Eagles Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Leading up to training camp on July 25, we’ll have a position-by-position preview of the Eagles’ roster. We have already covered the defensive linequarterbacksoutside linebackersrunning backsinside linebackers and cornerbacks. Now it’s on to the wide receivers.

The pressing question: Can this unit thrive minus DeSean Jackson?

This is obviously one of the major story lines heading into the season.

A lot has to go right. Jeremy Maclin needs to regain pre-ACL form and stay healthy for the majority of the season. They can’t afford to lose him for a significant stretch. Riley Cooper has to follow up his breakout campaign with another strong showing, and prove that he can excel even without Jackson opposite him. At least one rookie needs to step up and play a big role. There is plenty of buzz around second-round pick Jordan Matthews. Josh Huff, who was coached by Chip Kelly at Oregon, has some familiarity with the offense. History, though, hasn’t been kind to rookie receivers by and large. There are exceptions — like Keenan Allen last year — but the odds are against a first-year wideout putting up big stats, as Brian Billick notes:

Wide receiver has become one of the toughest positions for rookies to adapt to in the pros. There are a lot of challenges that factor into this: eluding press coverage, getting separations on a break, running disciplined routes (both in terms of positioning and timing) and mastering the myriad sight adjustments and choice routes that are a big part of the modern pro game. Those are all very difficult aspects of the process. So is gaining the trust of your quarterback.

Maybe Matthews quickly gains that trust, matches the hype and explodes onto the scene. Maybe a healthy Maclin, plugged into a system that is ultra kind to skill players, will have no issues taking over the primary receiver post. Maybe Cooper is coming into his own.

There are a lot of maybes — too many to feel totally comfortable with the state of the receiver position.

Roster battles

The Eagles carried between five and six receivers on the roster last season.Maclin, Cooper, Matthews and Huff will almost certainly occupy four spots.  The next slot could very well go to Brad Smith, who ran with the first team as the slot receiver for much of the spring. If so, that leaves Arrelious Benn, Ifeanyi Momah, Jeff Maehl, Damaris Johnson, B.J. Cunningham, Quron Pratt, Will Murphy and Kadron Boone competing for a place on the team.  

Benn has had trouble staying healthy but fared pretty well during OTAs. Receivers coach Bob Bicknell said he’s anxious to see him in a game setting. The 6-7 Momah looked much improved from a year ago. I can see him being a camp darling. Maehl was a contributor on special teams last year, finishing with six tackles.

One thing I think

Speaking on the release of Jackson back in late April, Jeffrey Lurie said that Kelly made it very clear to him that “for us to get better, we needed to take a step back and reconfigure the wide receiver position…It just was not a good fit for what he asks wide receivers to do.”

Kelly is the architect and if he sees a piece that doesn’t fit the vision, he has the authority to remove said piece. It might be the right move for the long-term build but there is also a good chance that the receiving corps takes a “step back” as a result of this decision in the short term.

I am a believer in Kelly and his system. But how many examples are there of a team removing one of its top players and being better for it?  That’s not easy to pull off, even for the smartest of coaches and sleekest of schemes.

I think the Eagles have left themselves thin at receiver for 2014 and will need good health, quick development from their young wideouts and assistance from the other skill positions to avoid going backwards on offense.




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  • 370HSSV 0773H

    Lets not forget, Riley Cooper only had a few big games last year. Most of them were just average. We’re putting a lot of faith into Maclin staying healthy this year.

    • tomw

      A lot of Jacksons big stats came in about five games also. That is life in the NFL. And Vick did not spend much time looking for Cooper.

      • southy

        I wouldn’t say that’s life in the NFL. There are some guys out there who show consistently through the season who aren’t even household names. Antonio Brown comes to mind.

        DJax just had a habit of disappearing from some games. Before we blamed it on Andy not using him right; now we say he can’t get off press-man. Whatever it is, it’s really hurt our consistency on offense.

    • Andy Six Score and Four

      I think that will be the norm in this offense as we’re always looking to exploit specific matchups rather than rely on a specific target.

      Let the D pick their poison. The various Ds aren’t always going to pick the same poison.

      • aub32

        It’s going to be tougher than most think to take advantage of matchups in the NFC. I think our weapons are better than the defenders in our division. However, is Sproles really that much better than Wagner, Willis, or Kuechly? Do I trust our rookie WRs to be better than Byrd and Vacarro? Chancellor and Thomas? There are going to be times where we need at least one player to be flat out better than the man across from him. Losing our 2nd best talent on offense doesn’t help that.

