Position Breakdowns: How the Eagles stack up against the Chargers

Position Breakdowns: How the Eagles stack up against the Chargers

For the second week in a row, the Eagles face a team looking for its first win. And for the second week in a row, that’s going to be reflected in a head-to-head comparison.

At 2-1, the Eagles appear to be the better team in terms of record. They also appear to be the better team on paper, at least in several areas. We’ll take a look at a few areas where the Chargers may have superior talent, as well as some intangibles likely in their favor.

But spoiler alert: The thinking here is the Eagles have the better squad overall.


Philip Rivers is one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the NFL over the last decade. With a strong arm and routinely saddled with a bad team, Rivers does have a tendency to try to do too much, which often leads to turnovers. But when he’s on, he’s as good as anybody in the league. Carson Wentz shows signs of one day becoming that type of player, but the consistency isn’t there. Right now, Wentz really needs to improve his downfield passing to take the next step.

Edge: Chargers


A first-round draft pick in 2015, Melvin Gordon is steady, though not explosive. He is the Chargers’ primary back, however, which is more than can be said for anybody on the Eagles roster right now. With Darren Sproles out, LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood should see the bulk of the work moving forward. That certainly has the potential to be a dynamic tandem, but Blount is one-dimensional, and Smallwood still an unknown. Gordon does fumble quite a bit – still, he’s a workhorse.

Slight edge: Chargers


There’s no question Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz will be the two most dangerous offensive players on the field on Sunday. The Chargers simply don’t have anybody that dynamic. Antonio Gates is one of the greatest tight ends of all-time, but at 37 years old, he’s been reduced to a role player in LA’s offense. Keenan Allen is the No. 1 target now, though he hasn’t averaged more than 10.8 yards per catch since his rookie season in 2013. Rivers wishes he had the Eagles’ weapons.

Edge: Eagles


Replacing Isaac Seumalo at left guard made a world of difference for the Eagles. The unit appears to be back on track, finally living up to its reputation as one of the best in the league last week. The Chargers are not so fortunate. Starting right tackle Joe Barksdale is questionable with a foot injury, and not exactly rock solid if he does play. Losing second-round pick Forrest Lamp to a torn ACL in training camp was a huge loss for that group.

Clear edge: Eagles


Another week, another scary group of pass rushers. Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram already has 5.5 sacks this season, and will be the best defensive player on the field for either team. Give defensive end Joey Bosa 2.5 sacks as well. Meanwhile, the Eagles will likely be without their best lineman in Fletcher Cox due to a calf injury. The defense sagged when Cox went out of the lineup on Sunday, so his absence will be a serious concern.

Slight edge: Chargers


Both clubs lost their best cornerback in Week 1 – Jason Verrett for the Chargers, Ronald Darby for the Eagles – and are just trying to get by with what they have there. Casey Heyward is probably the biggest playmaker there, and can make Wentz pay for any errant passes. But the Eagles are much more dynamic at safety, especially with the return of Rodney McLeod from a hamstring injury. That doesn’t necessarily make up for the situation at corner, but it’s pick your poison with regard to these secondaries.

Very slight edge: Eagles


The Chargers are already regretting going with something called Younghoe Koo at kicker. Koo is just 2 for 6 on field goals of 40 yards or more. Eagles kicker Jake Elliott has been far from perfect himself, going 3 for 5, but he’s certainly shown some range. Even with Sproles out, the Eagles return game should remain dangerous if Kenjon Barner is the replacement. LA’s special teams notoriously stink all around.

Edge: Eagles


Anthony Lynn seems to prefer an old-school, run-first approach, though the Chargers are always trailing, so Rivers tends to heave the football a bunch. Say what you want about Doug Pederson and some of his play-calling, but the Eagles are ahead of the curve with a super modern, aggressive mentality on offense. The defenses are led by former head coaches Gus Bradley and Jim Schwartz, respectively. Pederson and Schwartz get the nod based on experience, as both have been in their jobs for longer.

