11 things to love about the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021

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Glenn Erby
·6 min read
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Valentines is all about love and togetherness and although the Eagles are preparing to divorce Carson Wentz, there’s still plenty to look forward to in 2021.

Whether it’s Nick Sirianni or Jonathan Gannon or the penchant for the Eagles to finally run the ball more, we’ve included 11 things to love about the Birds in 2021.

1. Young players on the rise

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (80) taunts Arizona Cardinals free safety Chris Banjo (31) as he scores a touchdown during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Sirianni will work to rebuild the Eagles in 2021 and he'll some talented younger players to build around. Outside of Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders, the Eagles will have an improved wideout trio with Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins. If J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is still on the roster in July, Sirianni could finally get him to live up to his second-round billing. On the offensive line, Andre Dillard will return along with Jordan Mailata. Players like Nate Herbig, Sua Opeta, Jack Driscoll, and Lure Juriga all have bright futures.

2. Howie Roseman on the hot seat?

Sep 27, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman during warmups against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to his salary cap mismanagement in recent years, there will be no large-scale roster turnover with free agents in 2021, hampering the Eagles' ability to land top-notch talent. With Doug Pederson gone and Carson Wentz set to follow, all eyes will be on the Eagles GM and with Philadelphia needing to hit on the 2021 NFL Draft, someone could be on the hot seat.

3. Fans back at The Linc?

The Eagles were able to experience a few weeks of limited fans attendance in 2020 before COVID-19 protocols again forced the team to play home games at quiet Lincoln Financial Field. With the vaccination process underway, the Eagles and their fans could look forward to reuniting in early September.

4. RB Miles Sanders

Dec 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) takes the handoff from quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts ran the ball a lot with Nick Sirianni as offensive coordinator and Sanders should finally get the opportunity to truly carry the load in Philadelphia. Sanders broke the Eagles rookie record for yards from scrimmage in 2019, passing LeSean McCoy for the most yards rushing in a season by a rookie. Sanders also set the Eagles rookie record for rushing yards with 818 and caught 50 passes for 509 yards. In 2020, Sanders had 867 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns, along with 197 yards receiving in 12 games played.

5. QB coach Brian Johnson

Sep 8, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators quarterback coach Brian Johnson prior to the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson will be a coaching star shortly and if the Eagles are moving on from Carson Wentz, they'll have the perfect quarterback's coach to help usher in a new era. Johnson, 33, has risen up the college football coaching ranks and he was in a good position for another catapult after interviewing for the head coaching jobs at both South Carolina and Boise State in recent weeks. Most importantly for the Eagles, Johnson brings a wealth of experience and can be credited with helping Florida's Kyle Trask and Miami's D'Eriq King prosper in recent stops. His most important transformation project was turning Dak Prescott into a viable NFL quarterback during his time with the at Mississippi State.

6. OLB Alex Singleton

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Alex Singleton (49) returns an interception for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

The breakout star on defense showed that he can be a starting NFL linebacker and gives Jonathan Gannon something to work with on defense. Singleton logged 120 tackles (75 solo), two sacks, one interception, two fumble recoveries, and one touchdown in 2020. After Nate Gerry's injury, Singleton only logged fewer than eight tackles twice over the Eagles' final 11 games.

7. Jordan Mailata's continued transformation

Nov 30, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata (68) in action against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The myriad of injuries along the offensive line allow several young players to get necessary playing time and one former 7th-round pick now looks to ascend to stardom. Mailata is an athletic freak, who encompasses the traits of being big, strong, and fast. Mailata allowed 32 total pressures but was a top-15 tackle by PFF grade from Week 11 onward, just behind Jets first-round rookie Mekhi Becton. The fast learning and versatile tackle should find a role in the Eagles starting lineup next season.

8. DE Josh Sweat

Josh Sweat

If the Eagles do move on from Derek Barnett, Sweat's ascension could play a part. Sweat logged the best season of his career in 2020, logging 38 tackles (24 solo), six sacks, two defended passes, and three forced fumbles across 14 games in 2020. Sweat managed career-high marks this season and he'll be entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2021.

9. DT Javon Hargrave

6. Javon Hargrave: $15,200,000

Hargrave missed the bulk of training camp with an injury and a slow start to the 2020 season had some believing that Philadelphia made a regretful mistake. The talented defensive tackle finally got comfortable and Hargrave finally started to dominate. Hargrave logged 38 tackles (16 solo), 4.5 sacks, one defended pass, and one fumble recovery during 15 games in 2020.

10. TE Tyree Jackson

Aug 29, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyree Jackson (6) runs between Minnesota Vikings linebacker Devante Downs (57) and defensive end Hercules Mata'afa (51) in the third quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Howie Roseman is looking to take a bet on Jackson and the athletic quarterback turned tight end could make life without Zach Ertz a little easier. The 6-7, 250-pound Jackson was a quarterback in college at the University of Buffalo as well as in the NFL during the 2019 preseason after signing with the Buffalo Bills.

11. DC Jonathan Gannon

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Marvell Tell (39) pushes on Jonathan Gannon, defensive backs/cornerbacks coach, during the Colts preseason training camp practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Saturday, August 3, 2019.
Colts Preseason Training Camp

The bend but don't break days are over and the Eagles will blitz more, play more zone and take steps to confuse the opposing offense. Gannon is able to consistently find ways to get the most out of the players he was tasked with coaching, despite the Colts not drafting a single cornerback/safety in the first round. The Eagles will now value the linebacker position while adjusting their defensive scheme on a week to week basis.

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