    • myeaglescantwin

      even in the games where he had two or three catches, they were for big yards at crucial moments.
      He bailed Foles out on numerous underthrown passes. I think Foles likes to reward that effort.
      The whole “trust” issue.

  • Cash 4 Chung-kers

    Step-back not from a production aspect a step-back from a vision aspect. You need to look big picture at the WR position and re-think how we draft and evaluate them. We need to prioritize size and speed because the corner backs in this league are just getting bigger and faster small WR’s will have issues getting separation.

  • Soybot

    Let’s not forget that Ertz, Celek, Shady and Sproles will also a significant number of targets as well. I’m just as happy with a 30 yard catch and run by a RB or TE as with a 30 yard out to a WR.

  • knighn

    “But how many examples are there of a team removing one of its top players and being better for it?”
    Off the top of my head:
    Plaxico Burress left the Steelers after the 2004 season. The Steelers won the Super Bowl after the 2005 season.
    Tiki Barber left the NY Giants after the 2006 season. The NY Giants won the Super Bowl after the 2007 season.
    Looking at the long view you could also say the Packers and Brett Favre after the 2007 season (won the Super Bowl after the 2010 season).
    These may not be the same circumstances but ultimately these teams actually became better after losing one of their top players. There are probably other examples. Football, after all, is the ultimate Team game.

    • Eagles4Life

      Great examples!

    • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

      EHHHHH.

      Plax left, but he wasn’t the best player on a team that sported the Bus, the other RB (don’t feel like googling, too excited to argue this comment) Hines Ward, a potent Dick LeBeau defense, which featured that crazy linebacking core, and many more. You could say most talented player. Best? How many of us are picking him over the more team oriented, more durable, better blocking, more sure handed, non-leg shooting Hines Ward?

      Tiki. Really? On a team that had Michael Strahan? Really?

      Brett Favre? I don’t want to comment here because I hate Brett Favre. Anything I say will come from a super biased person. On the day Jim Johnson died (RIP), Favre and retirement gate were featured on the front page of ESPN. Not Favre’s doing, but I’ve blamed and hated him ever since.

    • myeaglescantwin

      nice write up.

      it’s all about chemistry. Obviously Chip felt that 53 players that all buy in is more effective than 52+1 undermining primadonna.

    • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

      So are we reviewing everybody’s posts or just mine?

      • knighn

        I am confused. Did you write something like this already?
        I wasn’t plagiarizing, honest. I even had to double check some of the dates.

      • knighn

        Oh, you are being moderated. I’ll sum it up like this: neither my statement nor the original statement by McManus say “The Top” or “The Best” player. It simply says “One of the Top” players.

        However: DeSean wasn’t the top player on this team. It was LeSean McCoy. Both Tiki Barber and Plaxico Burress were top players (not “the top players”) on the teams they left. In fact, if you’re looking at the 2006 NYG team, Tiki was a far superior player to Strahan that year.

        • OverreacSean Jackson, #culture

          Well the moderating thing stole all my thunder. I forgot why I even wanted to argue. I’m just gonna wave a white flag.

        • Marilyn Monbroe

          Tiki was on his way to a hall of fame career. He was scary good once he stopped fumbling.

    • Charliefoxtrot
      • knighn

        Thank You, Old Sport!

    • Amar, CB who bought in

      Not bad, and all recent examples.

      • knighn

        Believe it or not: I really wanted Plaxico right after he left the Steelers. Outside of T.O. he would have easily been the most accomplished receiver on that team. Having him would have provided “T.O. Insurance” and a great 1-2 punch if T.O. played nice. How different things could have been if Plaxico came to the right side of Pennsylvania.
        As for Tiki – great player, regular competitor with B-West for most versatile RB, left at the height of his career because he was tired of being tackled by Jeremiah Trotter. Could not believe the Coughlin / Eli Giants won one without him. If memory serves me correctly: Shockey was out for their first big game too.
        Bottom line: those guys were easy for me to remember because they were so important to me at the time.

  • cliff h-MOAR white goons

    hanging my hat on Maclin, Cooper, Matthews/Huff/Sproles > Jax, Cooper and Avant…cause Avant was just that bad.

    • Eagles4Life

      Agreed. Also, I think he’s a long shot to make the team, but I really wish Benn could reach his full potential.

  • myeaglescantwin

    They leave out that each one of those receivers is a very capable blocker.
    Maclin can stretch the safeties (not Jackson,but) and the rest of our guys can get their hands on DBs and gain ground.

