Through all of this — a pandemic, an unstable national landscape, and the uncertainty that comes with it — we somehow made it back to another year of Philadelphia Eagles football. That in itself is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, even if the manner in which we got here in the first place was questionable.
But that’s a completely different conversation for another day with people who are far more qualified to speak on that issue.
After a summer of social-distancing, keeping apart from friends and loved ones, and a sporadic, sports schedule, a semblance of normalcy returns with the Eagles taking the field and coming into our homes every Sunday.
For that, there is reason to be thankful.
But that feeling of relief just to see them return will ultimately give way to the annual need of the Eagles contending for not just the playoffs, but a return to the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia enters the 2020 NFL season with high expectations as one of the favorites to win the NFC East having already won two division crowns in the last three years.
There comes the hope that Carson Wentz can put together a full, healthy season, which includes both the regular season and playoffs for the first time in his career.
It’s an unfair narrative that has been placed on the fifth-year pro, but his availability will be paramount to his team’s success in 2020.
His supporting cast in terms of playmakers isn’t necessarily running over. Much of the same personnel returns, just that top receiver DeSean Jackson is healthy while the Eagles might have the best duo of tight ends in the league in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.
Rookie Jalen Reagor is nursing an injury while new acquisition Marquise Goodwin opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Even Alshon Jeffery is questionable to start the season.
The rest of Philadelphia’s weapons leaves much to be desired, especially with starting running back Miles Sanders battling a hamstring injury that puts his Week 1 status in question.
Second-stringers and former practice squaders ranging from Boston Scott to Greg Ward — who stepped up in a big way down the stretch last season — will have a big role to play once again. But how sustainable can it be?
With Wentz, it might not matter even though the scoring offense was a huge culprit as to why the Eagles’ season didn’t last longer than it did. Despite a lean roster last season, he still completed 65.7% of his passes for 2,390 yards, 14 touchdowns, and just three interceptions over the final nine games of the regular season, going 6-3 during that stretch.
That’s the kind of production the Eagles will need out of Wentz in 2020 to keep them in contention for the NFC East, and it will be up to a makeshift, rag-tag offensive line to ensure that he stays on his feet and healthy.
Injuries have swept through the line’s ranks already with Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks suffering season-ending injuries. It’s forced the Eagles to move veteran Jason Peters from guard to tackle and shift Matt Pryor to right guard. Jason Kelce is the only listed center, with Isaac Seumalo as a potential backup if needed.
It’s all about versatility on the O-Line this year or else the Eagles’ offense will never get off the ground.
That mantra extends to the defense — particularly the secondary — which has tabled the idea of playing “positionless” aerial defense. Based on their depth chart alone, that seems to be the plan as some of Philadelphia’s safeties have experience playing at the cornerback position. They’ll help fill the void that came with the recent cuts of Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas.
Despite those major question marks, this is an Eagles team that could realistically pull off at least 10 wins this season, especially in an NFC East that is a two-horse race between them and the Dallas Cowboys.