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There’s a handful of Eagles needing to take steps forward in the 2022 season. For both their own success and the team. Whether that means success for them to gain that next big contract, or to earn themselves a roster spot when the 53-man deadline rolls around on August 31st.

Surely we could do this analysis for all 90 players when Training Camp started on May 23rd. But for now I’ll stick to the few at the top of my list.


Derek Barnett

It’s always him.

 

Eight penalties with 2.5 sacks wasn’t a great highlight for a contract year of a former 14th overall pick. Luckily, after a revamped Defence that saw Kyzir White, Haason Reddick, Nakobe Dean & Jordan Davis added to the Defensive side of the ball. There was room for Barnett to get a redeemer contract. A 3-year, $15,210,000 that will hopefully have Barnett listed as the DE4 behind BG, Josh Sweat and the versatile LB Haason Reddick. 

I thought we were free from Derek Barnett at the end of last year. several drives where defensive moment was killed or a new set of downs being gifted in the red zone. were finally over. I’m hoping that with a reduced snap count, Barnett can hopefully return to his 2019-2020 stats.

Marcus Epps

This is both a big and small step for Marcus Epps. Starting a combined 8 games over the course of his 3 years in Philly. Epps’ has only played >70% of snaps a total of 6 times while wearing Midnight Green. With Safety being the biggest position of concern leftover after the draft and free agency, the organization is putting a lot of their chips on Epps success. 

Some highlights from Epps’ 2021 season can be found here, courtesy of ISA Sports.

Personally I’m rooting for Epps to take off this year. He had moments throughout last season and with a bigger shot in the spotlight, he could be a missing piece the Eagles already had on the roster.

 

Jonathan Gannon

There was so many questionable things that happened with the Defence last season. Fletcher Cox lining up as an OLB? Darius Slay playing 5-10 yards off of Mike Evans in a playoff game where Evans was the only starting WR? I’m all for blaming the lack of talent on Defence for the defensive mishaps that happened throughout the whole season. But injuries were finally held to a minimal only losing Brandon Graham for most of the season. Inconsistencies happened across the board. This is the Eagles team that gave up a 69.4% completion rate, tied for worst in the league with the Jaguars. 

Something has to change this season with the defensive playcalling. With all the new additions to the defence and hoping for a healthy season. There’s not a ton of excuses left if the Eagles end up hemorrhaging yards again and aren’t able to get the defence off of the field.

 



Kenneth Gainwell

With a stat line of 68 attempts, 291 yards and 5 TD’s. Gainwell had a fairly successful career as a 3/4RB for a team that barely began running the ball until week 8. Sure a  chunk of those yards came in the meaningless week 18 game against Dallas. But seeing 6.5 Yards Per Carry for a total of 78 and a TD? With most of the Eagles offence consisting of backups while the Cowboys had the majority of their starters out until the 4th quarter? That looks like a pretty good look.

There’s a reason the Eagles let Jordan Howard walk again. Maybe he returns if the RB core sustains some heavy injuries, but with Sanders performing in a contract year and Boston Scott & Kenneth Gainwell having some consistency in the backup running game. Gainwell could have been another 3rd day draft steal by Howie Roseman.

 

Which players are you hoping took a big step during this offseason?

The 53 Man Deadline is in 83 Days.

Go Birds.

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