    What i heard about the rookies from Cosel was that they were two of the best run blocking WRs in the draft.
    That’s what chip is looking for.

    I’m hoping to see 55% runs this year.
    Let them cheat up for McCoy and then let Nicky Flash Foles hit someone on a deep PA pass.

    • aub32

      Jackson was a better blocker than Maclin, and Maclin has not had to stretch the field consistently in his career. Cooper isn’t the only one who has benefitted playing alongside Jackson. Plus you are assuming he has no lingering effects of his injury.

      • myeaglescantwin

        first round talent with 4.4 speed,, formerly of course.

        I can’t support your claim of Jackson’s run-blocking, but i get your point.

        but people need to realize, chip doesn’t wanna run the offense of Atlanta, or GB or any other current NFL team. He wants to run Chips offense. run run run pass.
        I trust him to make the best decisions for this team.

        there’s no doubt they handled Jackson wrong, but i’m just waiting to see where Chipper takes us.

        • aub32

          I trust Chip as well. I just hate the move. Mac is bigger than DJax and as similar speed. However, he doesn’t play nearly as fast as DJax. He also lacks the toughness that DJax has shown the last two years. Now maybe Kelly changes that, but again we are relying on a lot of “maybes”.

          • myeaglescantwin

            toughness?? what DeSean have you been watching?

            the last time i saw a tough play from DeSean was in the NFC Championship game against Arz. when he forced that fumble after an INT..

            Nowadays, homie doesn’t even chase the guy after an interception.

          • aub32

            How about in 2011 when he hawked down a D lineman from scoring a TD, even though the lineman had at least a 30 yard head start? (ATL 2011 wk 2) How about the hit he took from Reed (BAL 2012 wk 2) How about how he deflected an INT from Peterson in 2013? I could go on and on. I won’t get mad at guy a who is smaller than me for not fighting to get an extra half yard after already getting the 1st down. Yet you want to try and make the point that self tacklin Maclin is a tough player? Come on guy.

          • myeaglescantwin

            at no point did i make Maclin out to be a tough player.

            hearing someone use the word “tough” to describe DeSean blew my mind. I also said “nowaday” indicating his attitude and play style changed.

            Granted, he is only 165, but i’m more along the line of remembering him short arm anything over the middle for 3 years after getting rocked in HotLanta back in 2010. Oh, and whimpering about money season after season when he’s had exactly 3 DECENT seasons in 6 years. One of which can be considered true #1 receiver stats. That just so happened to be when Chip was running the show.

            I’d be willing to bet that you’ll argue DeSean is a true #1 NFL WR.
            He IS better than anyone on their roster since TO, but that’s not saying a whole lot.

          • aub32

            I have had this argument before. Look across the league. DeSean would be the #1 option on more than half the teams in the league. That’s why I argue he’s a #1 WR.

            I have also had this contract/whimpering argument. The guy is 165 as you stated. He nearly had his career ended by Dunta. So I don’t blame the guy for protecting himself in 2011. I don’t get why fans side with the team on this. If you had the chance to make over 15million guaranteed, but you had to make it through one season and only weighed 165, what would you do? He still put up nearly 1000 yards and was our best WR that year. He followed it by being on pace for career numbers in 2012, before getting injured, and then putting up career numbers in 2013.

            So yes I would describe DeSean as a tougher and better WR than Mac. Mac was a 1st round pick. He’s made as much as he could to this point. Why has he been such a poor blocker and laying down before getting the 1st down?

          • myeaglescantwin

            You’re right, Reid was putting him in dangerous positions. If you know you have an undersized WR, why throw him to the 260lb wolves in the middle. And if i’m jackson, and my contract wasn’t fully guaranteed, i doubt i’d lay my career on the line for a rookie contract either.
            My last point with that would be, // with my ideal #1, i wouldn’t need to worry about that.

            & i’m still not comparing Maclin to DeSean, nor am i saying that Maclin is tougher/better/even close to what DeSean has done in the NFL.

            As terrible as it was handled, I still don’t think losing DeSean was that huge of an issue.
            I could be horribly horribly horribly wrong, i acknowledge that. That’s where my trust in Chip comes in though.

          • aub32

            It’s fine to place trust in Chip. I hate the move but still have faith that Chip can get the most out of the guys here. I just think the offense would be much better had we kept DeSean. My point was that Jackson is tougher than people give him credit for. He will never be a good blocker. He’s just too small. However, he has been consistent and gives forth the effort when he’s not worried about losing his career while making less than 10% of what he’s worth. I hope CK can get Mac to be the guy we all thought he would be coming out of college. Otherwise, I’m really nervous putting my faith in Cooper and a couple rookies.

