Eagles training camp begins this week and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m really looking to the 2019 season.
I didn’t quite feel the same way last year.
Don’t get me wrong, I was hopeful about the Super Bowl LII winners trying to repeat as world champions.
But the 2018 offseason felt so short. As I sat in my press box seat prior to the Eagles’ Week 1 game against the Falcons, I couldn’t help but think how it didn’t feel like the 2017 season was truly over.
That feeling only intensified over the course of that game. Nick Foles was starting under center. Foles caught a pass, not unlike he did against the Patriots in Minnesota. A low-scoring game against Atlanta once again came down to Julio Jones failing to catch a pass in the end zone. Just uncanny.
Of course, the similarities to 2017 would not end there. Carson Wentz would suffer another season-ending injury that would have Foles quarterback the Eagles during a playoff run for the second in a row. It felt like the underdogs were going to shock the world again.
Alas, it didn’t happen. The 2018 season officially came to an end shortly after a Foles pass went right through Alshon Jeffery’s hands.
Unlike the conclusion to every other Eagles season after 1960 and prior to 2017, however, there wasn’t the same kind of anger when it was all over.
There was natural disappointment, surely, but there was also something that previously wasn’t present: a sense of pride. A feeling that this team cannot be counted out moving forward. Because even when adversity has struck, Doug Pederson’s team has found a way to respond with their backs up against the wall.
Foles was undoubtedly a big part of that resiliency. And he’s gone now. He’ll be missed, especially if Wentz goes down for a third time in three seasons.
But the Foles departure also symbolizes a fresh start for the Eagles. 2017 and 2018 felt like one big, long season. 2019 is an entirely new chapter as Philadelphia moves forward with Wentz as their undisputed franchise quarterback.
The way I see it, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Wentz’s outlook. He’s healthy now. He’s working with one of the best offensive supporting casts in the league. He’s already formed a strong connection with the ever-dynamic DeSean Jackson.
The Eagles made offense look so hard at times last year. Moving the ball down the field was like pulling teeth. That should be different in 2019. Jackson’s field-stretching ability alone makes a big difference. Then add in the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Nelson Agholor, JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the passing game. Not to mention a running game that should be better with Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders in the fold.
On defense, the Eagles should have enough to at least field a competent unit. I have some concerns about the depth at defensive end but I do think the interior defensive line is going to generate a lot of disruption. There are unsettled spots in the secondary that Jim Schwartz needs to figure out but it’s not like the team is totally devoid of talent there. There’s youth and potential.
Look, it’s way too easy to be optimistic about everything now. This is the time of year where most NFL fans are envisioning their favorite teams as Super Bowl contenders. It won’t take long for that feeling to fade if/when things go wrong early in the season.
I know there are those who get nervous when people start putting big expectations on the Eagles. There’s been a lot of talk lately that the 2019 squad is arguably better on paper than the 2017 team. The pressure is on and not everyone loves that because they’d rather the Eagles be the underdogs.
And I get it. You have some concerns about the team. You’re used to disappointment. You’d have a lot more fun seeing the Eagles exceed expectations than failing to meet lofty goals.
If that’s how you feel, fine.
But when I look at this team, I can’t help but see a legitimate Super Bowl contender. It all just comes down to Wentz’s health. If he can stay on the field, the Eagles should be in pretty good shape. If not, well, they’re screwed. And if that unfortunate outcome materializes, I’ll cross that bridge of disappointment when it arrives.
For now, though, I’m feeling excited.
Are you excited about the 2019 Eagles season?
No, I am literally dead inside.
93 votes total