Eagles analysis

The 5 biggest concerns about Eagles entering 2024 season

The Eagles have a ton of talent in 2024 but they're not a team without concerns. Here are the top five.

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The Eagles have a really strong roster in 2024.

There’s a reason they’re the favorite to win the NFC East and there’s a reason they have the seventh-shortest odds to win the Super Bowl this season.

But that doesn’t mean this team is perfect. And there are still some concerns months before they’ll take the field in the opener against the Packers.

Here are my five biggest concerns with this team:

5. Offensive line after Jason Kelce

It’s a little weird to list the offensive line because it has been such a strength of this team for so long. But it won’t be easy to get over the retirement of future Hall of Famer Jason Kelce. He meant so much to the offense in ways that went beyond his physical ability.

The Eagles drafted Cam Jurgens to eventually replace Kelce and he’ll get his shot in Year 3. Jurgens basically had a redshirt season in 2022 but got a chance to line up next to Kelce at right guard in 2023 and held his own. And he’s also a more natural center, so he’ll probably be fine at that position in 2024. But he won’t be Kelce. The Eagles used Kelce as a weapon in their run game over the years and even though Jurgens has the physical make up to do that, he doesn’t have the experience. Kelce was also extremely important as it pertained to making checks and setting protections.

And then because Jurgens is moving from right guard to center, that means the Eagles will have a new right guard. The clear-cut favorite for that gig is Tyler Steen, who was a third-round pick last year. Steen got one start last year in place of Jurgens but it was otherwise veteran Sua Opeta in that role. Opeta has since moved on. Because of the Kelce retirement and Jurgens move, it’s possible the Eagles are weaker at two spots on the line this year.

The Eagles did a nice job eventually addressing the depth on the offensive line by signing Mekhi Becton, who appears to be the sixth man on the line who can fill in at tackle or guard. And it’s not like the offensive line is suddenly a weakness. Most teams would kill for a group that includes Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson and Jordan Mailata.

4. The third wide receiver spot

This is a rich man problem … but it’s still a problem. The Eagles have one of the best receiver duos in the NFL with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. But a year after they never really found their WR3, it’s still a weak spot on this roster.

Even though Nick Sirianni pointed out that the fifth skill guy isn’t always a receiver — and he’s right — more often than not it will be. The Eagles are probably going to be in 11 personnel around 70% of their snaps in 2024. And even if that’s down to, say, 65%, that’s still a ton of snaps for WR3.

After DeVante Parker’s retirement, the top option for that job right now appears to be veteran Parris Campbell. The former second-round pick looked solid in the spring but his career has been riddled with injuries so it’s not like anything he shows in practices can alleviate the fear that he eventually gets hurt. And even Campbell’s best season (his only productive season, really) wasn’t amazing. He caught 63 passes for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2022 but his best season after that was a 162-yard campaign in 2021. Could Campbell stay healthy and give the Eagles solid production as a WR3? Maybe. But it’s probably not wise to put all the eggs in that basket.

The other guys on the 90-man roster fighting for this job are John Ross, Johnny Wilson, Ainias Smith, Joseph Ngata, Britain Covey and more. Maybe there’s a diamond in the rough on the Eagles’ roster but not a lot of proven production. Ross was once a first-round pick but he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2021 so it would be foolish to count on him.

Sure, on an offense with Brown, Smith, Saquon Barkley and Dallas Goedert, the WR3 isn’t massively important. But it would be nice to have player Jalen Hurts would at least trust if he’s open. And if either of those top receivers has to miss a game or two, it could be a big problem.

3. Linebackers 

This one appears to be a bit by design. The Eagles never really invest heavily in the linebacker position and they would probably argue that the Devin White signing is a significant investment. And for them, it is. White’s one-year deal is worth $4 million and can be worth up to $7.5 million. But the Eagles are counting on White, who was benched last season in Tampa, to be their top linebacker in Vic Fangio’s scheme.

There are, of course, reasons to believe White can return to the form that helped him become a Pro Bowler earlier in his career. He’s still just 26 and maybe the change of scenery will do him good. But even if White works out perfectly, he’s not playing two positions. And that other starting inside linebacker spot is a question mark too.

During spring practices, Zack Baun was taking most of the first-team reps. Baun was a guy we thought the Eagles signed to be a hybrid pass-rusher and not an off-ball guy. Perhaps former third-round pick Nakobe Dean finally works out and gives the Eagles solid play. He had a redshirt season on defense in 2022 and then got hurt in 2023. The Eagles put all their eggs in that basket last year and it didn’t work out. After that, the Birds had rookie Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Oren Burks and Ben VanSumeren. Burks has been mostly a backup in his career, while the other two are young and inexperienced.

2. Coaching cohesion

Remember when I mentioned the Eagles’ talent in 2024. Well, the Eagles were a really talented team in 2023 too but that didn’t prevent an epic collapse down the stretch. Coaching was clearly an issue and the Eagles told you they thought so when they replaced both the offensive and defensive coordinators in the offseason.

So now Sirianni has moved to more of a CEO-type role as the head coach while Vic Fangio runs the defense and Kellen Moore runs the offense. Two new schemes for players to learn in a relatively short period of time and plenty of kinks to work out.

During the spring, we saw the offense look a bit behind. That’s to be expected as they learn and install but there’s also a chance we see some sloppiness early in the season because of it. The Eagles are built to be led by an elite offense and they hired Moore to maximize that offense’s potential. But it might take some time and that’s a bit risky.

Fangio has seemingly been working out so far but it was clear that during his one season in Miami there were some personality rifts between him and his players. That’s something to watch as the 65-year-old coach takes over the Eagles’ defense in 2024.

The whole Eagles season feels like it has a certain boom-or-bust quality to it and the overhaul of the coaching staff is a big reason why. Sirianni is obviously on a short leash as he enters Year 4 on the job. It’s fair to wonder how this all fits together.

1. Enough pass rush?

The Eagles might have lost their two best defensive players from the 2023 season when Fletcher Cox retired and when Haason Reddick was traded to the Jets. The Eagles have always had a strong defensive line and a strong D-line rotation but just about every player on this line comes with a question. And based on the importance of pass rush, that's concerning.

Will Jalen Carter take the next step? Will Jordan Davis stay in shape? Will Milton Williams produce more? Is there enough depth at DT?

Will Josh Sweat play well for an entire year? Can Bryce Huff be productive playing nearly double his career-high in snaps? Will Nolan Smith have a better second season? Will Brandon Graham still be productive in Year 15?

A lot of questions. The good news is that the Eagles should have a much improved secondary in 2024. And we all know that the line and the secondary are tied together. The better coverage is, the more time the Eagles’ pass rush will have to get home. But they’re going to need to generate pressure on their own too. The Eagles seem to have talent up front but there’s just not as much to really rely on as there has been in previous years.

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