          • myeaglescantwin

            I’m standing right there with you on that.

            The philosophies and attitudes are great, cool, whatever who cares..
            Now show us on the field. You can cut who you want to, ignore the media and fans,, we don’t care as long as we win.

          • aub32

            Exactly. I don’t like the move because of what I think. Show me we can be a top 5 offense, and I will have no complaints. Struggle, and I am sure a lot of fans will be on my side talking about how horrendous a move it was.

      • knighn

        This was always one of the things that puzzled me about Maclin / Jackson. Maclin has the work ethic. He’s known for it. But when it comes to blocking, DeSean was definitely putting in more effort. There’s no reason why Maclin, at his size, shouldn’t have been a better run blocker with the Eagles (Andy Reid version) than he was.

        Interesting that Maclin was known for his downfield run-blocking in college.
        http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/jeremy-maclin?id=80429

        I know I read this somewhere else as well. There are two questions with Maclin:
        1) Health
        2) Whether or not the current coaching staff can get Maclin to block / play more like he did in college.

      • Rick H

        Jackson was a poor blocker and that is one of the reasons he is gone. Maclin is clearly a better blocker and always has been. Jackson played when he wanted to play. If he didn’t get the ball for one quarter he would lose effort. Then if the ball didn’t come to him for a half then he was going through the motions…
        Jackson’s speed and excellent hands were important in fact very important but as seen in too many games he disappeared through his own doing. He would also disappear when there was a good pass rush because there wasn’t time to get him the ball.
        Kelly likes intermediate routes and bubble screens and spreading the field sideline to sideline. That is not Jackson’s strength. Huff will block better then any receiver on the team right now! Plus he will be used to run the ball on the reverse on occasion. Lastly both Mathews and Huff along with Maclin can get deep.
        They will do it well enough to operate this offense TO DRAW the defense deep.
        The bubble screens… will bring the defense up then the Eagles will go over top because the defenses will be overplaying the short passing game.

        • aub32

          1. Please go rewatch 2012. Maclin is not a good blocker. He’s bigger than DJax but does not put forth effort. Jackson at least gets in the way. If you think Mac is a better blocker, then you haven’t been watching.

          2. All WRs have games where they “disappear”. Look at Megatron. He had 5 games where he got less than 53 yards. Over 650 of his yards last year, nearly half of his production, came from 3 games. That’s what happens when you’re the #1 guy. Teams try to take you away.

          3. Speed and size do not make always result in a god football player. Momah is a 4.4 guy. He’s huge. Could he block? Was he able to beat coverage and get deep? You are making assumption that these rookies will come in and make plays from day one. Look at how well rookie WRs do coming into the league. They often struggle. Huff won’t see the field nearly as much as some of you think. He will see the ball even less.

          Give me a guy that scares defenses and can give me 1100+ receiving yards over a WR playing O lineman any day and twice on Sunday.

          • Rick H

            I am not going to argue with you all day. However if you love Jackson so much go root for Washington. Seriously if you for one second think he is so good then you are making the implied statement that you know better and have better understanding how to run an NFL team more so then The entire Eagles organization and 30 other NFL teams.
            One team signed him and they were bidding against themselves. Again if you like him that much go root for Redskins because 99% of the Eagles fans have moved on and accepted that Jackson is gone.

          • aub32

            So anytime any fan disagrees with a decision, then he is saying he knows better than an entire organization? Give me a break. Perhaps you thought it was a great idea when Castillo was made DC. Did you think Casey Matthews should have been our starting MLB? Do you think you know more about football than Andy Reid? You how silly that argument is? If you’re out of football points and can’t make a legitimate argument then just say so. Resting on “well then you must know more than the entire organization” is just lazy. We all have opinions. Just admit you can’t dispute my point and we can move on until next we disagree on some other issue. That’s why we come here right.

        • RIP illa

          Mac was a missed block or holding penalty waiting to happen. That’s the only issue I have with what you said. I don’t know where you guys are getting this from. He’s always sucked at blocking. He’s still small-ish for a WR, but it’s really the fact that he has always…and I mean always…played soft.

