Season grade: Near perfection. They were the best team in football just about wire-to-wire, overcame the loss of star quarterback Carson Wentz, future Hall of Fame left tackle Jason Peters, linebacker Jordan Hicks, running back Darren Sproles and special teams ace Chris Maragos, and charged through the postseason. They capped their run with a win over Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots dynasty. Could it get any better?
Season in review: The expectations were pretty low heading into the year, but coach Doug Pederson saw something special brewing. He made a bold statement in the summer by saying this group had as much, if not more, talent than the championship Green Bay Packers team in the mid-90s. The disclaimer was that everything still needed to jell together. Boy, did it ever. Wentz proved a star in the making, and new additions like Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Tim Jernigan blended seamlessly into the team’s culture. It proved to be a loaded, cohesive roster that rolled to 13 wins in the regular season, two wins in the NFC playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and a Super Bowl victory — the first in franchise history.
Biggest play of season: The “Philly Special.” Pederson showed some serious guts — serious guts — by dialing up a reverse quarterback throwback on fourth-and-goal late in the first half. Swiped from the Chicago Bears, who had used it against the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles broke it out in a huge moment on the game’s biggest stage. Pederson’s aggressive style was key all season, and helped the Eagles walk off as champions.
He said it: “We are world champions, men. Just look around. This is what you guys have done. This is what you have accomplished. We said before, an individual can make a difference but a team makes a miracle. You did it. You did it against a fine football team. When you’re asked, you’re complimentary, but at the same time … we are going to party.” — Pederson
Key offseason question
What to do with Foles: Do you hold onto Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, or deal him if a quality offer comes down the pike? If nothing else, this season demonstrated the importance of having a good No. 2, so the Eagles aren’t likely going to be in a rush to trade Foles, who comes with a cap hit of close to $8 million next season. Plus, there’s some uncertainty about when Wentz will be fully recovered from his torn ACL. But if they’re blown away by an offer, they’ll have to consider it.
Biggest draft need: Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and VP of player personnel Joe Douglas have done a very good job of assembling a top-level roster with few holes. This is a team that believes in putting heavy resources into the offensive and defensive line, and could use depth at offensive tackle in particular. I’d expect them to target linebacker as well.
Free agency targets: They have to make a couple of in-house decisions first, starting with linebacker Nigel Bradham and Sproles. Could they look for a speedy receiver to push Torrey Smith and work opposite Jeffery?
Future looks bright: The Eagles arrived ahead of schedule and won a Super Bowl with their backup QB. Wentz is just 25 and has the potential to be a top-five player in this league. Pederson was a question mark heading into the season, but now it’s hard to look at him as anything but a major asset. Most of the supporting cast is locked in contractually for the foreseeable future, making a sustained run of success likely.