New Offensive Weapons Give Eagles...

New Offensive Weapons Give Eagles... New Offensive Weapons Give Eagles Optimism

The Eagles have begun training camp and the expectations are sky high, especially for a team coming off a 7-9 record.

Much of the optimism centers around the fact that quarterback Carson Wentz now has some legitimate offensive weapons.

The receiving corps has been seriously upgraded with the free agent signings of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Of course, even with the upgrades, both receivers have some questions.

The 6-foot-4 Jeffery is among the league’s top red zone targets but his last two seasons have been substandard. Last season he was suspended four games due to PED use.

Over the last two years, covering 21 games, he has just six touchdown receptions. In his first three seasons, covering 42 games, he had 20 TD receptions.

His average in the first three seasons was 66 receptions for 974 yards and seven touchdowns. The Eagles would probably sign up for those number right now, but there are a lot of people who feel that the 27-year-old former Chicago Bear can produce more than his first three-year average if he stays healthy.

Smith, 28, spent the past two seasons in football purgatory with the San Francisco 49ers. Last year in 12 games he had just 20 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

The Eagles expect much more from Smith, who still has the speed to stretch defenses.

He also has ample playoff experience and won a Super Bowl in his second season with the Baltimore Ravens. In four playoff games that season he had 11 receptions for 235 yards and 2 TDs.

Smith went to the playoffs in three of his four seasons with the Ravens. During those four seasons with the Ravens he averaged 53 receptions for 898 yards and eight touchdowns. The Eagles would take those numbers from him in a heartbeat.

Wentz received another gift with the signing of free agent running back LeGarrette Blount from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Yes, he’s 30 and that’s a rough age for many running backs, but Bount doesn’t have the hard miles on him. He has averaged 166 carries in his seven seasons, although last year he had a career-high 299.

He has two Super Bowl rings, although last season he was not relied on much in the postseason, with 35 carries in three games. He only averaged 3.1 yards per carry.

With the Eagles, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Blount may not be a 20-carry-a-game back, but even if he averages 15, he will have to keep defenses honest.

Last year defenses didn’t respect the run and often put the heat on Wentz.

While starting all 16 games, Wentz attempted 607 passes, way too many for even a seasoned veteran, let alone a rookie. He would be much more productive throwing a little less. He was also sacked 33 times.

This year with the addition of these three free agent veterans, Wentz and the Eagles offense should greatly benefit, which is why there is so much optimism surrounding an Eagles team that is coming off consecutive 7-9 seasons but has many experts feeling that the postseason is a more than realistic goal.

Editorial credit: dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

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