With the start of the NFL preseason, football has officially arrived and the Eagles continue to be a team to watch out for.
While there are plenty of expectations for this developed and captivating team, certain aspects and specific players will warrant a deeper focus and sense of intrigue. There is a fair amount of optimism to notice with several key additions, such as A.J. Brown and James Bradberry, but only time will tell how successful or not the organization will be.
When the roster is finalized, it should have the capability to compete and dominate just about any other team. The weapons that Jalen Hurts now has will give him every opportunity to finally prove all of the doubters wrong. As for the defense, feelings that this group can exceed expectations are all up to Jonathan Gannon’s willingness to be more aggressive. Nick Sirianni’s team has the ability to really shock the entire NFL after an average 2021 season. It is going to be an interesting season to watch how this team performs, but it never hurts to put out some predictions for certain players.
Miles Sanders will rush for 1,000+ yards
Sanders is entering a big year in his early NFL career with Philadelphia where is fighting to earn a new contract extension. The Eagles running back situation has featured a balanced workload throughout training camp between Sanders and second-year guy Kenny Gainwell. Despite some controversies about Sanders taking second-team reps or simply potentially losing snaps to Gainwell, it appears that the general consensus is that Sanders remains to be the RB1. His injuries last season damaged his ability really solidify how much of an impact he is, he has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be the reliable primary ballcarrier.
“I still think he [Miles Sanders] does a good job and can clearly do some damage when he’s locked in,” said Hunter Brody on JAKIB Sports’ “Birds 365″ on Thursday. “So, as a core, I’m not screaming that they need to upgrade [at running back].”
Miles Sanders could be a huge 🔑 to the #Eagles having success this season #FlyEaglesFly | @BoobieMilesXXIV pic.twitter.com/L3nh4sxipk
— JAKIB Sports (@JAKIBSports) August 5, 2022
Shane Steichen’s return to the playcalling responsibilities should benefit Sanders, as long he remains healthy. The 2021 offense thrived on the run game, with Philadelphia’s stellar offensive line Sanders will get plenty of chances and room to finally have a true breakout season. While there are rumors that the playcalling will feature an uptick in throwing the ball, utilizing Sanders in the run game should continue to be a reliable option. The former Nittany Lion has never put up a 1,000+ rushing yard season, with his second season being the closest with 867 yards. Yet, he will be under the spotlight this season as will work to show he deserves to be an investment for years to come and Sanders will be up for the challenge.
Jordan Mailata will make an All-Pro team
In a recent article by the NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund, Mailata was named as the tenth most underrated player in the NFL. Mailata has become one of Philadelphia’s most unique stories and a very important member of the team. His journey from playing rugby in Australia with no football experience, let alone offensive tackle knowledge, to now being such a difference maker for the Eagles’ offense is quite remarkable. The big man had a fantastic 2021 season where dominated opposing defensive lines and was recognized as Pro Football Focus’ third-highest rated tackle in the league with an overall 88.3 rating, landing him only behind Trent Williams and Tyron Smith.
The 6-foot-8 Australian behemoth has already earned the respect of his competitors, but he is capable of even greater recognition and accolades. Making an NFL All-Pro team is no simple task as there are so many elite players to be on the lookout for. Nevertheless, Mailata has proven that he has what it takes to stack up with those top-tier tackles and handle just about any defensive lineman that lines up across from him. Being the blindside protector for Jalen Hurts is all he should be worrying about, but he has the intangibles to be viewed along the lines of the best in the league. Another impressive season could warrant serious consideration for him to join fellow tackle Lane Johnson on the All-Pro list.
Josh Sweat will get 10+ sacks
There is a fair amount of intrigue when it comes to the defensive line and specifically the edge rushers, and for good reason. After last season’s disappointing pass rush displays week in and week out, the expectation of major improvement remains at the forefront. The addition of Haason Reddick and the return of Brandon Graham will help to reinvigorate the defensive front, but Josh Sweat will be there just as prominently. After getting the chance to play consistently after Graham went down, Sweat thoroughly heightened his game.
“Josh Sweat is about to take that next step, take his game to the next level,” said Derrick Gunn on JAKIB Sports’ “Sports Take” on Thursday. “I expect him to have a standout season this year.”
Lane Johnson says Josh Sweat has the ability to take over a football game. 😤#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/qdz2Nf0Tk4
— JAKIB Sports (@JAKIBSports) August 9, 2022
The former Florida State product represented the majority of production in a struggling pass rush group last season. Although he thrived in winning 1-on-1 opportunities and providing pressure, his 7.5 sacks could have been better given that he saw a major increase in snaps. This season provides a brand new chance to cement himself as a monumental factor for the defense. Despite the added depth around him that he will be competing with for playing time, the attention that those others will warrant should allow Sweat to really flourish. Sweat has also had a fantastic training camp so far, reaching 10 sacks is very obtainable, after his numbers continue to rise each season.
2022 Season Outlook and Record Prediction
As excitement continues to build and expectations for this Eagles team remain high, this improved roster gives Philadelphia a real chance to make some serious noise this season. The offense appears to be a unit that can make the big play at any given moment with the newly found strength in the WR room and the intimidating offensive line. The running back situation should manage to succeed when necessary, but it all rides on the performance of Jalen Hurts and he is ready to prove the critics wrong.
The improved defense has serious potential and if they can effectively utilize the immense amount of talent present, this defense should be among the best in the league. Philadelphia has a very favorable schedule ahead of them with a couple of stretches that will provide some major tests. If Sirianni and his squad play their cards right, Philadephia will be a definitive playoff contender and beyond.
Regular Season Outcome Prediction: 11-6, 1st in the NFC East
– You can reach Alex Schmidt at email@example.com