When will Carson Wentz start?
Now that the Sam Bradford soap opera has ended, we can pretty much shut the door on Carson Wentz ascending to starting quarterback in his rookie year. He'll be number three on the depth chart, behind Chase Daniel as well, which means there would have to be not one but two injuries before he gets the ball. You can debate the wisdom of this approach all you like, but that's how the Eagles set it up.
There's little doubt the Eagles would like to trade Bradford and recoup some of the picks they've given up to acquire quarterbacks the last two years, only on their terms. The hope is the seventh-year veteran continues to build on his late-2015 success and make himself valuable to another team, while helping this one compete in the short term. Given Bradford's reaction to all of this, it's hard to believe the marriage can last more than one year.
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That means we could see Wentz in 2017, although even that is no guarantee. Head coach Doug Pederson likes Daniel, and the Eagles are in seemingly no rush to get their franchise quarterback on the field. At the very least, it looks likely there would be some kind of competition for the job at that point.
Even if Wentz is holding a clipboard at the beginning of the 2017 season, it would be surprising if he went the entire season without starting a game. So sometime next year would appear to be the answer, as long as everything goes according to the Eagles' plans anyway.
Is Chase Daniel any good?
The Eagles paid a lot of money for a soon-to-be 30-year-old backup with 77 career pass attempts in the NFL. Regardless of what Pederson says, he wasn't signed so much because he can play as much as for his knowledge of the offense and what he brings to the quarterback room. That being said, there's a high likelihood we're eventually going to see Daniel in a game. And when that day arrives, exactly how much of a trainwreck is it going to be?
Trainwreck might be a bit strong. Daniel is 1-1 in two starts, though neither game wound up mattering. He lost a meaningless Week 17 contest in overtime in 2013, and won a Week 17 game with 157 yards passing in 2014, a victory that left the Chiefs short of the playoffs anyway. It would be fair to describe those outings as "competent."
That's not exactly a compliment. Daniel might keep his team in games, but if had to put the offense on his shoulders for longer than a week or two, one has to wonder how long until he would be exposed. He's only 6'0" and isn't known for having a strong arm. He might know where to go to pick apart a weak defense, but when the pressure is in his face and the secondary is locking down on short and intermediate routes, does he possess the physical ability to fit the ball into tight windows?
The fact of the matter is nobody really knows whether Daniel is any good because he hasn't had the opportunity to show one way or the other. But the reality is, aside from maybe Pederson, there aren't many people are excited to find out, either.
Can Ryan Mathews carry the load?
Ryan Mathews was selected 12th overall in the 2010 draft. He's twice run for over 1,000 yards in a season, and he's received an invitation to the Pro Bowl. Just last season, Mathews averaged 5.1 yards per carry while matching his career high seven touchdowns.
Any team would be lucky to have a back with Mathews' talents. At 6'0", 220 pounds, he can run for power, and with 4.4 speed, he can elude the defense and catch passes out of the backfield. But it's never been a question of talent for the 28-year-old. The knock is his inability to stay healthy.
Mathews has made it through all 16 games just once in six seasons. In 2015, he lost three to a concussion, which to be fair could happen to anyone, although he was also said to be battling injuries throughout. Now Mathews finds himself in a situation nobody could've seen coming when he signed with the Eagles one year ago -- he's the starting running back. Can they rely on him to produce?
Perhaps the injury angle is a little overblown. Only once has Mathews missed more than four games in a season, so it's not as if he's never available. He also appeared in all 16 as recently as 2013, finishing fourth in the NFL with 285 rushing attempts, so if he can stay on the field, he's certainly capable of handling a full workload. Regardless, there will always be that doubt.
Will the Eagles use a fullback?
There is no fullback on the roster, and it's doubtful they're going to create space for one now. That's not to say the Eagles will not, on occasion, have someone lined up at fullback.
They did briefly sign some former linebacker and gave him the title of fullback, and while he didn't even make it to the draft, it suggests the offense does have some use for the position. Apparently, not enough to sign a real fullback, or to even carry a fullback on the 90-man roster, but come on, everybody but Chip Kelly deploys a fullback once in awhile, even if its actually just their biggest defensive tackle.
In the Eagles' case, it seems likely to be a tight, particularly Trey Burton. The third-year veteran was a jack of all trades at Florida, lining up at tight end, wide receiver, running back, even quarterback. He's shown some versatility in the NFL as well, proving to be one of the club's top special teamers, and once took five handoffs to help ice the clock at the end of the game.
This may not be a package we see frequently during the course of a game, perhaps not even on a weekly basis. Down on the goal line or in short yardage situations though? A lead blocker might help might work once in awhile, while Burton provides the added dynamic of being able to leak out on a quick route and catch the ball out of the backfield as well.