Why the Eagles Need to Focus on RB, WR This Offseason

By Tom Long, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Heading into the final week of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys after defeating the New York Giants on Thursday night in Week 16. With a win, the Eagles would finish the season at 7-9.

The Eagles have been eliminated from the playoffs for a few weeks and now play to give the younger talent more experience. Obvious talent like Carson Wentz continues to improve with each game in his rookie season.

The big question is what do the Eagles need to be a playoff contender?

The Eagles are a few acquisitions away from being a playoff team. Jim Schwartz’s defense has shown flashes of excellence throughout the season, especially in the first few weeks. The term "flashes of excellence" applies to mostly every aspect of the Eagles roster. Therefore, the Eagles absolutely need to address two positions: running back and wide receiver.

Running Back

The Eagles backfield has been a major disappointment this season. Ryan Matthews, maybe the most injury prone player in the NFL, has spent much of the season as just that — injured. On the occasions where he is not on the injury report, he has been mostly reliable, but has also coughed up the ball at costly times.

This left the work for a combined effort from Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Kenyon Barner. Let's face it, Sproles is not an every-down back. And while the combined effort could be enough to produce a respectable backfield, the Eagles will need to think long and hard about the direction they are going at the position.

The Eagles rank 10th in rushing attempts and rushing yards. The dedication to running the football is promising and helps keep a balanced offense. They also rank sixth with nine fumbles – four of those being lost fumbles.

Wide Receiver

The Eagles are clearly under-manned with respect to the receivers. This is no secret, however, since the team has players that came off the practice squad like Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs, willing and eager to receive playing time.

The Eagles currently rank 25th in receiving yards this season, while ranking 11th in receptions. This is concerning considering the number of passes Wentz has been forced to throw. Wentz ranks 10th in the league in pass attempts.

With Jordan Matthews assuming the clear role of the primary receiver, he will need a weapon to compliment his play. Zach Ertz has been effective for most of the season and gives the Eagles and Wentz a perfect complimentary weapon at tight end, but an additional wide receiver is a necessity. Poor play from Nelson Agholor has contributed to the struggling offense and exposed this need.

Final Thoughts

The Eagles will also need to improve their secondary. While the numbers do not look terrible – ranking 18th in yards surrendered, the aesthetic of the secondary leaves a sour taste. The Eagles secondary is constantly blowing their coverage, combined with the lack of pressure from the defensive line, creates a irritating and frustrating final product.

Despite that, the more glaring needs come on the offensive side of the ball, where the Eagles have a budding young quarterback with relatively unreliable and inconsistent sources for offensive production around him.