Eagles mailbag: How much will RB Trey Sermon help? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles open their season in a week in Detroit, and today is the last Sunday without an NFL football game for months.
It’s a beautiful time of year.
We answered a bunch of questions yesterday and still have a lot more in the mailbag:
The Eagles claimed Trey Sermon off waivers from the 49ers last week, making him the fourth running back on the roster. The 6-foot, 215-pound running back was a third-round pick out of Ohio State (he also played at Oklahoma), but he didn’t play much as a rookie and didn’t really stand out much when he did. He had 41 carries for 167 yards and 1 touchdown.
I like the idea of the Eagles bringing in a talented young running back to see what he could be, but I don’t expect Sermon to play a big role early. And he’s not really a power back like Jordan Howard. Sermon averaged 1.9 yards after contact per rushing attempt in 2021, a lower average than Sanders’ 2.1.
Here’s what TheAthletic’s Dane Brugler wrote about Sermon last year during the pre-draft process:
“Overall, Sermon is inconsistent as an inside power runner, but his combination of vision, poise and cutting skills are interesting traits for an outside zone scheme.”
I watched his performances from the 2021 season and came away underwhelmed, but I saw some flashes. But then I read a bit about how Sermon worked for his explosiveness in Year 2. This was a wise decision. Sermon worked with Dalvin Cook this offseason.
“Being explosive,” Shermon said in August, via NBC Sports Bay Area . “I feel like that’s one thing I missed last year, I was just explosive from that first cut. That’s been a really big emphasis for me this offseason and even now in training camp. I’m still working on it and I’m very aware of it.”
So the Eagles may have something in Sermon, but it’s hard to see him playing much of a role from the jump, especially if Sanders is healthy.
First, let’s take a look at all the contract extension candidates – key players entering the final year of their contracts. The Eagles have several: Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, James Bradberry, Isaac Seumalo, Kyzir White, TJ Edwards, Miles Sanders, CJ Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps.
We’ve been waiting for Hargrave’s extension all summer and it still hasn’t come. It makes sense because not only is he a Pro Bowler, but he has the highest hit on the team in 2022. It’s a little surprising it hasn’t happened yet. It is still the most obvious.
Gardner-Johnson is a good candidate because he is already a very talented player and is still only 24 years old. The Eagles might want to make sure his transition to safety and acclimatization to this defense goes smoothly first, but I wouldn’t expect too much. It is likely to be paid after this year.
But I’ll also give you a wild card pick: Kyzir White. Based on what I’ve seen during training camp, White will be a really solid addition. He thought he was going to get a long-term deal last offseason and it didn’t happen. But late in camp, I talked to White about coming here and he seems to love Philly already. He said he would like to stay here long term and I believe him. He also plays the WILL point and if Nakobe Dean really pushes for a starting gig, Dean seems better suited at MIKE. I could see a White extension happening during the season if the Eagles want to go that route.
“With all these weapons on defense, if our defense can’t prepare this season, is it time to get rid of Gannon?”
There’s no doubt there’s pressure on Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon this season. Aside from Jalen Hurts, Gannon probably has more pressure on him than anyone else at the NovaCare Complex. There are no excuses this year.
Just think of all the talent Howie Roseman added to the defense this offseason: Hasson Reddick, James Bradbury, White, Jordan Davis, Dean and now Gardner-Johnson. Not only has there been an influx of talent, the Eagles have added talent to give Gannon the flexibility he wants.
This has the makings of a great defense, but it will be up to Gannon to pull it all off.
In two ways, I really feel like this could be Gannon’s last year in Philly. If the defense succeeds, there’s a good chance he’ll land a head coaching job somewhere. And if the defense fails, there are no excuses.
Based on the evidence, they believe him to an extent. They certainly believe in Hurts as a worker, leader and person. They believe he will maximize his potential and reach his ceiling, whatever that may be. And apparently they liked Hurts enough to use a second-round pick on him in 2020 and make him the starting quarterback for back-to-back seasons. They clearly believe in him enough to do it this season. we’ve seen it from their roster moves.
But they also see the areas where Hurts needs to improve. We all see them. Even Hertz sees them. The Eagles aren’t long-term committed to Hurts right now, but that decision would likely have to come after this season. Hertz’s play will determine his future.
I took a closer look at all of the Eagles’ options at the return spots last week. So you can read it all here.
But my best guess is that the Eagles are bringing up Britain Covey to handle those responsibilities.
Well, they were a playoff team in 2021. So even if Hurts doesn’t take a huge step forward, this is a much better roster than last year. So they could maybe make the playoffs and sneak in to win a game. But for them to make a real run, which I believe they are capable of, Hurts will have to be significantly better. Having AJ Brown and a second year on offense should help.
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