July 13, 2023   3 MIN READ

What, Me Worry?

2023 Season Preview Series: These Birds Can't Afford To Falter

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(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the eighth story in a series by Inside The Birds’ Geoff Mosher and Andrew DiCecco previewing the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles season. In Part 8, they identify the biggest individual concern for the Eagles in 2023).

Jordan Davis

GETTY IMAGES: Jordan Davis played just 26 percent of defensive snaps as a rookie. That number will need to be up in 2023.

Geoff Mosher: Jordan Davis

Did I pick Jordan Davis as my second-year breakout player? I sure did.

Does that mean his breakout is guaranteed? It sure doesn’t.

And that’s why he’s my chief concern going into 2023. Because if the 340-pounder doesn’t round into form – no pun intended – he’d be a widespread liability for the rest of the defense, especially the linebackers.

If the Eagles can’t get Davis on the field for considerable snaps – at least 35 to 40 percent of the defense – who would be their answer for the all-important nose tackle position in a five-man front?

Who’d be able to keep light linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nic Morrow clean from offensive linemen in the run game?

The Eagles can’t afford for Davis to just be mediocre and not resemble the mega-athlete who tore up the NFL Scouting Combine and became the 13th overall pick in 2022.

They need the version of Davis who anchored an elite defensive line at Georgia en route to a national title.

If he’s not that guy, he’ll be a major liability.

Andrew DiCecco: WR Depth

A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith comprise one of the league’s top receiving duos.

Brown and Smith last season became the first pair of Eagles wide receivers to surpass the 1,000-yard receiving mark, with Brown becoming the franchise leader in single-season receiving yards and Smith in receptions.

While all signs point towards a replication of that success in their second season together, it’s worth mentioning that both players were available for all 17 games last season, typically an aberration when factoring the inevitable rigors that surface throughout an NFL season.

Prior to 2022, Brown himself had combined for only 27 regular season games the previous two seasons.

Forget missing games; as currently constituted, who else on the roster could feasibly step in and capably contribute snaps on the outside if Brown and Smith even need to miss snaps for an in-game injury or decisive score?

With veteran Zach Pascal gone to the Arizona Cardinals, the next logical solution would appear to be the embattled Quez Watkins, who himself must overcome various shortcomings from 2022 to rebuild trust and earn snaps.

Olamide Zaccheaus and Britain Covey, both standing 5 foot 8, predominately line up on the inside due to skill set and stature. Beyond the three aforementioned, you’ll find an amalgam of unproven commodities merely vying for a roster spot.

Identifying established outside help to alleviate any potential offensive hinderance at any point throughout the season should be a top priority.

– Geoff Mosher (@geoffpmosher) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and Senior staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com. Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

Follow the whole series:
Part 1: Most impactful rookie
Part 2: Biggest second-year player impact
Part 3: Breakout 2023 performer
Part 4: Most significant free-agent addition, offense
Part 5: Most significant free-agent addition, defense
Part 6: Strong position, offense
Part 7: Most poised for decline

Listen to the latest “Inside The Birds” podcast featuring Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher:

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