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The Philadelphia Eagles could surprise folks with their defense next season, with the setup impressing in camp so far. There’s not much to be said for the offense but the ones in the know have come away feeling like the Eagles could be very good defensively.

The team isn’t expected to go all the way this season, with foreign bookies placing odds of 66/1 on the Eagles’ chances. Gambling sites in Pennsylvania should be kinder, however. The Kansas City Chiefs are the outright favorites at 9/2 while the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 7/1.

Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice was very positive in his take on the team’s defense in his Mailbag this week.



“I feel better about the defense, but I have not been encouraged by what I have seen so far from the offense,” he wrote. “The Eagles’ path to success this season is in the trenches. If the offensive line can stay healthy, it has a chance to be a top 5 type of unit. Of course, with so many aging players on that line, and with the injury histories of those players, that’s a big “if.” And then if the Eagles can stay in games and allow the pass rush to be a factor, then I think they can be disruptive.

“But ultimately, I feel less optimistic about this season than I have for any other since I started covering the team full time in 2013.

“I’ll have a more comprehensive projection when we’re closer to the start of the regular season, but I’m at 6-11, for now.”

Kempski’s outlook on the team’s linebackers was also pretty positive as he talked up Eric Wilson, who he reckons will be a great upgrade on Nate Gerry.

“I like what I have seen from Eric Wilson so far,” he added. “He seems to be in the right spots, and is always around the football. Extremely low bar here, but he will be a major upgrade over Nate Gerry. Beyond Wilson, I believe that Alex Singleton can build on his breakout season a year ago, and I really like T.J. Edwards in a run down role.

“And then you have younger guys like Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley, and JaCoby Stevens. Taylor and Stevens are unfortunately out with injuries, so that could slow their progress and hamper their chances of contributing early this season, but all three of those guys still have a chance to show something.

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“I don’t think the Eagles have any All-Pro players there, but it’s a competent group, with some upside, which is better than what they’ve had in recent years.”

Eagles insider Reuben Frank has also admitted he could have gotten it wrong with his thoughts on the team’s defense. The NBC Sports journalist indicated he was expecting the defense to improve in about a year’s time on the back of another set of offseason moves. What he’s seen thus far, though, has left him very optimistic.

“I thought with another offseason of good moves and a year of development for the young guys and some time to really learn Jonathan Gannon’s system, the Eagles could have a decent defense in 2022,” Frank wrote. “I may have been off by a year.

“Because a month before opening day, this group looks awfully good.

“Usual caveat: It’s practice. It’s training camp. And it’s come against a young offense still finding its way. It means nothing in the big picture. Not yet.

“But the combination of a bunch of key offseason additions, some young players who may be ready to offer significant contributions and an impressive young coordinator has generated optimism that this can be a competitive defense.”

The Athletic has pushed Philly’s defense up two spots in their latest rankings, moving them up from 15th to 13th.

“They quietly added a trio of capable veterans in cornerback Steven Nelson, safety Anthony Harris and linebacker Eric Wilson. The strength of the defense — and maybe the entire team — is the defensive line, which features Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat,” Sheil Kapadia explains.

“New coordinator Jonathan Gannon figures to employ more pre-snap disguise, more diverse fronts and more split-safety looks than his predecessor, Jim Schwartz.

“Overall, this is a veteran unit. All 11 of the Eagles’ projected starters are at least in their third year in the NFL. If the players take to Gannon’s high-energy approach, the Eagles’ defense could be a surprising group.”

It certainly appears that there’s quite a lot of faith in the Eagles’ defense heading into next season. Fans will certainly hope the analysts are correct.

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