By Michael Bennett
Eagles big boss Howie Roseman has concentrated on shoring up the woful secondary by adding Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman.
But what about the wide receivers, which last season were decimated by injuries and incompetence?
“We do view the receiver position maybe different than it’s publicly viewed,” Roseman said the other day. “I understand where we were towards the end of the (2019) year and who was out there and we’ve gotta increase the talent level, but we’re also excited to get some of those guys back who were not healthy and we’re also excited for some young guys to take another step.
“Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re done addressing it, that we’re not going to look for opportunities to improve that position, but we don’t have the luxury of being in a vacuum and just looking at the receiver position. … I think, overall, we’re happy with where we are right now knowing that we still have other areas to improve.”
How the wide receiver position is viewed publicly is something along the lines of “WHEN ARE THE EAGLES GOING TO ADDRESS THE WIDE RECEIVER POSITION!!!”
Injuries ruined the grand plans in 2019 of a wide receiver position that was rated as the best in the NFL by Pro Football Focus in August after the Eagles traded for Jackson in March and then added J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the NFL Draft.
By the end of the season, after an abdominal injury took Jackson off the field after one full game, a knee injury limited Nelson Agholor in the second half of the year, and the foot injury kept Jeffery sidelined for all but 10 games and 43 receptions, nine of which came in a December 1 game at Miami when Jeffery contributed 137 yards and a touchdown in that losing effort, the Eagles won down the stretch with Greg Ward in the slot, Arcega-Whiteside taking meaningful reps in a struggle of a rookie season, Robert Davis and Deontay Burnett chipping in, and hybrid tight end Joshua Perkins making plays from the wide receiver position. All but Arcega-Whiteside were promoted from the practice squad, of course.
“I don’t know that you can fix everything in one offseason,” Roseman said. “I understand the passion about receiver. I don’t know that it was necessarily that we put more of a preference on fixing the defense than the offense. I think that we tried to accumulate as much information about what was available to us, and what we could do and get the players that we thought could make a difference.
“It is a priority of ours to make sure that we have weapons around our quarterback.”
“Alshon’s got to get healthy. That’s the number one priority for us and for him,” Roseman said. “He understands. He knows what is being said about him. He understands that he’s got a lot to prove and he’s anxious to do that so he’s not living in a bubble. DeSean is a guy that we think is incredibly talented. He only played in one game (full game, season opener vs. Washington) last year and he’s another guy who is extremely driven. We feel like we have a good plan going forward for DeSean and how he’s going to look.”