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The Eagles completed among the swiftest turnarounds in history when castle beat the Patriots in Super key 52 ~ above Sunday. The year before, Philadelphia perfect 7-9, dead last in the NFC East. The Eagles had actually a middling offense and also appeared come be human beings behind the Cowboys in their own division. They comprised that gap and also then some in one year, going to 13-3 in the regular season and then sprinting through the playoffs.
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Here’s what changed:
They occurred a to run game.
The Eagles boosted their yardage per lug from 4.1 in 2016 (18th in the league) to 4.5 (third) in 2017. Lock swapped out their whole running back core either deliberately or due to injury, jettisoning Ryan Mathews, signing LeGarrette Blount, trading for Jay Ajayi, and also leaning top top undrafted cost-free agent Corey Clement for depth after ~ Darren Sproles got hurt.
Nobody from the trio had mind-boggling individual numbers, as top backs Ajayi and also Blount break-up time after the profession for Ajayi ~ above Halloween. Yet Ajayi was incredibly efficient, going because that 5.8 yards per lug on his 70 runs because that the Eagles in the constant season. He ran because that 4.4 throughout Philly’s playoff run, while Blount went because that 4.5.
Ajayi’s well-known as an explosive speed back and Blount a powerful short-yardage guy, but both that them were workmanlike in the playoffs. All of the success the Eagles’ run game had is extra impressive in irradiate of All-Pro left handle Jason Peters lacking most the the year. The Eagles had actually a dominant right side of the line, from facility Jason Kelce to guard Brandon Brooks come tackle lane Johnson. The didn’t hurt.
Their passing game went from trivial to elite.
Carson Wentz was solid together a rookie, yet he no the clear top-five quarterback he played like prior to tearing an ACL in December. With help from that improved running game and a beastly attack line, Wentz upped his passer rating indigenous 79 come 102 and also his yards every attempt from 6.2 to 7.5. The stepped from average to a star, which no surprising for a previous No. 2 pick, but was still vital to the Eagles acquiring the No. 1 seeds in the NFC. Nick Foles was even far better than the in the playoffs, v a 116 rating.
It assisted that the Eagles signed a height receiver, Alshon Jeffery, who for years languished on bad Bears teams yet still had actually all the physical devices to be an excellent in Philadelphia. Jeffery no out-of-this-world good, yet he was one of the better receivers in the league. So was third-year man Nelson Agholor, who’d to be objectively poor in his first two seasons after obtaining picked in the very first round the end of USC in 2015. Brand-new signing Torrey smith didn’t do lot in the regular season but helped a great bit in the NFC playoffs.
The Eagles, on the whole, bounced from 27th to seventh in passer rating and also from 30th to 14th in yards per throw. Paired with the boosted running game, the Eagles walk from 28th come 10th in yards per play and also 16th to 3rd in scoring.
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They make an already-good defense a little bit better.
End Derek Barnett to be a high quality first-round pick. His year will be most memorable for the fumble recovery that squashed the Patriots’ last ideal chance in ~ a comeback, however he to be sturdy every year together both a happen rusher and also run stopper. Chris lengthy turned out to be a coup that a complimentary agent, signing for 2 years and $4.5 million. The Eagles already had an all-world protective tackle in Fletcher Cox, but they got much more quality there when they traded a third-round pick to the Ravens to gain Timmy Jernigan.
In the secondary, GM Howie Roseman bought short on Ronald Darby, who’d been good as a 2015 rookie in Buffalo but stumbled in his 2nd season. He sent out receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-rounder to obtain him, and also Darby rewarded the Eagles through playing prefer a No. 1 cornerback. (Matthews no much good for Buffalo, also when he to be healthy.) Patrick Robinson, another totally free agent signing, was even much better than Darby. The made two really good beginning cornerbacks authorized the fold.
The cornerback play feels favor an especially an essential upgrade. Robinson can have been the ideal nickelback in the sport. Darby was really great on one side, and also Jalen Mills hosted up well on the other, enhancing a bunch indigenous 2016. The team made for a huge upgrade indigenous Mills, Leodis McKelvin, and also Nolan Carroll the year before. The Eagles go from a 85.7 passer rating against (11th in the league) come a 79.5 (ninth).
Philly’s defense finished 4th in scoring, increase from 12th.
And that strategy to roster-building brought to the offense.
Foles will go under as one of the greatest totally free agent signings ever, also though no one figured that at the time. Doug Pederson was acquainted with Foles native an previously stint as the Eagles’ QBs coach, and also signing the turned the end to save the season.
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The Eagles bolstered their offense with other signings, too. Blount, Jeffery, and also Smith were all totally free agents when they came to the Eagles. Ajayi, a midseason trade pickup, was most likely the Eagles’ best all-around back. Clement to be an undrafted complimentary agent that wound up v 100 receiving yards in the freaking supervisor Bowl. Kicker Jake Elliott came from the Bengals’ practice squad when Caleb Sturgis was lost to injury.
NFL rosters revolve over a lot of every year. It’s traditional for even good teams to have actually 20 new players in ~ a time. This Eagles had actually 26. They constructed their team prefer patchwork, however the pieces Roseman carried in could not have fit together much more beautifully.