          • Rick H

            I never viewed Maclin’s play as soft. Besides his knee my biggest concern with Maclin is during the 2012 season he fumbled a few times and made me nervous that way. I think these receivers get down to protect themselves much like the greatest show on turf/ Isaac Bruce… Those guys hit the ground a lot just prior to contact.
            Maclin is much bigger then DJ. This is a huge year for Maclin. Kelly must like the way he plays from a physical standpoint otherwise I feel Kelly will not use him if he plays “soft”. We will see.

  • macadood

    Riley looking awfully sexy in that photo.

    I for one am not too worried about WR, as mentioned with the TEs and pass catching RBs I think the offense will be ok. Even if Mac or Cooper were to go down for some time I think there is enough pass catching depth to succeed moderately, with Foles distributing it and Kelly’s scheme. And the key to it all either way is Shady and the run game.

  • borntosuffer

    Good blocking by the line and Shady being Shady are the biggest questions in my mind to regarding our receiver’s success. If Foles has a reasonable amount of time to throw and Shady has the holes to run as he did last year, the receivers will look good – any of them. If not, it will be tough – and would have been last year even with Jackson.

  • JofreyRice

    “Jeremy Maclin needs to regain pre-ACL form and stay healthy for the majority of the season.” Somewhat agree. I think the hope here is that Kelly has the same effect on Maclin’s play that he did on Jackson. In other words, I think a lot of people are expecting Maclin to be a #1 receiver that can eclipse 1000 yards and produce big plays consistently, and finish with career highs in yards, TD’s, etc. You put it better than I can–Cooper’s a one year wonder and rookie WR’s have a tough time breaking through. Lots of expectations on question marks.

    I do think they’ve taken a step backwards in the short term. I have a really tough time seeing as many big plays available. My hope is that the unit is better than the sum of its parts, and that now that Kelly’s got only “his guys” the unit develops in the way he envisions it.

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      Forget Jax, look at Cooper. heck, pretty sure i had Coop getting cut last summer. if Kelly’s offense can turn a low end #4 into a respectable #2, hopefully Mac can Jump from mid level #2 to mid level #1. also hope along with a new ACL the doctors gave Mac a new heart. cause if Self-Tacklin and gator arms shows up, i’m not going to be happy

  • aub32

    I said this when Jackson was released, and I’ll say it again. The WR corp is defeinitely worse without him. I really don’t get why we couldn’t have held onto him for at least one more year. Next year the Maclin question would have been answered. Huff and Matthews would have a year under their belt. Coop would have had a chance to face some of the better DBs. The move still continues to baffle me.

    • myeaglescantwin

      attitude man.

      that’s it. Anyone who says the team is better as far as talent is a fool and a liar.

      However, the team my gel better and thrive in the atmosphere that chip is creating. It only takes on bad seed to make a team not hit on all cylinders.

      It was Chip’s arrogant message to the world.
      “Either you’re on board, or you’re not going to be around”.
      we will see how it plays out.

      • aub32

        Belicheck tried that same message. Has his offense ever been close to what they had with Moss. Now Foles isn’t Brady and DJax isn’t Moss, but the offense took a hit. Now NE has been able to sustain success without Moss. However, Foles isn’t Brady, and the AFC is significantly weaker than the AFC.

        • OldDuckMcDoc

          In fairness, the Belichick-era Pats won a bunch more Super Bowls without Moss than they ever did with him and based on what happened to Randy’s career after he left, you’d be hard pushed to say they didn’t cut him loose at the right time.

          • aub32

            Those SBs were helped greatly by the fact their defense and running game didn’t suck as bad as it has outside of last year. Though you make a good point with how Moss finished his career.

        • Birds4Life

          Aub, how many super bowls did the Pats win with Randy Moss? I’ll give you a hint, it was the same number the Eagles have won with Jackson. He is gone, get over it. The only person that really knows why DJax is gone is Chip and he isn’t going to tell anyone. If he thought that his offense wouldn’t work without DJax then I doubt he would’ve let him go. I didn’t see KC or the Jets go after DJax and both those teams have coaches that saw him first hand and needed receivers.

    • eaglefansocal

      I just don’t understand all the crying about cutting DJax other than not getting a draft pick for him, but we will just have to wait until the season to see who is right about DJax. I am guessing coach and I will be right, but we will see.

    • Andy Six Score and Four

      I agree with myeagleswillwin. Can’t take the “football decision” line at face value.

      IMO, the FO felt, and felt strongly, that the overall team was better without him in terms of resource allocation and chemistry. And I think that’s very defensible (but certainly no guarantee).

