ON THE INSIDE
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES GAMEDAY MAGAZINE 5
USHERING IN THE NEXT WAVE OF EAGLES
THE EAGLES ARE GETTING SHORT-TERM GAINS FROM PLAYERS
WHO ARE CRITICAL TO THE FRANCHISE’S LONG-TERM SUCCESS
As the Eagles showed last season on
the way to their Super Bowl LII triumph,
success only happens when every corner
of the roster contributes. The 2017 Eagles
overcame a multitude of injuries to win it
all, and a host of young players stepped
up and helped the cause. Through the first
quarter of 2018, the Eagles are finding the
same formula works.
The Rookie Class, headlined by secondround
draft pick tight end Dallas Goedert,
has made an immediate contribution.
Some second-year players, with defensive
end Derek Barnett, cornerback Sidney
Jones, and running back Corey Clement,
play critical roles as the Eagles prepare for
Minnesota in today’s 1 p.m. kickoff.
“You need everybody,” head coach Doug
Pederson says. “It’s just the way of this
league. There are going to be injuries.
We’ve been hit quite a bit, particularly on
the offensive side and also to some key
spots on defense, so we need everyone on
the roster to do his part.”
That’s happening, as the Eagles introduce
the “Next Wave” of key pieces who will be
vital over the course of the next several
seasons. Goedert’s breakout game against
Indianapolis when he caught seven passes
for 73 yards and a touchdown was exactly
what the Eagles envisioned when they
traded up in the second round to take him
with the 49th overall pick. After playing
17 snaps in each of the first two games,
Goedert was a force in Week 3.
His patience was rewarded.
“It felt good to catch some passes and
contribute that way,” he says. “It doesn’t
matter to me how I do it, as long as I’m
helping the team win. Whatever they ask
me to do, I’m going to do it to the best of
Fourth-round draft pick Avonte Maddox
has contributed on special teams
and should be more of a factor in the
secondary as a coverage cornerback in
the weeks to come, and fifth-round draft
pick defensive end Josh Sweat is working
his way into the rotation at a deep and
Rookie running back Josh Adams opened
some eyes and earned the trust of the
coaching staff with six carries for 30 yards
in the Colts game with Jay Ajayi and Darren
Sproles out because of injuries. Adams has
a taste for the tempo of the regular season
now and will be even more prepared the
next time he is pressed into duty.
Second-year men Barnett and Jones are
seeing a lot of snaps – Barnett has started
at end and is playing 60 percent of the
defensive snaps and Jones has seen action
in 65 percent of the snaps at cornerback.
Clement has been the do-it-all player for
the Eagles in the offensive backfield and on
special teams as the Eagles weathered the
injuries to Ajayi and Sproles.
For a team with a galaxy of stars in
quarterback Carson Wentz, tight end Zach
Ertz, the offensive and defensive lines,
safety Malcolm Jenkins, and linebackers
Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, looking to
the “Next Wave” is a big part of the vision
for long-range success.
“Every time you step on the field you
learn more,” Maddox says. “All of these
new experiences, you just have to know
that you’re doing them for the first time
and you learn from them. You’re going to
make mistakes. The key is to not allow the
mistakes to eat you up. You have to move
on, have a short memory. I’m just trying
to make my game better every single day.
Then when I’m called on, I’m going to
As the Eagles move through 2018 with
an eye on another Lombardi Trophy,
they are also aware of what’s around the
corner. The early returns are promising as
the “Next Wave” comes into play.
BY DAVE SPADARO, Eagles Insider