Eagles without Wentz: Where do they go from here? - Alex Hand
The top ranked quarterback in the NFL woke fans this morning to the tweet of successful reconstructive ACL surgery. Behind the bum kneed, potential replacement for the Rocky Balboa statue in South Philly sat the familiar face of Nick Foles, the last quarterback to get the Eagles to a playoff game. Despite that 2013 roster containing studs such as DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and a career-performance out of Riley Cooper, Foles will be helming an offense that includes a career year out of Zach Ertz; a healthy Alshon Jeffery; a reborn Nelson Agholor; and a running back stable featuring LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Clement. This week has also marked the return of this season’s second-round draft choice, Sidney Jones, who had been recovering from an Achilles injury since March. A suiting injury considering the Eagles’ secondary has been the Achilles heel of the franchise before 2017. With Jordan Hicks remaining out for the season, the addition of another long-armed, rangy cornerback affords defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz the assurance to continue operating out of nickel and dime base formations. This continuity should grant the coaching staff a seamless transition for the new cornerback come post-season, as well as the evolution of their defense that could grind many pass-oriented playoff teams to a halt. The defensive line is still the best in the league at stopping the run, and will likely continue given the line’s health and performances coming from Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham. Others may disagree and some of those opinions regarding the downfall of Philly’s 2017 season may be based off serving as the devil’s advocate, but looking back, Nick Foles’ last playoff game in an Eagles uniform did result in better numbers – sans total yardage – than New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Add Foles’ low interception numbers to an easy schedule (@ NYG, vs. OAK, & vs. DAL), and it is clear that the Eagles still possess the ability of gaining a first-round bye, advancing deep into the playoffs, and climbing into Super Bowl LII. The statistics have clearly fallen out of the Eagles’ favor with Wentz being hurt, but the chances of succeeding are more than plausible under Foles.