The defensive line will have to be a lot more physical this year than they were last year, when they were largely responsible for holding their own against the run.
The Eagles defense struggled in the first week of the season, especially in the red zone, where they allowed an average of 14.4 points per game and had a measly 18 sacks.
They’re going to have to get more consistent in getting after the quarterback and be more willing to put pressure on him.
Here are the Eagles’ defensive linemen’ strengths and weaknesses in Week 1:1.
The defensive tackle positionThe Eagles will have the benefit of having two quality defensive tackles in Mychal Kendricks and Connor Barwin.
They can also count on undrafted free agent Nate Allen, who played in all 16 games in 2014 but has only started one game this year.
Allen was signed by the Titans in December but never started a game.
The Eagles will be relying on Kendricks to do the heavy lifting in terms of blitzing the quarterback, forcing him to scramble, and forcing him into interceptions.
He has been a solid player in the past, but he’ll have to prove he can be more consistent against the pass.2.
The wide receiver positionThe secondary will be bolstered by the return of wide receiver Josh Huff.
The team’s depth at the position will be greatly increased with the addition of Eric Rowe, who has had a big year this year, catching 16 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown.
Rowe’s presence should help the offense by allowing the defense to get some playmakers on the outside.
Rowe has been an All-Pro in his career.3.
The linebacker positionThe linebacker position will have a major impact on the offense as well.
The offensive line is a huge concern, but the defense could be able to turn the corner by making a play on the ball carrier when the ball is in the air.
Defensive linemen will have better leverage than the other positions, allowing them to shed blocks and make tackles.4.
The cornerback positionThe offensive line will need to play a lot better to be successful against the Eagles, but if the Eagles can limit the amount of sacks they allow in the secondary, the defensive line can get more plays.5.
The safety positionThe cornerback position will need a lot of work.
The defense had some success with their corners this year and it will be interesting to see if they can keep up the good play this year against a more physical defense.6.
The running back positionThe running back corps will be the focus of attention for the Eagles this year because of injuries to players like DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles.
The offense will have plenty of weapons at the receiver position to make plays against the defense, but they will have some challenges because of their lack of experience.
The coaching staff should be able find a way to get Sprole back to play this season.7.
The tight end positionThere’s not a lot to say about the tight end corps in this position other than the fact that the Eagles will probably run the ball more than the rest of the teams.
The question is whether they’ll be able come up with a play to win.8.
The tackle positionWe’re going into this season with two really good players at the tackle position.
Kendricks will be a huge help.
The other guy who can step in and contribute in the middle is Barwin, who missed the first two games with a knee injury.9.
The pass rusher positionWe all know how important running backs are to this offense, but a lot can change between now and then.
Barwin and Kendricks are the biggest players on the line, but also will have help from rookies Connor Barrere and Connor Williams.
The only question is when the Eagles get healthy enough to play the run and pass in the same game, how they’re going the extra mile to improve their rushing attack.10.
The quarterback positionThe quarterback position will still be a big question mark, especially since the Eagles had the league’s worst record last season.
It’s going to be interesting for the coaching staff to see how they use the veterans who were on the roster last year.
Will they keep bringing them back?11.
The secondaryThe secondary is going to make a big difference on the ground.
The return of Marcus Smith, who had a career-high nine interceptions last season, will give the Eagles a solid unit at safety.
This will allow them to make some plays on the quarterback without giving up too many.12.
The special teamsThe return of Connor Barres and Connor Wright Jr. will be key in keeping this unit fresh.
The addition of Marcus Burley will be critical in keeping the defense fresh.13.
The punter positionThe special teams unit is going for a lot with a couple of big plays.
The returning punter should help immensely in that regard.
The only question will be whether it’ll be enough to keep the unit fresh for the playoffs.14.
The kickoff returnerThe Eagles’ kick