FOX Sports activities Cowboys author Dave Helman previews the AFC South division headlining the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, and the Houston Texans. How will rookie QBs Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud fare for the Colts and the Texans? Can the Titans nonetheless win the division? Are the Jaguars the brand new favorites now? Take a look at Helman’s takes right here!
The Philadelphia Eagles entered the offseason on high of the world — or a minimum of the NFC — and common supervisor Howie Roseman did his finest to maintain them there. He gave quarterback Jalen Hurts his well-earned mega-contract, he saved the core of his workforce collectively, added some younger expertise, and even managed to search out a few low-cost operating again steals.
However none of that addressed the one massive factor that may seemingly inform the story of the Eagles’ 2023 season. Your complete group gave every part it had final 12 months to get to Tremendous Bowl LVII and fell simply brief, dropping to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs 28-23. It was exhausting and draining, each bodily and mentally.
Can the Eagles muster the drive and vitality and keenness to do all of it once more?
“We have been shut, and all that does is make me hungrier to get again,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni mentioned one week after the Tremendous Bowl ended. “Once you see the purple and yellow confetti fall or you could have a chunk of it caught in your shirt, you suppose to your self I’ve to do every part I can to assist our guys get again to this second.
“We speak about climbing the mountain … after which we slip proper earlier than we have been capable of put our flag on the high of the mountain. All that does is make you extra decided, pushed, to make that climb once more, to get again to the highest and hopefully stand on the high.”
No less than that is what he hopes — that there will be no Tremendous Bowl hangover for a workforce with a minimum of considerably of an getting older core. It is as much as him to revive that dedication, beginning with coaching camp this summer time.
And that is one of many 5 largest storylines to observe when defending NFC champs open camp on Tuesday morning:
1. Coping with the dreaded (and actual) Tremendous Bowl hangover
In fact, they are going to say they’ll. In fact, Sirianni believes they’ll. However there are dozens of examples in NFL historical past of groups that fell sufferer to it. There is a cause there hasn’t been a repeat Tremendous Bowl champion in almost 20 years (because the New England Patriots in 2003-04). There hasn’t even been a repeat champion within the NFC East because the Eagles run of 4 straight division titles from 2001-04.
And possibly worse for the Eagles, within the three a long time because the Buffalo Payments misplaced 4 straight Tremendous Bowls within the early Nineties, just one workforce — the 2018 Patriots — acquired again to the Tremendous Bowl the 12 months after they misplaced it.
Historical past reveals the Eagles cannot depend on the identical breaks and good well being they often loved final season, however a minimum of they have mostly the same talent on the roster. It stays to be seen if that is all they should do all of it once more.
2. The following step for quarterback Jalen Hurts: Constant greatness
Hurts had an outstanding season, throwing for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns, whereas operating for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns. He earned the MVP consideration he acquired and, in fact, he led his workforce to the Tremendous Bowl — and really almost a Tremendous Bowl title.
The SPEAK crew debates if Jalen Hurts will stay as much as his 5-year, $255M extension.
All of that satisfied the Eagles to present him a five-year, $255 million contract with almost $180 million in assured cash. It is in all probability a smart funding within the 24-year-old star, however it additionally turned the microscope on the truth that he is actually solely had one nice season. For $51 million per 12 months, he is anticipated now to do it many times and once more.
Hurts insisted he is as motivated as ever to be nice once more as a result of “the journey’s not over”. And he swore that whereas “cash is sweet, championships are higher.”
There is definitely no cause to suppose that final 12 months was something however the begin of an ideal profession for Hurts. However the stress is on him now to be sure that the cash and a style of the largest stage in sports activities would not trigger him to take a step again.
3. Who let the Dawgs out?
Roseman’s seeming obsession with amassing Georgia Bulldogs has made for lots of enjoyable tales and nice quotes, particularly after he drafted two extra within the first spherical this 12 months after which traded for a former Georgia operating again, too. But this isn’t just some novelty story.
The Eagles want all their Dawgs to essentially assist.
Eagles sit close to high of NFL ability place rankings.
There are six of them and all of them determine to be key contributors this season. Defensive deal with Jordan Davis, final 12 months’s first-rounder, is predicted to step in to fill the sneakers of the departed Javon Hargrave who had 11 sacks final season. Nakobe Dean, a third-round choose from 2022, is more likely to be the beginning center linebacker. And this 12 months’s first-round Dawgs — defensive deal with Jalen Carter and defensive finish Nolan Smith — determine to have massive roles within the line of defense and pass-rushing rotation, whereas fourth-round cornerback Kelee Ringo needs to be a minimum of a small a part of the nook rotation from the beginning.
The sixth participant is operating again D’Andre Swift, whom the Eagles acquired in a commerce from Detroit. He’ll nearly definitely be the beginning operating again and the chief of a rotation the Eagles hope will maintain their dashing assault ranked within the high 5 as soon as once more.
4. Roseman’s low-budget operating again experiment
And even now, all-pro Dalvin Cook is sitting on the market for anybody to seize, so long as they’re prepared to pay him. And there is not even a touch that Roseman or the Eagles have an interest.
Can the Eagles keep away from a Tremendous Bowl hangover in 2023?
Why? As a result of he acquired the 24-year-old Swift for a 2025 fourth-round choose and he signed 27-year-old Rashaad Penny, who broke his leg final October, to a one-year, $1.35 million deal. Each are damage dangers. Neither has ever topped 750 dashing yards in a season.
However Roseman is satisfied that these two, plus Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, and naturally Hurts, are greater than sufficient to energy what he nonetheless thinks is one of the best dashing assault within the league behind the league’s finest offensive line. And everybody shall be watching all summer time to see if he is proper.
5. Secondary issues
There have been few secondaries as sturdy as Philadelphia’s final season, however there are some adjustments to keep watch over this summer time. Corners Darius Slay and James Bradberry are again, however in a couple of days they will each be of their 30s. And a key cog of the secondary — security C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who had a league-leading six interceptions in simply 12 video games final season — wasn’t resigned. Neither was their different beginning security, Marcus Epps.
Security is not precisely a precedence place for Roseman, although he did signal veterans Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans to assist fill the hole. He additionally drafted security Sydney Brown within the third spherical and Ringo within the fourth, who each have an opportunity to get into the rotation in nickel and dime defenses.
The energy of the secondary shall be necessary for brand spanking new defensive coordinator Sean Desai, particularly because the protection he inherited had a near-record 70 sacks final season they usually’re not more likely to attain these heights once more.
Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Each day Information. Observe him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.
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