Philadelphia Eagles: Depth and development has proven huge this season

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles have seen plenty of success this season, despite the fact they have suffered numerous injuries. Much of the success must be credited to the Eagles deep roster.

Going into the season, many pointed to health as a key component towards a successful season for the Philadelphia Eagles. Through more than half of the season, that has been far from the case. The Eagles have had more than their fair share of injuries throughout the 2017 campaign, but continue to have sustained success.

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It has been seen over and over again. When teams lose impact players they seem to crumble, let alone losing multiple impact players like the Eagles have.

Just as recent as last year, we saw that when the Eagles were without Lane Johnson for 10 games due to a suspension, the offense crumbled as Philadelphia went 2-8 without one of their best offensive lineman. Or just two seasons ago when Jordan Hicks was lost for the season with a pectoral injury, the defense fell apart en route to a disappointing 2015 campaign.

It is just the nature of the sport, to have sustained success, a team must remain healthy. If not, any chances of a deep playoff run are quickly diminished.

But that status quo seems not to be impacting the Eagles at all this season. While they have been hit with the injury bug plenty this season, it has not impacted their performance at all on the field. When most teams lose impact players such as Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks, they crumble, but this Eagles team gets even stronger when adversity hits them.

Hicks and Peters have not been the only two impact players to be lost for the season. All-Pro do it all running back Darren Sproles was done Week 3. Special teams ace Chris Maragos was also knocked out with a torn ACL. That is four very important players for this football team that have been knocked out for the rest of the season.

In addition to those four, the Eagles have lost plenty of others for lengths spanning from a game to most of the season. Headlined by of course Ronald Darby, who was injured in the first game of the season, has been joined by the likes of Johnson, Fletcher Cox and Zach Ertz on inactive reports throughout this season.

When a team has suffered the magnitude of injuries that Philadelphia has faced this season, they would be lucky to just have a .500 record. Teams in these situations should be trying to hold onto a playoff spot, not be leading the charge in the entire NFL.

Without a doubt, having Carson Wentz playing quarterback at the level he is certainly makes up for a lot of the holes the Eagles may have. But so much of the success Philadelphia is having has to be credited to two major things. One is depth and the other is development.

If the Eagles were not deep with players that could step up, then it would be a lot more difficult to fill in for the impact of the injured stars. In addition to the depth the Eagles have, they have shown to have developed some young players to be able to step into big roles.

Just look at the left side of Philadelphia’s offensive line when Peters went down for the season, and much hope was lost. But, the play of Halapoulivaati Vaitai has eliminated much of the concern up front. While “Big V” is no Peters, he has filled into the left tackle position nicely.

Much of the success that Vaitai is having has to be because of all of the experience he had last season when Johnson was out. Filling in at right tackle last season gave him invaluable game experience that has prepared him to have a big role once again this season. Vaitai is a far different player from the one that was getting beat over and over again by Ryan Kerrigan in his debut just last season.

Vaitai`s success is just one of many examples of how the Eagles have themselves set up to where injuries will not hurt them as bad. The depth on this roster has shown to be really deep and got even deeper when the Eagles inked Will Beatty and Dannell Ellerbe to deals this week, showing just how much Philadelphia prioritizes having a deep roster.

Development of young players to step in has also been key to players stepping up. In addition to of course Vaitai, we have seen guys like Rasul Douglas and Corey Clement step up.  A team that once struggled to find and develop young talent has now flipped the script on that narrative.

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When looking back at the season so far as a whole, it has become evident that the Eagles priority of depth and developing young players has really served large for their success. No team wants to lose players to injury, but if they are faced with that situation, they must be equipped to have the next man ready to go. That is exactly what Philadelphia has done this season and why they have been so successful.