This Eagles offense, in Year 3 with Nick Sirianni as the head coach and Jalen Hurts as the quarterback, continues to evolve and the possibilities seem endless with a talent base that, as Sirianni says, controls the narrative. Said Sirianni: "Your offense is based off of your skill, first of all, and the players that you have, first of all. It's foolish for us to do something that our guys can't do."
What the Eagles have is an offense that returns all but two starters from a well-balanced, explosive, and efficient offense from 2022 and added some pieces that bring new skill sets to the equation: D’Andre Swift, a versatile running back who can move around the formation and create favorable matchups in the passing game; Rashaad Penny, a slasher of a running back who has been dynamic when healthy; wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, a weapon in the short-area passing game and a bulldog of a blocker in the running game; and a host of young offensive linemen looking to add depth and make their mark.
Of the returning players, running back Kenneth Gainwell has an opportunity to step into a more prominent role, Cam Jurgens is vying to earn a starting job at right guard, and Quez Watkins is serving notice, three on-field practices in, that he's hungry and ready when the opportunity presents itself in the passing game.
There is a lot to work with here, and that's an understatement. The basic tenets of the offense remain – quarterback Jalen Hurts is a handful for defenses in every way with his arm, legs, and brain, and the passing game goes through wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith along with tight end Dallas Goedert, a point that Sirianni emphasized on Sunday – and having that baseline starting with a great offensive line means everything to the playbook install and the gameplanning process.
This offense, should all go according to plan, can target opponents' weaknesses and attack with confidence. We've seen that the last two seasons, how the Eagles dominate defenses with a slicing and dicing running game and a passing game that can nickel and dime down the field and can win in the vertical game, too.
So, what will be different in 2023? That remains to be seen, but the early indications are that the Eagles have all kinds of options to win the game of situational football. They want to improve in every area, introduce some new wrinkles, and simply be a more effective offense. Can they score a touchdown on every possession? Of course not, but it sure is worth having outrageous goals.
"We just want to get better and better and build every day," Goedert said. "You know the basics – keep the chains moving, protect the football, minimize the kind of penalties that end drives, and, of course, we have to score touchdowns in the red zone."
The red zone is a particular point of emphasis for Sirianni and the offense. The Eagles ranked third in the NFL in red zone touchdown efficiency last season, pushing the football into the end zone a franchise-record 67.8 percent of the time. They'd like to be even better in 2023 and that's why the offense ran red zone reps on Day 1 of Training Camp practice.
"It's a hard thing to start off with. It really is because the field shrinks, and it's not a great ... it's hard. As an offense, right, you always feel that, 'Man, this is how we're starting things off," Sirianni said. "But the design of it is that, one, obviously red zone is super important, and, two, it's not always about how much you're on the field but also the distance you're running while you're on your field, so it is part of the progression of how we're getting these guys going back into football shape."
It's early and it's exciting and the offense sure has a high ceiling. The identity is one that involves winning the physical game, playing smart football, working the fundamentals well, and limiting penalties. It's all coming, day by day, and by the time September rolls around, the Eagles intend to be well-oiled and ready to show the rest of the NFL that they've taken the next step with an offense that is going to be awfully difficult to defend.
The current Eagles went back in time to the 90s for a nostalgia-themed photoshoot in an old-school locker room.