Good afternoon Colts fans!
I'm sure you've seen fan posts like this in past, sprinkled around various SB Nation team blogs. If you haven't, the title is fairly self-explanatory. With the coming matchup between our two teams, I give a brief overview of our team and leave the comments section up for any questions, comments, or general discussion about how much we hate the Patriots.
The last time our two teams met, it was September 15, 2014 at your place. The Eagles won by a final score of 30-27, led by (believed to be) franchise QB Nick Foles. This was the height of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia and not long after, Foles was shipped off to St. Louis in exchange for serial man-of-injury Sam Bradford. Since then, the entire Eagles roster and coaching staff has been completely overhauled, save for a few key components. In 2016 we moved up in the draft to take our new franchise QB, Carson Wentz at #2 overall, and last season that franchise QB played like an MVP for 13 weeks to help lead us to our franchise's first Superbowl victory. This season, the Eagles are well positioned to make a run at back-to-back championships with good additions to depth, and key players coming back from injury.
In 2017, the Eagles made a historic run, broke league records in regards to 3rd down conversion %, and led the league in scoring - averaging 29 points per game. This season, the offense returns mostly unchanged; the offensive line retained all 5 of it's starting players, 4 of which are all-pros. It seemed as though you may be set to face Nick Foles again, but head coach Doug Pederson just announced this morning that Carson Wentz will be playing this coming Sunday. RB Jay Ajayi was acquired part way through last season, so he will be the workhorse back, with support from Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, and Wendell Smallwood. #1 WR Alshon Jeffery is currently out, rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery, #4 WR Mack Hollins had a setback with is "lower-body injury", and just recently #2 WR Mike Wallace was hit with a "potentially season ending" ankle injury vs Tampa Bay. So the starting receiving corps the Bucs will face will be made up of WR Nelson Agholor, WR Kamar Aiken, TE Zach Ertz, and TE Dallas Goedert, with contributions from Shelton Gibson, and Deandre Carter.
The Eagles also return a very similar defense from last season, which was known for it's quality depth, and large array of pass rushers. They lost starting DE Vinny Curry, DT Beau Allen, and slot corner Patrick Robinson to free agency, but they replaced them with 3 time pro-bowler DE Michael Bennett, DT Haloti Ngata and 2nd year man CB Sidney Jones. They will also be without starting DT Timmy Jernigan, and ST ace Chris Maragos. Jim Schwartz (Eagles defensive coordinator) runs a 4-3 wide 9 defensive scheme, which boasted last year's #1 rushing defense, allowing only 79.2 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. Schwartz loves to rotate his pass rushers to keep them fresh, suffocating the run game forcing opposing offenses to pass, and using the strength of the pass rush to force turnovers. The Eagles were tied for 4th last season in interceptions with 19, and 6th in fumbles with 17.
QUICK LOOK AT THE EAGLES DEPTH CHART
- QB - Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld
- RB - Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood
- WR - Nelson Agholor, Kamar Aiken, Shelton Gibson, Deandre Carter,
Alshon Jeffery, Mack Hollins, Mike Wallace
- TE - Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Josh Perkins,
- LT - Jason Peters, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata
- LG - Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack
- C - Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo
- RG - Brandon Brooks, Matt Pryor
- RT - Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai
- LE - Brandon Graham, Chris Long
- RE - Derek Barnett, Michael Bennett, Josh Sweat
- DT - Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata, Destiny Vaeao, Bruce Hector,
- OLB - Nigel Bradham, Nate Gerry
- MLB - Jordan Hicks, D.J. Alexander
- OLB - Kamu Grugier-Hill, LaRoy Reynolds
- CB - Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Sidney Jones, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox
- FS - Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham,
- SS - Malcolm Jenkins, Deiondre Hall