The Eagles offense will look a lot different in 2020 than it did last season. With a handful of injured players set to return and a few notable rookies ready to make their mark, there’s a lot to be excited about heading into this season.
From top to bottom, you’d be hard pressed to find one glaring hole on Doug Pederson’s offense. The Brandon Brooks injury will be tough to overcome, but Matt Pryor seems ready to step up, and there’s always the possibility of the team bringing in a veteran guard if Pryor fails to fill the hole adequately.
There’s a lot of potential all over this offensive unit, so let’s get into some bold predictions for the group as we head into the 2020 campaign.
Emphasis on leading all WIDEOUTS in receptions, not the team overall. I’d imagine Ertz will probably hold that title for the fifth year in a row in 2020.
It’s easy to overlook Ward heading into this year. The team added a handful of speedy wideouts on the outside, leading many to believe Ward could get his spot taken during camp. I don’t think that’ll be the case at all. As you can tell by the heading, I think Ward is actually in for a pretty big year in 2020.
In the six games Ward played in last season, he totaled 28 receptions for 254 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers projected over an entire 16 game season come out to approximately 74 receptions for 650-700 yards and 3-4 touchdowns.
Carson Wentz already has a level of comfort with Ward after targeting him 40 times in those final six regular season games last year. Ward caught 70% of his targets, both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor caught under 60%. Ward also moved the chains 18 times on 28 catches, meaning he gained a first down on about 64% of his catches. Agholor only gained a first down 17 times on 39 catches, or 43% of the time.
I don’t envision Ward getting many deep bombs tossed his way, but he certainly has the potential to be a very solid slot guy who consistently moves the chains for this offense.
After Pederson confirmed that Jalen Reagor would only be taught one receiver position this season, primarily from DeSean Jackson, that leaves Ward as the only true slot guy on the team. I guess you can argue Marquisse Goodwin is a slot receiver, but I’m not sold he’ll even be on the team once final roster cuts come around.
Miles Sanders surprised a lot of fans with just how productive he was as a rookie. He finished his rookie campaign with over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and a total of six touchdowns.
He made a late surge into the Offensive Rookie of the Year discussion, but it ultimately wasn’t enough. Heading into 2020, Sanders will be the featured back in Pederson’s offense.
Sanders had a total of 229 touches on offense last season and still finished with the 16th most scrimmage yards in the NFL. Josh Jacobs, who came 17th in scrimmage yards last season, had more carries (242) than Sanders had total touches. Alvin Kamara had 23 more touches than Sanders and only finished with three more scrimmage yards than Sanders.
The only player who went over 2,000 scrimmage yards last season, Christian McCaffrey, had a whopping 403 touches, a little under double what Sanders had. I don’t think there’s any way Sanders ever comes close to that amount of touches in a season, especially in Pederson’s offense, but it’s interesting to think about what kind of production Sanders could put out if given the abundance of opportunities McCaffrey had.
Although Sanders’ touch count won’t be close to 400, I’d expect him to at least get 300-350 this season
It won’t be easy for Sanders to top the 2,000 scrimmage yard mark, but with the inevitable bump in touches he’ll have this year, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibilities.
Of all these predictions, this one easily has the highest chance of coming to fruition.
Wentz became the first Eagles quarterback ever to throw for over 4,000 yards last season, finishing the year with 4,039. He also became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 yards without a single wide receiver going over 500 yards on the year.
I would have to imagine there will be at least one wideout going over 500 yards this season. But you never truly know with the Eagles and their up and down injury history.
Regardless, I think Wentz’s development this year with a handful of new weapons and offensive coaches around him should be enough to ensure he surpasses the 4,039 mark he set last season.