      There’s all kind of research and anecdotes of teams and organizations being better off for getting rid of talented individuals who happened to be jerks. They don’t even have to be overtly disruptive. Being an annoying jerk can be enough to outweigh the individual contribution. That’s the kind of thing Chip cannot have missed in studying high performing organizations. And I think we need to get used to dickheads not lasting on this team, regardless of talent or keeping their nose “clean enough”. There’s plenty of talent out there without that baggage.

      • aub32

        Where? I am not arguing your point, but I would like to know where is the talent that you are alluding to in your last sentence. Are there talented WRs with no issues? Absolutely. Do those guys ever hit FA? Let’s look at some of the better WRs. Dez, Gordon, Moss, DJax, Burress, TO, Marshall, Harvin, Steve Smith (The not terrible one), Jackson, Wallace, and the list goes on and on.

        • Andy Six Score and Four

          Not sure I’m following. You say “I would like to know where is the talent that you are alluding to”
          Then you say “Are there talented WRs with no issues? Absolutely.”

          • MagatBrackendale

            aub32 thinks that if he complains incessantly about a player trade which took place a couple of months ago then the Eagles will bring the traded player back, I guess.

          • aub32

            You just showed once again how little attention you pay to things. Desean was released not traded.

          • aub32

            The proven guys with no issues never hit the market. Drafting one of those guys is the only way to get one, and that’s much easier said than done.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            easier said than done, but still the best way to go.

      • cliff h-MOAR white goons

        kelly’s research is great and all, but if Jax is jogging into the endzone backwards and doing splashdowns while Mac is curled up in the fetal position at the 40, this move will not go over well.
        .
        i’m just not a huge Mac guy, and between Jax’s dead money and Mac’s salary, Eagles only saved about 2m in cap space (and, yes, i know it is kind of a loaded number cause i seriously doubt Jax would have played under his old contract). hope Kelly is correct, who would know his offense better than him. Mac would not be the guy i’d place all the good will i established last year in.

        • aub32

          That’s what I don’t get. This isn’t some proven guy coming back. This is the same Maclin that has time and again showed less fortitude than Jackson. This is the same guy that up to this point has missed more games than Jackson and been the #2 guy his entire career. This is the same guy we all referred to as “self tacklin Jeremy Maclin following the 2012 season. Now he’s a sure fire replacement for the best WR the Eagles have had over the past decade?

  • eaglefansocal

    Tim and Shiel (you seem to share this opinion) you guys are the best, but even the best are sometimes a little off. Replacing DJax is certainly not an easy thing to do as far as receiving goes, but you keep ignoring the other parts of the game that will be improved by his departure. Wide receiver blocking will be greatly improved (very important in a running team like the Eagles), beating press man coverage will be greatly improved, and Sproles and Maclin together are really replacing DJax. Also, losing your best and most experienced players at any position will hurt any team, so losing Maclin is not much of an argument. Also, most importantly of all you have got to believe that Matthews, aka “the Pope” is going to be a stud this year!

    • aub32

      I don’t get this notion that blocking will be so much better without DJax. Cooper was here last year. Matthews and Huff have yet to block a single person. Maclin was not a good blocker. At least DJax put forth an effort. Go back and watch 2012 tape. See how many runs go cut short because Maclin didn’t block his guy.

      This whole press coverage thing is also a mystery. If DeSean could so easily be pressed at the line, how has he averaged over 1000 yards per season throughout his career? How did he get over 1300 yards last year. Why didn’t every team just press him at the line if that is so easy to do?

      • tbwhite

        They did. That’s why in the last 6 game(including the playoff game), DeSean only had more than 4 catches once, and only had more than 60 yards receiving once.

        DeSean put up big numbers against crap secondaries. Look at his 100+ yard games(Wash, San Diego, Giants, Oakand, Vikings).

        • aub32

          So I suppose DJax should have put up 100+ yds in the blizzard against DET. He was on the bench before the 2nd half in the route against the Bears, and I put the NO game on Nick (I can’t figure out where to throw it) Foles.

          • tbwhite

            So DJax was open against NO, Foles just couldn’t figure out that he should throw it to the open guy ? 4 catches and 59 yards against Detroit was one of his better games down the stretch.

          • aub32

            If DET in a blizzard was one of his better games, then isn’t there a chance he could’ve had 100+ without the blizzard? And yes that’s exactly what I am saying about Foles. Go look at the All 22. Foles held onto the ball and was indecisive against NO.

