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Eagles playing from a position of strength in several ways

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Playing from a position of strength.

It's something stated here and repeated often as the Eagles dig in deep in their preparations for the 2022 offseason, ahead of the new league year that begins on March 16 at 4 PM but has been humming for many weeks already with collegiate showcase events and behind-the-scenes work. The Eagles are playing from a position of strength because, in part, they've got some wiggle room within the salary cap, they have the 10 draft picks – 9 in the first five rounds including picks 15, 16, and 19 in Round 1, and they have a young and talented roster that reached the postseason in 2021.

The Eagles are also playing from a position of strength because they have something that so many teams covet, something they are inherently dedicated to building every year, and that's the offensive line. As so many teams in the league discuss ways to address an offensive line in need, the Eagles know they enter the offseason with an offensive line that was a strength for the offense in 2021 and that is in great shape at this juncture in 2022.

"We're always working, every day, to be better individually and as a group, with our line," Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland said during the season. "I'm never satisfied. I see good things, but there is no such thing as being completely satisfied, and so that is something we strive for every day."

Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman has long said that a philosophy here is to build "from the inside out" with this football team. The Eagles have done that exceedingly well with regards to the offensive line, so much that they have an offensive line that appears likely to return intact from late in the 2021 season – Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Landon Dickerson at left guard, Jason Kelce at center, options at right guard to replace the recently retired Brandon Brooks, and Lane Johnson at right tackle – but also has two very talented players returning from injury – guard Isaac Seumalo and guard/tackle Jack Driscoll.

We're still not exactly sure what Kelce's plans are – last week at the NFL Honors event he didn't indicate to reporters one way or the other his next steps for 2022 other than to say he is taking time to evaluate his intentions – so that is a situation the Eagles will need to navigate moving forward.

Otherwise, the offensive line picture is one of great talent, depth, cohesiveness, and promise. It's one of the reasons – a prime one at that – the Eagles are in such an exciting position with 2022 in mind. In other Eagles tidbits ...

The free agency picture

The Eagles have some room within the $208.2 million salary cap, but they also have some decisions to make regarding players on the current roster. The list of unrestricted free agents is as follows: linebacker Genard Avery, defensive end Derek Barnett, tight end Jason Croom, safety Anthony Harris, running back Jordan Howard, defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, safety Rodney McLeod, cornerback Steven Nelson, and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway. There are a few restricted free agents: Herbig, running back Boston Scott, linebacker Alex Singleton, and wide receiver Greg Ward.

Go Green program again recognized and celebrated

The Eagles learned that both Lincoln Financial Field and the NovaCare Complex have been recertified as an ISO 20121 operation. ISO 20121 is a voluntary international standard that addresses the management of improved sustainability throughout an organization's event cycle, provides guidance, and tracks progress to ensure full compliance with the set requirements. The Eagles were the first professional sports team to become an ISO 20121 certified operation in June 2018.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition once again and would like to thank everyone who played a pivotal role in helping us get to this point," said Jason Miller, Senior Vice President of Operations for the Eagles. "This achievement speaks to our organizational commitment to sustainability, starting with great leadership at the top led by Jeffrey Lurie and Don Smolenski. Being recertified validates all the hard work, time, and resources we put forth to ensure that our operation is continuously reducing our carbon footprint on the environment."

ISO 20121, first introduced at the 2012 London Olympic Games, provides a management blueprint to address the "triple bottom line" of sustainability – the economic, environmental, and social impacts of events. The standard helps organizations operate in a way that is financially viable for the company, its customers, and suppliers; minimizes the use of resources and reduces waste; and considers the needs and expectations of those affected by the event or business. The key component of the standard is the development of a continuous improvement plan which is then implemented, analyzed, and modified to achieve ever increasing standards of performance.

A key stat to remember: giveaways

Something that maybe slipped under the radar in 2021 and speaks to strong coaching and player discipline is the number of giveaways the Eagles had – their 16 giveaways were the fifth fewest in the NFL (behind Green Bay, Seattle, Minnesota, and Arizona) and their lowest total as a franchise since the 1990 campaign.

"It's always an important statistic and something that we work on every day," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said during the season. "To me, that will always be meaningful. I give the players, particularly Jalen (Hurts), a lot of credit for playing disciplined football."

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