We’re having fun again! It’s arguably been the best off-season in franchise history, and a true Howie Roseman redemption story. The belief is back, building blocks are in place, and past narratives of DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson are beginning to be put to rest.
The Philadelphia Eagles went from a cap handcuffed roster in 2021 after the Carson Wentz trade to cap freedom, possibilities, and a rebuilt roster. They even have the picks and cap flexibility to go on if 2022 does not go as planned. We’re still floating on air from the AJ Brown trade, Hassan Riddick signing, and the Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean draft picks.
The Eagles actually care about the linebacker and wide receiver positions again. What a dream!
However, is the team getting too much hype too soon?
“Dream Team” Take Two
Nothing is guaranteed, and we all remember the 2011 “dream team” Philadelphia Eagles. They’ve become a regular cautionary tale for any NFL team experiencing a great off-season. Flashy names like Nnamdi Asomugha, Vince Young, and Ronnie Brown made that off-season seemed like a dream too. Unfortunately that 2011 team would fall to 8-8, two games worse than the prior season and the “dream team” jokes were cemented.
Enough horror stories for now. This isn’t 2011. That 2011 team threw a bunch of players together, ones that didn’t fit the scheme. They had Nnamdi Agomugha stray from man coverage with less safety help, something he wasn’t known to do. The 2022 Eagles off-season is so powerful because they are making the RIGHT moves. They’re focusing on playmakers, depth, and needs all at once.
AJ Brown adds a consistent 1,000-yard threat on the opposite side of an emerging Devonta Smith. Devonta was doubled multiple times in 2021 because Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins weren’t instilling that fear in defenses. Good luck doubling him now, teams! Zach Pascal and Quez Watkins will see increased targets as a result. There’s also Dallas Goedert and a stout offensive line, so the pieces are in place for Jalen Hurts to take the next step.
Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis bring run-stopping and pass-rushing ability, and Nakobe Dean potentially gives the Eagles the franchise linebacker they’ve been missing. The James Bradberry signing gives the Eagles secondary a respectable pass defender opposite Darius Slay. These moves are far from the square peg round hole approach in 2011.
The New Darling of the NFL?
Peter King thinks the Eagles will be a top 10 team this season, along with fans and many national media personalities. After the Bradberry signing, the Eagles super bowl odds dropped to +2500 at DraftKings Sportsbook and +1100 to win the NFC. The over/under for wins and losses is set at 9.5 at most books, which many seem to think is a little low. They won 9 games in 2021 with a tougher schedule and a more incomplete roster.
Is calling them a top 10 team really that ridiculous? They were a top 14 team in 2021 and playoff teams like Tennesee, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Arizona, arguably look worse on paper. You can argue the only thing holding the Eagles back is the Jalen Hurts factor and the coaching of Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon. Despite those questions, this is still a team with the second easiest schedule in the NFL and an upgraded roster.
Eagles Fans Should Embrace the Hype
Players and coaches are smart and plugged into social media. They know the NFL world is starting to notice the Philadelphia Eagles. Some would channel thoughts of 2011 and call this a bad omen. Some may think impressionable young players fall into the hype and lose focus. Maybe not.
This is the same team that crawled out of a 2-5 hole and went 7-3 to end their 2021 season to make the playoffs. This is the same team with a veteran Super Bowl presence in guys like Fletcher Cox, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Brandon Graham. Hype isn’t dangerous because the reasons to be concerned about the Eagles are just as loud.
For as much as we hear about the hype, Super Bowl odds, and the improved Eagles roster, we hear just as much about Jalen Hurts and his shortcomings. We hear about how Nick Sirianni is unproven and how an easy schedule won’t prove the Eagles to be an elite team. We hear about the Dallas Cowboys and how they’ll win the division with ease.
Hype isn’t dangerous because hype doesn’t have a direct impact on what will happen. Embrace the hype, Eagles fans. The last four seasons have been up and down but the beauty of sports is being able to wipe the slate clean. Howie Roseman directed that clean slate, with Lurie allowing him to have that control.
Barring injury, the sky is the limit with this current team. Embrace the hype, cautiously of course.