10 Things I Think I Think About the Philadelphia Eagles — Beginning of Training Camp Edition

Welcome to the first edition of ’10 Things I Think I Think.’

This will work in the following manner:

I will first send 10 tweets threaded together on Twitter that covers some of my feelings about the Eagles in 140 characters or less. For those interested in more (thank you for reading as always), we will expand on the thoughts here where the canvas is a bit less limited.

Ideally this will occur on a weekly basis. Let’s hit it.

  1. The course of the Eagles season will largely depend on the Week 1 result in Landover. It is THAT important.
You don’t get a SECOND chance to win your FIRST game of the season. It’s that simple. Of the 12 playoff teams last season, nine won their first game. Four of the last five Super Bowl champions have been victorious in Week 1. Don’t let anyone undersell the importance to you.

2. Carson Wentz will have a good season, leading two fourth quarter comebacks and erasing any doubt that he’s a franchise quarterback.

The one thing missing from Wentz’ rookie resume was a fourth quarter comeback although he was a two-point conversion away in Baltimore. Now throwing to Alshon Jeffery instead of Dorial Green-Beckham, expect that to change.

3. No disrespect to DeSean and Maclin but Alshon Jeffery might be the Eagles best wide receiver since TO. Contract extension by Thanksgiving

Speaking of Alshon, here you go. He’s a businessman who will want to get his money. At the same time, playing for a good, young quarterback was important to him after spending five seasons dealing with Jay Cutler in Chicago. Howie Roseman loves locking guys up with in-season extensions. Bet on one here if Alshon’s playing to his potential.

4. If you claim to be an Eagles fan and you don’t like Zach Ertz, I have three words for you. 🏈 Kiss 🏈 My 🏈 Ass 🏈

Let’s play a game:
Player A: 226/3225/42
Player B: 168/1932/21
Player C: 252/2838/14
Player D: 247/2840/13
Player A is Rob Gronkowski. B is Heath Miller. Jason Witten C, and Ertz D. These are their stats over the first four years of their career in terms of receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
Two guaranteed Hall of Famers and maybe three in Miller. Ertz’ numbers are not far off.
Yes, he drops an occasional pass. Yes, he should have blocked Vontaze Burfict in Cincinnati last December. It was also an out-of-hand game, and this is a guy who had no previous history of taking plays off, a guy who returned in less than month from a sports hernia in 2015.
Trolls will forget that and obsess over the Burfict play. Don’t let them get to you and keep watching Ertz get better.

5. Tim McManus is the best writer and reporter on the Eagles beat. Jeff McLane is a close second. Eliot-Shorr-Parks is the worst.

McManus is great, and I miss the days of him and Kapadia tearing it up over at Birds 247. I’m sure I’m not the only one. McLane isn’t quiet on McManus’ level for me but does really good stuff. Joe Banner always seemed like his main source for things, and he’s done a great job adjusting to new regimes since Banner’s been gone.
ESP is terrible. He’s riding a tip he got from the LAPD about DeSean back in 2014 and hasn’t done anything since — hasn’t broken a single story. If you’re a good writer, you don’t have to break a bunch of news, but he is not. Hot takes, clickbait articles. He did nail that Landon Collins would be good. I agreed with him there and give him credit for it but generally try to avoid his stuff at all costs.

6. Derek Barnett is going to be really good. There were guys I wanted more, but this kid played SEC ball. He is not Marcus Smith.

Jonathan Allen. Dalvin Cook. Marlon Humphrey. Yes, there were guys higher on my board when the Eagles were on the clock, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be excited about Barnett. Jim Schwartz’ defense is very dependent on front four pressure, and he has a great mentor in Chris Long. Be patient for half a season, and he’ll begin to show his potential.

7. The Eagles depth at linebacker really scares me. Can we put Jordan Hicks in bubble wrap for the summer? Or better yet clone him?

Hicks is great. He might already be the best linebacker since Jeremiah Trotter and has only played a season and a half when you consider he missed the second half of his rookie year in 2015. The guys around him? Not so much. You have Mychal Kendricks, who it feels like overstayed his welcome by about three years. Nigel Bradham is solid when on the field, but there’s some legal trouble around him. The Reid regime never emphasized linebacker much. We’ll see if Pederson’s thinks the same way, but it wouldn’t hurt them to address sooner rather than later.

8. If the Redskins win the toss and defer, who returns the kick? Agholor? Gibson? It’s something that needs to be figured out this summer.

Maybe Wendell Smallwood who took one to the house in Landover last year? Figuring this out is Dave Fipp’s top priority this summer. Don’t kill me, but I’m actually very intrigued by Agholor. He’s smart and sees the field well. Can he hold on to the ball and not fumble if given this responsibility? I don’t know, but it’s a thought.

9. It’s probably best for Jason Kelce to be the Eagles Week 1 center, but I would write it down in pencil and not pen for now.

I say this not because I think Kelce’s the best center. No, I actually think Isaac Seamulo would be a better option right now, but there’s something to be said for quarterback-center continuity. Anyone remember in 2001 when Bubba Miller went down in the preseason, and Donovan McNabb and Hank Fraley had a bad exchange early in the opener that resulted in a fumble? That cost the Eagles a win against a really good Rams team. They’re probably better off sticking with Kelce for one more year, but knowing how much Howie likes to deal, I wouldn’t guarantee it quite yet.

10. If the defense can win 1-on-1 battles on the edges, the middle will take care of itself.

This might feel weird coming soon after the point about linebacker depth concern, but defensive end and cornerback will define the success or failure of this defense. If Rasul Douglas, Patrick Robinson, and Jalen Mills can be upgrades over Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll, the rest of the unit is good enough to have them playing meaningful football in December and maybe even January.
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