Philadelphia Eagles: Previewing the offensive play makers

Dec 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 32-14. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 32-14. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

With a new season approaching, the Philadelphia Eagles offensive is set to make a splash with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz and his bounty of playmakers.

When a franchise decides to draft a quarterback early in the draft they create an opportunity to start fresh. In the last couple of years when quarterbacks were drafted in the top 3 picks, the Buccaneers with Winston, the Titans with Mariota, the Rams with Goff and the Philadelphia Eagles with Wentz the team always puts an emphasis on surrounding the young signal caller with as much talent around him to succeed. In today’s NFL, you will only go as far as your quarterback will take you.

General Manager Howie Roseman has infused a ton of talent at wide receiver, running back and tight end for Carson Wentz that one could argue the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles have the most promising talent on offense in the NFC.

In 2016, Wentz’s rookie year, the quarterback finished with 3782 yards passing 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, a good but not great rookie season. The most exciting thing for Eagles fans and Carson Wentz this season is how much better the players around him will be. The Eagles brought in 2016 NFL rushing TD leader LeGarrette Blount, Pro Bowl wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey and Superbowl champ Torrey Smith. Now let’s take a closer look at the offense.

The Running Backs – Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnell Pumphrey

The Eagles have used two draft picks on Smallwood and Pumphrey in the last two drafts but the bulk of the running back carries will be spread around Mathews, Blount, and Sproles. By now, we know what to expect from Sproles, he is a dynamic threat in the return game, a weapon out of the backfield and a player that can take the ball 80 yards with one touch. A similar 2016 campaign should be penciled in for 2017 where he averaged 5.9 yards per touch. With Blount signed, a major question mark will be if Ryan Mathews will make the team.

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Mathews had an okay season last year, leading the Eagles in rushing with 661 yards rushing and nine total touchdowns, but one can wonder if that justifies his five million dollar cap hit this season. Blount coming in from the Super Bowl Champions was a bit of a shock when he signed just a few weeks ago. Blount had a monster season, leading the NFL in rushing TDs with 18 paired with 1161 rushing yards.

The question will be if he can match or come close to a season like that without Tom Brady as his quarterback. Maybe the most under the radar point about the Blount signing is how he will help in the Redzone, whether they will pound Blount into the end-zone or play-action, Blount will be a weapon as the Eagles get closer to the goal line.

The Wide Receivers – Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham

One of the biggest names coming into free agency this year was Alshon Jeffrey, a Pro Bowl receiver with a big body that can make contested catches in traffic. Roseman and the Eagles management was able to get Alshon on a 1 year prove it type deal. A perfect scenario for a player that needs to prove he is an elite receiver to get paid top-tier money. The Eagles bring back promising Jordan Matthews who is coming off a down season where he just posted 804 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Agholor and a Green-Beckham are still living off of their potential, two guys who the Eagles have been waiting to put it all together and become a starting wide receiver, we will see with another year under their belt and more of a repertoire with Wentz if one of these guys can pop and become a serviceable NFL player.  Torrey Smith seemed to be rumored to be coming to the Eagles for some time now and he finally arrived in Philly. the Maryland native has always been touted as a scary deep threat, as he might not be the type of receiver to go over the middle, he can be a perfect complement to Jeffrey and Matthews by opening up the defense and forcing the secondary to keep an eye on Smith running past them.

The Tight Ends – Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Brent Celek

A player that didn’t get enough love last year was Zach Ertz. The tight end led the Eagles in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in just 14 games played. The security blanket a young quarterback needs, Ertz has built a rapport with Wentz and will look to continue on cementing himself as a top-tier tight end. Not much has changed since last year with the tight ends, the

Not much has changed since last year with the tight ends, the do-it-all Swiss army knife Trey Burton comes back looking to build on his best season last year, without a fullback on the roster you will likely see Burton all over the field in 2017. The elder statesman of the bunch, Celek looks to be back for his 11th season. As his playing time hasn’t been what it once was there is always room for a veteran to help out the young players on the roster.

The Philadelphia Eagles will be hoping to build on a promising 2016 season, in a division where the Cowboys and their 2nd year QB will be looking to repeat as NFC East Champions. There is an opportunity for the Eagles this season to surpass the Cowboys, as their sights should be set on the playoffs. Wentz now has immense NFL talent around him and a year under his belt should certainly help.

Next: Meet the UDFAs

Will there be enough balls to go around to all the talented players Howie Roseman has brought in and kept on the roster? A lot is riding on this season for many of the Eagles playmakers. Will Wentz make the jump from year 1 to year 2? Can Blount come close to his 2016 production? Will Matthews and Agholor do enough for the Eagles to keep them on the roster? Will Alshon stay healthy and prove he is an elite receiver and cash in for 2018? Let the pressure mount on the 24-year-old quarterback.