide receiving tandem of Jerry Rice and John Taylor out there, either. Would it hurt to have Chase Daniel out there for a bit?

The only saving grace here is that the defense can only get better. Barring a major catastrophe, the addition of Jim Schwartz almost guarantees the team will not be 28th again in points allowed. It’s going to be interesting what he can do with Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, a healthy Jordan Hicks and veterans Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod- who will be a physical presence in the secondary.

Before anybody goes praising Howie Roseman for NFL Executive of the Year, all he’s really shown is that he can fleece teams (see: Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to the Dolphins, Bradford to the Vikings for  Bradford to the Vikings for not one, but two draft picks). Wait a minute: Howie Roseman is sneaky? Perish the thought.

Verdict: To be blunt, prior to the announcement that Wentz would be the immediate starter, I wasn’t looking forward to this Eagles season. At all. The disappointment of the Chip Kelly era had finally settled in, and the discontent of yours truly was palpable at the thought of Jeffrey Lurie and Roseman further running this franchise into the ground- which they still probably will.

Wentz could have a rough go of it this year, and one can hope this doesn’t shatter his confidence in the long run. If he falters, it will be more of the same around here: Your typical Eagles yearly soap opera. Either way, this team could easily lose 12 games. If we get surprised and the defense holds up, it could make a difference of two-three wins, but not much else.

Then again, this is coming from the same guy who  thought Big Balls Chip's offense would be unstoppable going into the 2015 season. So much for that.

I'm going with 5-11.

 jvallee@philly2philly.com

 



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Wentz photo: insidetheiggles.com

 

Howie Roseman photo: nj.com

 

Wentz-Bradford photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports