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The Eagles’ opening-day roster is starting to take shape, and there will be two big holes to fill from the championship squad that could prove problematic no matter who plays quarterback.

LaGarrette Blount, the Eagles leading rusher last season, is long gone to Detroit via free agency. And now my colleague at ESPN, Adam Schefter (who is the best in the business) reports the Super Bowl champs will be without their leading wide receiver from 2018, Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, and Schefter reports he will not be back until at least Week 3 of the regular season, when the Indianapolis Colts visit Lincoln Financial Field.

Yikes – leading receiver, leading rusher both now missing in action. So, where will the offense come from?

Zach Ertz

For the passing game, the Eagles will rely a lot more on two tight end sets with Pro Bowler Zach Ertz and rookie Dallas Goedert. They will patrol the middle of the field with Nelson Agholor finding seams between the hash marks. With Corey Clement coming out of the backfield and Mike Wallace a deep threat, it still might come together nicely until Jeffery returns.

As for the running game, I have my doubts that anybody will replace Blount, who – when they needed to drive the pile between the tackles – was as punishing a rusher as the team has seen since Duce Staley.

My take: head coach Doug Pederson, who will call the plays and design the offense, will use a lot of formation variation, shifts and tempo to create match-up problems. He will have to be creative. He has only one Pro Bowl offensive skill player: Ertz. It’s going to be a challenge to score points for a team that scored 28.3 a game last year, third in the league.

 

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