Eagles analysis

Biggest Eagles questions by position: Offense

Looking at the biggest Eagles questions by position on the offensive side of the ball in 2024.

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The Eagles are now into their down time with about a month before they report for training camp on July 23.

While this team seems talented enough to compete for a Super Bowl, there are plenty of questions to be answered in training camp this summer.

Here are the top questions of the summer at each position on offense:

Quarterback: Will the new coaches get the most out of Jalen Hurts?

Sure, we’ll be watching Kenny Pickett and Tanner McKee this summer because they both have promise as the Eagles’ second- and third-string quarterbacks. But all eyes will obviously be on Hurts as he enters Year 5 in the NFL and his first year with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Hurts said this offseason that he yearns for more stability with the offensive coaching staff but that’s not an option right now. He has a new OC in Moore and a new quarterbacks coach in Doug Nussmieier and those two were brought in to fix the offense and get the most out of Hurts. The 25-year-old was still good last season but wasn’t able to duplicate his MVP runner up season from 2022. If the Eagles are going to have an elite offense this season, they’re going to need Hurts to be a top tier quarterback.

During the spring, we saw some growing pains and Hurts admitted that about 95% of the offense is new. That would explain why things didn’t look smooth. Of course, you don’t worry about that in the spring but if the offense gets too far behind during training camp, that will be a concern. With all the skill players at his disposal, the Eagles will want to see Hurts perform at a high level this summer going into a very important season.

Running back: Can Saquon Barkley return to form?

The other obvious question at running back is about the pecking order with Kenny Gainwell and Will Shipley behind Barkley. But if all goes to plan, Barkley is going to play the majority of snaps in 2024 after signing a three-year, $37.75 million contract this offseason to leave the Giants and join the Eagles.

During the spring, Barkley didn’t flash as much as you’d expect him to in a passing camp in shorts. So we’ll be looking for those flashy plays out of the former No. 2 overall pick this summer.

When Barkley has been healthy, he’s been one of the best running backs in the league but his career has seen some ups and downs. A couple years ago, Barkley had over 1,600 scrimmage yards but he battled through some nagging injuries in 2023 and his production dropped. At age 27, it’s not like Barkley is an old guy but he has logged a lot of touches in his career and it’s natural to wonder if he’s still the same Pro Bowler we’ve seen at times in his career.

Receiver: Who will be the WR3?

The Eagles obviously have one of the best duos of receivers in the NFL with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. But after that, they just don’t have much depth at the position — at least not depth that they can count on.

Last year at this time, the Eagles had Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus on the roster battling for the job. Ultimately, the Eagles brought in Julio Jones and the three of them split reps for most of the season.

But this year, there’s even less at the position in terms of guys they know can contribute. The top candidate to win the WR3 job is Parris Campbell. The veteran receiver was the top WR3 in spring camp but after a mostly injury-plagued career, it might not be wise to count on him staying healthy in 2024. The Eagles also have veteran John Ross, who hasn’t played in the league since 2021. They also have Britain Covey, who has been primarily a punt returner in his two NFL seasons.

Aside from those veterans, the Eagles have a couple of rookies in fifth-rounder Ainias Smith and sixth-rounder Johnny Wilson. Of the two, Wilson seemed to have a better spring but that doesn’t mean too much. The interesting thing is that those two are very different players. Smith is a small and shifty slot-only option, while Wilson is a long and lanky outside option. Counting on either making significant contributions in 2024 is probably foolish. Perhaps another player like second-year guy Joseph Ngata can work their way onto the roster but it would take a very strong training camp performance.

The Eagles could potentially keep adding at receiver.

Tight end: Who wins the backup job?

Dallas Goedert is firmly entrenched as the Eagles’ starting tight end but last year’s No. 2, Jack Stoll, left in free agency to join the New York Giants. The Eagles are going to mostly live in 11 personnel but Moore in the past has used a good bit of 12 personnel (two tight ends) so it will matter who wins the TE2 job. And it might be determined by what the Eagles are looking to get out of the position.

Stoll didn’t offer much as a receiving threat. He was on the field to block. And if the Eagles are looking for their best blocking tight end after Goedert, it’s probably veteran C.J. Uzomah. The 31-year-old is entering Year 10 in the NFL in 2024 and has the ability to be used as an inline blocker. He has also had some moderate success catching the football with two seasons over 400 yards receiving, most recently in 2021.

But keep an eye on Grant Calcaterra, who enters his third NFL season as a 2022 sixth-round pick. Calcaterra has been the Eagles’ TE3 the last couple of years and has played minimally. He has just 9 catches for 120 yards in his career. But Calcaterra caught a ton of passes this spring and got a special shoutout from head coach Nick Sirianni at a press conference.

Beyond those two, Albert Okwuegbunam is back for another season after spending most of the 2023 season on the active roster. E.J. Jenkins made some notable plays in the spring. And the Eagles also brought in UDFA McCallan Castles from Tennessee.

Interior OL: How will the Eagles replace Jason Kelce?

It won’t be easy.

The legendary Eagles center and future Hall of Famer retired this offseason. Even though the Eagles weren’t surprised by Kelce’s decision and even though they’ve been preparing for this eventuality, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.

Cam Jurgens will go from right guard to center. The Eagles drafted him a few years ago to be Kelce’s replacement and that plan hasn’t changed. But with Jurgens at center, that means the right guard spot is open. The obvious choice there is Tyler Steen, who worked as the first-team right guard this spring. But if Steen ever begins to struggle, the Eagles have veterans like Mekhi Becton, Matt Hennessy and Max Scharping on the roster.

The most intriguing name of those three veterans is Becton. The giant former first-round pick has been a starting left tackle in the NFL but he showed off some versatility this spring, working at right tackle and left guard. If he’s not a starter, then he’ll be the Eagles’ sixth offensive lineman in 2024. And it’s intriguing to think about the possibility of Becton pushing for that starting right guard job. But if Steen looks fine, he’s not moving.

Offensive tackle: Is Mekhi Becton the swing tackle?

Like we just mentioned, it looks like Becton is the Eagles’ sixth offensive lineman, which is a pretty important role. There’s a chance that if any player aside from Jurgens suffers an injury this season, Becton could be thrust into action. His most important role might be backing up the Eagles’ starting tackles, Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata. Those two form one of the better tackle duos in the NFL. Ideally, they stay healthy for all 17 games but that seems unlikely. 

That’s what the addition of Becton this offseason was so important. Nothing can sink a season as quickly as injuries on the offensive line. Last year, Fred Johnson was the Eagles’ backup left tackle and it’ll be interesting to see if he still has a roster spot with Becton in the building.

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