Slight edge: Eagles


This is a good time to mention the intangibles at work here – namely, the Eagles’ making the trip across the country to Los Angeles. Even if the Chargers don’t have home-field advantage in terms of fan support, they own a distinct travel advantage, which is probably more important. Not only that, but this is a desperate team gunning for its first win. Otherwise, the Eagles look like the superior squad. There just happen to be a few other factors that will be working against them on Sunday.

Slight edge: Eagles

Howie Roseman has rendered the salary cap inconsequential

Howie Roseman has rendered the salary cap inconsequential

At any given time, somebody is asking how much salary cap space the Eagles have left.

A better question would be does it even matter anymore?

With his latest round of contract restructurings, Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman has once again demonstrated his expertise in circumventing the NFL’s spending limit. On Friday, Roseman actually gave backup quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles more money despite the team’s ongoing cap crunch, then turned around on Monday and redid Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks’ deal to save $4 million.

For most teams around the NFL, that’s a series of moves worth applauding. For the Eagles under Roseman, it’s just another day at the office.

Roseman has been doing the seemingly impossible to stretch the Eagles’ finances further than anybody thought they could go for years now. Frankly, he’s putting amateur cap analysts out of business, because every time Spotrac or Over The Cap makes you think the organization is about to go through a real belt-tightening, Roseman makes a big splash instead.

This past offseason, the Eagles retained Foles, extended Nigel Bradham, signed Haloti Ngata and completed a trade for Michael Bennett. The club was also forced to part ways with Vinny Curry, Patrick Robinson and Trey Burton, among others – but that’s not bad considering Jason Peters, Rodney McLeod and Foles were all rumored to be on the chopping block. And Roseman isn’t necessarily finished. Brandon Graham is in line for a massive new contract, and Darren Sproles could return as well.

The cap situation wasn’t thought to be as dire in 2017, yet Roseman came away from last offseason looking like a magician anyway. The combination of the Foles, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount, Chance Warmack, Chris Long and Tim Jernigan signings were almost unfathomable at the time. By season’s end, Jeffery, Warmack and Jernigan were all extended, while the Eagles had also added Ronald Darby and Jay Ajayi in trades.

How does Roseman do it?

Some of it is right in front of our eyes. Roseman extended All-Pro players such as Lane Johnson and Zach Ertz before they really took off. He’s constantly tinkering with contracts to make them more cap friendly, like he did with Brooks, or Ertz earlier this offseason. He deals the Eagles’ high salaries or players on the verge of receiving new deals for draft picks or lower-priced talent under contract.

Other times, Roseman can save more money from the trade or release than the cap-dedicated web sites indicate. He structured most of these contracts, he knows the intricacies of the terms, and he put the Eagles’ escape clause in there himself.

Not only do I rarely scrutinize the Eagles’ cap situation anymore. I’ve barely looked at it this offseason.

Howie’s got this. And the moment I challenge the Eagles with concerns they can’t possibly pursue a high-profile player, or another big contract will threaten to put the club in cap hell, Howie will pull it off comfortably – then he’ll go about creating room to breathe.

Maybe this will come back to haunt the Eagles in future years, when all the kicking the can down the road for contract restructures and lack of cap carryover from spending to the limit really starts to catch up. Then again, something tells me Roseman has this covered, and as long as he’s in charge of the books, my days of obsessively tracking player salaries are over.

What's the deal with Nick Foles' feet?


What's the deal with Nick Foles' feet?

Nick Foles is new to Instagram but we're pretty sure he's not new to footwear.

The Super Bowl MVP joined Instagram over the weekend and his first photo was fantastic: Nick, his wife, his daughter, all posing in front of the beautiful Super Bowl display over at the NovaCare Complex.

It's pretty much perfect. Except if you look a little too closely. Nick appears to have some mismatched footwear on. What's the deal, Nick?

PREVIOUSLY: Nick Foles chokes up talking about his daughter

Bring your family to work day! #FlyEaglesFly

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UPDATE: Could the conspiracy go deeper?

Other things you can glean from Foles' insta: he has a cute dog and a Rocky statue and likes what we're assuming is country music. No ads for Uber just yet, but we expect them.

My boy, Henry.

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Rocky in the locker. #underdog #eagles #rocky

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