Wide receiver Arrelious Benn suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Tuesday’s practice, the Eagles announced.
Benn returned to practice on Sunday after missing much of training camp with knee issues. Chip Kelly praised him following his first practice back, commending him on his knowledge of the playbook and saying that he “flashed” at times.
Talent is not an issue for Benn but injuries have kept him from taking off in the NFL.
He is the third member of the Eagles to suffer a torn ACL this summer, joining Jeremy Maclin and linebacker Jason Phillips.
The team could add a player or two in the coming weeks, but given that it’s Aug. 4, there aren’t a lot of attractive options out there. Keeping that in mind, let’s take stock of where the current wide receivers on the roster stand.
Entering the final year of his deal, Maclin was committed to proving his worth on the field this offseason.
“I think Jeremy Maclin has emerged as one of the hardest-working guys on our team,” Michael Vick said last month at Maclin’s football camp in West Deptford, N.J. “You watch him in the weight room, he goes in there and he’s just a different person there. So I think that’ll translate over to the field.”
Instead, Maclin faces surgery and a grueling rehab regimen away from his teammates in the months ahead.
In the past three seasons, Maclin has averaged 67 catches, 893 yards and seven touchdowns. So how will the Eagles replace that production in 2013? Here’s a look at their current options on the roster.
Many of you are familiar with Brown from his Web site and his work on Grantland. If you haven’t checked out the book yet, I highly recommend doing so in the next couple months leading up to the season.
Brown has written extensively on Chip Kelly in the past, so it should come as no surprise that many of the concepts he tackles in his book apply to the 2013 Eagles. Below are some thoughts on four specific concepts that stood out to me.
“We have an understanding of their athletic ability and how they run, change direction and things like that,” Kelly said. “But there are still a lot of things to be evaluated when you put the pads on. It’s still a physical game. A lot of guys look great in shorts and T‑shirts, then they disappear when you put the pads on. So we have an evaluation in terms of athletic ability, how fast some guys are, their ability to change direction and things like that. But until we get the pads on, we can’t tell.”
And that’s just fine with Arrelious Benn.
The Eagles acquired the 6-2, 220-pound wide receiver for his physicality and versatility. After three disappointing seasons in Tampa, the 24-year-old now has an opportunity to follow through on the potential he showed at the high school and college levels.
Even though he’s the wide receivers coach, Bob Bicknell didn’t need a football during a “teach” period at Monday’s practice.
The emphasis during this particular session was on blocking. It’s an aspect of playing the position that is often overlooked, and it’s not something that shows up in the box score or gets guys big pay checks.
But in Chip Kelly’s system, it’s crucial.
Arrelious Benn’s career had been going down a promising path.
He was a five-star recruit out of high school, showed off his versatile skill set at Illinois and got selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Bucs.
But since arriving to the NFL, he hasn’t lived up to expectations, totaling just 59 catches and 862 receiving yards in three seasons. Now, the 24-year-old is excited about getting a new start.
“If I’m being honest with you, I don’t like my career,” Benn said today. “I’ve got to stay healthy. I haven’t stayed healthy. I’ve had a problem with injuries. When I was healthy and out there, I made plays. I was consistent. But the big thing for me is to stay healthy. It’s no secret for me, I know that. I’m going to be honest with myself. Just come in here and do what I’ve got to do.”