Many of the offseason questions for the Eagles surround the wide receiver position, so we spent a good portion of Monday’s session with the assistant coaches at Bob Bicknell‘s table for his read on the state of the receivers. Here’s what we came away with:
Bicknell might be best known in Philadelphia for his flap with DeSean Jackson on the sidelines in Minnesota back in December. This led to speculation that the coach and player had a strained relationship — a theory that gained steam when Jackson was shown the door back in March. Not so, according to the receivers coach.
"I felt like I had a great relationship with DeSean. I really enjoyed being around him. I think we went through a really good year together," he said. "We moved on and I don't really think that much about it, but when it comes right down to it the kid did everything I asked him to do. He wasn't late. He wasn't disrespectful. He did the things we wanted him to do. We just decided to move on, and that's that."
Chip Kelly labeled the move as a football decision, and Jeffrey Lurie added that Jackson wasn't a fit and the team needed to "reconfigure the wide receiver position" when speaking on the topic back in April. Bicknell helped to further explain the thought process.
"We're a team that likes having bigger receivers. It's no different than anybody else," said Bicknell, who said he was consulted on the decision to release Jackson. "We are big on the run game with blocking and those kind of things. Really it was just a decision to move on."
Asked about losing their deep threat, Bicknell mentioned Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff as players that can potentially rip off some big plays for this offense.
"I don't personally look at it and say, 'Gosh, we can't go deep.' Riley Cooper probably has some of the best ball judgement on deep balls as anybody. So I look forward to all those guys [contributing]."
Some quick hitters on a few of the receivers:
"I really don't see anything different from when he was feeling good [pre-ACL tear]. Now, he's not in as good of shape. He's been trying to work to get his knee back...His biggest thing is probably getting his legs back all the time. He may go three reps, everything's perfect, and the fourth one is not quite there. But I feel great about where he's at."
Does he have a chance?
"Oh, I definitely think he has a chance. When we actually start playing and we're getting press coverage and playing actual games you'll be able to [judge better]...He wasn't with us during the season; he came back a different player. He's done a really good job of coming back and playing. Obviously a lot of things have to happen but he's done a good job."
"Arrelious is big, he's fast. He's done an excellent job in OTAs of catching the football. But we haven't seen him in games. That's the hardest thing with every one of these guys right now, especially the ones that hadn't been here. It's going to be interesting to see him in the preseason. But he's got excellent size, he can run, catches the ball. He's done really good things with the ball in his hand in the past. He offers big-play ability."
Challenges for the rookie receivers:
"The game is very different in college than the NFL. The very idea of press and disrupting coverages and all the different looks, I do think that's a little bit different. They are going to play against really solid corners every snap where in college maybe there are a couple guys who aren't quite as good.
"Keenan Allen I think of last year, came in and did some good things...I look forward to seeing these guys. We're going to get somebody ready to go, and somebody is going to emerge as the guy that can help us. I have confidence in Josh, I have confidence in Jordan, I have confidence in Quron Pratt, Kadron Boone. Those are four guys that have come in just as rookies and I'll tell you, they are fun to watch. So it will be interesting to see what they do once we get going."