          • RIP illa

            To answer your question…YES. It has been documented, presented, and discussed, here and on BGN. He was open on at least two possible TD opportunities…1 deep, and one closer, in the redzone, which would have required him to make a defender miss. Also there were 3-4 other instances where he had coverage beat and was open. One or two those plays, would have dramatically changed his stat line and shut everybody, who still ignores this, up. Hell, even Collingsworth apologized for the way he called the game, after reviewing the game tape, in saying that Lewis was shutting down Djax.

            Same old thing with our fans. No Djax was never perfect, but there’s no need to ignore or stick to a disproved narrative. Especially one that doesn’t take into account a blizzard, a blowout, and/or how he beat coverage, several times, in a game where he was supposedly “lockdown/shutdown” by one CB.

      • anon

        CK started moving djax around so he couldn’t get jammed at the line, it was an issue but one they could scheme around. Blocking will be improved huff and matthews are about 200lbs each and love blocking vs jackson at 137.

        Agree Maclin basically needs to be a new guy (run through tackles, block, etc.) we’ll see how that works.

        • aub32

          That’s an assumption based on college. We all thought Mac would be a good blocker. Yet he’s been worse than Jackson. Also, neither Huff or Matthews is replacing Jackson. They are both slot guys. So Jackson could have been on the field with them this year.

          • MagatBrackendale

            You must be Token’s brother. Let it go, man! Try making just 1 positive or even neutral comment. You’ll feel better.

          • aub32

            You must not read my comments that often. I am very high on our O line and running game as a whole. I look forward to seeing our defense, and have hopes our secondary will look a lot better, especially if Carrol replaces CW. I think we will be in the mix and make the playoffs. However, that does not mean I need to fall in love with every move made this off season. I think anyone who thinks this team is better from a talent standpoint without Jackson is in denial. I’m also not buying into Maclin being this dynamic #1 guy that he has never been. Rookie WRs struggle. That is a fact. Sorry I don’t want to play the let’s deify Jordan Matthews game, though some of the comments have been pretty funny. Try reading my actual points and not just whether my response is positive or negative. You may or may not feel better, but you’d be better informed.

  • Honest_T

    T-Mac, your assessment of the WR position is missing 2 key points.

    1) The #3 position was significantly upgraded. Avant only caught 50% of his targets last year, resulting in 38 receptions with a YAC of 2.4. I may be optimistic expecting Matthews to better those numbers in his rookie year, but even if he matches that output the position is better because…

    2) Greater versatility among the personnel. D-Jax ran 25% of his routes from the slot last year, and Chip is a master of disguise, so while losing D-Jax’s speed hurts, you get taller across the position and faster out of the #3 giving Chip greater ability to move his guys around.

    You can’t replace Desean’s speed, but adding Maclin, Matthews, Sproles, and Huff, and with Ertz entering his 2nd year makes it extremely difficult to defend against all of the receiving threats in this offense.

    • aub32

      The issue is DJax could have remained on this team with Matthews. No player on this offense was more versatile than DJax last year. So I don’t get how you think having two players (Maclin and Sproles) replace the production of one makes the team more versatile.

      • Honest_T

        Versatility has to do with disguising the play because any receiver can run any route. Avant couldn’t run the same routes as DJ, but now all of your receivers can run any route, giving you more optionality.

        I also think Benn could step in for either STJM or Cooper and the offense would not miss a beat, but I admit that is projection of his talent rather than what he has proven over his career.

        • aub32

          Ok I see your point for getting rid of Avant. I was in favor of letting Avant go before the start of last season. What does that have to do with Desean? He ran more routes than any WR currently on this team.

  • southy

    Training camp starts.

    Jordan Matthews: “How’s the ol’ knee doing there Mac?”

    Maclin: “What’s up rook? Man, just grindin’ on that rehab. It’s feeling alright but guess we’re gonna find out this week when I really start cutting out of my breaks.”

    Matthews: *kneels down, waves a hand over Maclin’s knee* “I think you’re gonna be just fine Mac. Just fine.”

    • Javi Echie

      J-Matt hitting him with the good ol Jedi Mind Tricks that instantly heals him lol

  • Javi Echie

    Can we get these pads on ASAP please!!!..I am on the Jordan Matthews hype train just like everyone else but I am a huge college football fan so after watching sooo much college football and of course watching Oregon I am really anxious to see Josh Huff suit up. If you people have only watched highlights of Huff then you’re still not seeing his whole game. This kid is built like Shady (really stocky for a receiver), with ball in hand he takes on defenders like he is a fullback and tries to run through them, and when you see this kid block, cornerbacks aren’t going to have a chance cause blocking may be the best aspect of his game.

