Eagles Observations: 5 takeaways from the updated Week 1 depth chart
It’s officially game week, folks. The Eagles are set to take on the Lions for their Week 1 contest this upcoming Sunday at 1 PM in Detroit.
Now that we’re less than a week away from game time, the Eagles’ PR staff has released their unofficial depth chart for Week 1.
Eagles Week 1 depth chart:
Although the depth chart is technically ‘unofficial,’ there’s no reason to believe the starting lineup will look drastically different come kickoff.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Eagles starting lineups heading into their matchup with Detroit.
Miles Sanders is the RB1, followed by Gainwell and Scott
Head coach Nick Sirianni has stated numerous times that Miles Sanders is his RB1 when healthy and the depth chart reflects that. His health status is still up in the air for Week 1 — he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury for the past few weeks — but it appears the coaching staff is preparing as if Sanders will be a full-go.
Behind the fourth-year back, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott will likely split carries.
Newly acquired Trey Sermon will serve as the RB4. It’ll be interesting to see how much playing time the former Ohio State standout gets, if any at all.
Zach Pascal will backup every WR spot
Since the Eagles are entering the season with just four wideouts on the active roster, Zach Pascal will serve as the backup for the X, Z, and slot alignments.
Playing all over the offensive formation is nothing new for Pascal. Throughout his four-year career, the wideout has spent 1,060 snaps in the slot and 681 out wide, per Pro Football Focus. He’ll essentially be the utility man for the Eagles wide receiving corps this season.
With only four active receivers, just one injury to the group could be detrimental on gameday. Pascal will be solid in his utility role, but if he’s forced to start due to injury, the Eagles offense will suffer. Hopefully, the WR group can avoid the injury bug in 2022.
Jack Stoll will serve as the TE2, rookie Grant Calcaterra slots in at TE3
Although second-year TE Jack Stoll is technically listed as the TE2, I expect him and rookie Grant Calcaterra to split those duties.
Whenever Sirianni wants to pound the rock, Stoll will likely be inserted into the lineup. He was one of the best blocking tight ends in the game last year, posting a PFF pass blocking grade of 84.2.
Calcaterra is more of a receiving threat by trade. He and Dallas Goedert could form one of the best TE receiving duos in the league in the near future. As long as the rookie can remain healthy, he has a bright future ahead of him in Philly.
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The Georgia rookies will be backups in Week 1
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the pair of Georgia rookies on the Eagles defense. Both Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean will be cornerstones of Jonathan Gannon’s defense for years to come, but they’ll still need to earn their playing time in year one.
I expect Davis to get a bit more playing time than Dean right off the bat. He’s a first-round pick and fits perfectly into the defensive line rotation. Gannon didn’t rotate his backers as frequently as his line last season. Now that Dean is in the fold, that may change.
Davis and Dean should have defined roles in 2022. By season’s end, both could very well be starters.
CJ Gardner-Johnson is, in fact, the starting safety
When the team went out and traded for versatile defensive back CJ Gardner-Johnson last week, there was speculation among the Eagles fanbase as to how CGJ would be utilized in Gannon’s defense. After the team moved on from veteran safety Anthony Harris, it was clear that the former Saint was brought here to fill Harris’ shoes in the secondary.
Through three seasons in the NFL, Gardner-Johnson has played primarily in the nickel. He’s spent 1,367 snaps from that alignment, while only seeing 80 snaps at free safety. Nevertheless, his skill set is a natural fit for Gannon’s ideal safety archetype.
Physicality and versatility are two of the core values Gannon places in his safety position. One look at CGJ’s tape and it’s evident that he checks both of those boxes.
There’s still some uncertainty surrounding Gannon’s scheme heading into the 2022 campaign. Gannon has made one thing clear since joining the Eagles coaching staff: his defense will have the versatility to match whatever the opposing offense is showing. CGJ should thrive playing under that defensive philosophy.
Mandatory Credit: John Jones | Icon Sportswire