When Jeremy Maclin got up after lying on the ground for about 30 seconds at the end of practice earlier this week, chances are Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman let out a collective sigh of relief.
Maclin grabbed his left knee initially after an incompletion in the end zone, but said afterwards that he was fine.
The veteran wide receiver is coming off a torn ACL in his right knee suffered last summer. He signed a one-year deal with the Eagles as a free agent but has hopes of sticking around for awhile.
Coaches and general managers sometimes try to manage expectations for players coming off of injuries. Kelly and Roseman, however, have done quite the opposite.
Asked about how long it takes for players to recover from ACL injuries, Roseman said earlier this offseason: “I think it depends on the player. We saw Adrian Peterson come back after six months, and did he win the MVP award after that? So I think it depends on the genetics. And all I know is what our doctors are telling us, and he’s doing a great job in his rehab. We fully expect him to be ready to go once the season starts.”
It’s one thing to say you expect Maclin to be a healthy contributor. It’s another to bring up one of the freakiest athletes in the game and a guy who rushed for 2,097 yards after the ACL injury. But that’s what Roseman did.
And he’s not alone. After the draft, Kelly was asked if he felt the Eagles could still challenge teams downfield without DeSean Jackson.
“We’ve got guys,” he said, interrupting the question. “Mac is a first‑round draft choice, and it was kind of really tough not only on him but on us that we lost him last year. How dynamic could we have been if we had an opportunity to keep him in the mix?”
Added Nick Foles: “He’s going to be a huge part of this offense.”
Maybe those around Maclin are just really encouraged by his progress. Maybe they want to make sure he knows they’re confident in him. Whatever the case, they’re setting the bar high.
During practices open to the media, Maclin and Riley Cooper have been the starting outside receivers. And barring injury, that figures to be the case when the team opens up its season at the Linc against the Jaguars in September.
Cooper and Jackson both had career years playing in Kelly’s system last season. In 2014, the head coach and general manager are making it clear they’re counting on Maclin to do the same.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Which starters are in danger of losing their jobs? T-Mac answers in his weekly mailbag.
Three numbers that matter: On Darren Sproles’ role, LeSean McCoy’s future and Foles’ money.
McManus looks at the impact of the Colin Kaepernick deal.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Foles, not Kaepernick, will set his own market, writes ESPN.com’s Phil Sheridan:
Foles’ journey was different. He was never identified as the No. 1 quarterback until he was actually playing like one after Vick was injured last year. His excellent 2013 was all tied up with Kelly’s first season in the NFL. It will take another season, at least, for Foles to establish his actual value among NFL quarterbacks.
As it happens, that’s exactly when Foles will be in position to get paid like a starting quarterback. Ultimately, it will be Foles’ performance in 2014 — not Kaepernick or anyone else — that sets the market for him.
Rich Hofmann of the Daily News tackles the sports science angle:
One of the ongoing conversations, Kelce said, involves sleep apnea, which can be an issue for bigger people. If there is a sense that it might be an issue for a player, Kelce said, the club encourages medical consultations.
“I’ve been kind of on the fence,” Kelce said. “I’ve been sleeping good right now but sometimes when I put my weight up, which I have been doing [for the season], I start developing what I think is called weight-induced sleep apnea, where your neck is too big. I might get tested later on down the line, toward the season. Right now, I’m not having a problem.”
We’ll do our best to help you kill time before the weekend begins.