    • aub32

      Huge difference blocking college DBs and blocking NFL DBs.

      • Javi Echie

        Completely agree but when you’re really good at it I can’t see there being a too too much of a drop off in him blocking pro DBs. I just always seen the tenacity he plays with and when you actually enjoy and are a willing blocker I’m sure he will get by

        • aub32

          We will see. I personally don’t think he will see many snaps. So I guess I don’t see his blocking playing a huge role. I think Sproles, Ertz and Matthews will see the field before Huff. So he won’t have a lot of time to adjust to blocking pro players. So I think he may struggle for the first half if not the majority of the season.

          • Javi Echie

            I Agree with your assessment there I know he wont see the field too much year one I am just going on his overall skillset and the fan I am of his. Well regardless if its this or next year people are gonna really like this kid when he plays

  • Rick H

    I can believe anyone would waste their time responding to this Jackson discourse. It is ridiculous. The facts are wrong or using one or two isolated plays to make a point. Jackson was anything but a good blocker.
    To read this nonsense is wasting time. Jackson will have some reall y good games in the future but he will be what he always has been HIGHLY OVERRATED! Responding to one guy that is in clinical depression over his lose is only feeding the misguided thought process.
    I can only imagine what it will be like when Jackson has a couple good games. That is why I suggest that the Jackson groupie seriously go on The Washington Redskins sites and become a a fan of that team. This will be endless and juvenile regardless of what he does. Very negative!

    • aub32

      I can only assume you mean me. Sorry people aren’t allowed to have an opinion outside of what the team did. For the record, I nor anyone else, has ever said DJax was a good blocker. I said he put forth the effort. I said he did more than Maclin, but a guy that small can only be so effective. Maclin could be better, but he’s too busy shying away from contact.

    • MagatBrackendale

      Totally agree, Rick. Whether Jackson was great or mediocre, whether he was a team player or MeSean, whether he was smart or an idiot, DOES NOT MATTER!!!! He’s GONE! as in NOT HERE!!!

      • Rick H

        AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE!!! Or 99% of us anyway…ha ha! I have heard of people beating something to death but now I see it in writing over and over and over again.

  • Rick H

    “Free me from Desean Jackson now!” REPEAT 10 times a day! Jackson will be removed from your consciousness and PC.

  • Nailed it!

    Anyone read this about Maclin, I do feel he is cherry picking with a few of his videos, as a handful of videos does not a career with 258 receptions make, but it is an interesting read. I do enjoy reading the opposite side of the hype train with my beloved Eagles.

    http://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2014/7/22/5917017/philadelphia-eagles-case-against-jeremy-maclin

    • RIP illa

      Wholeheartedly agree with the author of that article. It is what is! Mac is a decent to good WR, but has shown nothing special, as of yet, and has been severely flawed in comparison to his somewhat gaudy stat line. Kid needs to really show a 180 on how he’s been in the past, this year and the following years, or it’s just another overhyped and overvalued 1st rounder for us, which has become all too common place with our team.

    • southy

      This was a really excellently done analysis – kind of puts in figures what a lot of Eagles fans feel about him. He’s kinda fast, but doesn’t do anything special. I still have a hard time criticizing him for the “alligator arms” play (I’ll let other people say he needs to volunteer for a concussion on a poorly decided slant throw into coverage in the name of “effort”), but yeah. Hopefully some of Matthews’ preparation or Huff’s tenacity will rub off on him this year.

  • xmbk

    Please explain how the wide receiver position is more thin this year than last. All this missing Jackson crap is only a major storyline to writers trying to fill space. Please keep this site IQ above the average BS out there. Jackson was not a complete player in any way, shape or form. There are innumerable examples of great offenses who didn’t have a threat like him. Team concept > player.

    • xmbk

      So many misconceptions being perpetrated out there. We didn’t “lose” draft picks trying to replace him. He was a 1 year rental with the contract he had, drafting wideouts in such a deep wr draft was sound strategy. But saving 10.5 million for next year’s cap also lets us fill a couple of positions for next year, either by resigning our own or picking up FA. It is fairly obvious that Kelly believes he can run a better offense with Jackson’s replacements than by making the adjustments he made last year to maximize Jackson’s skills, and minimize his weaknesses. Sound football move, clearly shows a franchise headed in the right direction. All this media frenzy is sound and fury, signifying nothing.