There was only one team in the NFC East this past season that finished with a losing record. Despite an impressive 3-0 start, new Head Coach Doug Pederson and his Philadelphia Eagles dropped nine of their final 13 contests to finish 7-9. To their credit, the Birds did close the year with victories over the playoff-bound New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

This was a revamped club that also posted wins over the AFC North champion Pittsburgh Steelers as well as the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons. But it’s a new season and the Eagles have made some changes. So what can we expect when the team’s rookies (July 23) and then veterans (July 26) report to the NovaCare Training Complex next week?

Major additions this offseason

The Philadelphia Eagles’ attack got off to a great start last season but would eventually fizzle. The team’s offensive unit managed to score 10 touchdowns in its first three outings. But things would catch up to rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and there were only 22 offensive TDs in the final 13 games of 2016.

Wentz and the passing attack managed only 16 scores as the Birds’ deficiencies at wide receiver were exposed. But this offseason, general manager Howie Roseman added a pair of veteran wideouts in Torrey Smith (San Francisco 49ers) and Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears). Meanwhile, the club parted ways with Dorial Green-Beckham. To bolster an inconsistent ground game, the team welcomed two-time Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount (Philadelphia Eagles) to the City of Brotherly Love.

On defense, the front four got a lot of help via a trade for Timmy Jernigan (Baltimore Ravens), as well as the free-agent additions of Chris Long (from Patriots) and Gabe Wright (Cleveland Browns). The team also added defensive end Derek Barnett (Tennessee) in the first round of April’s draft.

What to look for

It’s the second year of the Pederson Era in Philadelphia. And while this club finished with the same record in 2016 as it did the previous year, there’s more of a sense that this is a franchise now headed in a proper direction. The offensive additions should help Wentz, who was thrust into the starting quarterback role this past year without a lot of notice.

Jeffery, Smith and incumbent wide receiver Jordan Matthews will prove to be an efficient trio.

It’s also the second season for the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense under coordinator Jim Schwartz. And veterans like Long and Jernigan will aid a group that made strides in ’16. All told, this is a potentially dangerous club that can’t be overlooked in a rock-solid division.

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