By Annie Ross
The Eagles are the diciest team in the NFC East, with a new head coach, potential for quarterback controversy, and few playmakers on either side of the ball.
That’s not how receiver Rueben Randle sees it.
“It’s all about us going out there and making sure we’re all on the same page and getting the job done,” Randle said at training camp this week. “Once we all get comfortable in this offense and we turn things into backyard football, it’s going to be exciting.
“I have yet to make the playoffs (in my career),” he added. “I want to see what I can do to help this team get there.”
The Eagles don’t look the part on paper this season.
New coach Doug Pederson has never been a head man before, incumbent QB Sam Bradford seems set to spend the season looking over his shoulder at prized first-round pick Carson Wentz, and the defensive backfield lacks a lockdown corner.
Randle knows all this but still hopes for the postseason. He spent the first four years missing out on the postseason with the Giants, and most view his tenure in East Rutherford as a disappointing one. Lauded as an “NFL-ready” prospect when he was drafted in the second round out of LSU in 2012, he never topped 10 TDs, 80 receptions or 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
He admitted that his tenure with the Giants was “a letdown,” although he insisted that that wasn’t because of his punchless stats — or the lack of interest he drew this offseason.
“It definitely was a letdown,” he said, “in that we didn’t win anything. If I don’t win, nothing really matters. I don’t care how good of a game I have. If I’m not winning, it’s really not fun at all.”
He is having fun in Philly, though, at least early on. On Sunday, he made a highlight-reel catch that had Philly media buzzing, and on Monday, he continued to operate with the first team, used in a versatile role. With the Giants, Randle played almost solely on the outside, with only a brief training camp flirtation in the slot last year.
“You gotta know all the positions,” he said, “just in case someone goes down. I want to make plays all around.”
On Monday, Randle saw snaps at both outside spots and in the slot. The Eagles lack a distinct go-to receiver, which could create an opportunity for Randle, who spent his career with the Giants first playing behind Victor Cruz and the healthy Hakeem Nicks, then operating in the shadow of Odell Beckham Jr.
Randle said he doesn’t care to be a star, but he is cognizant of his new team’s lack of proven receiving playmakers and the opportunity before him. After four tumultuous years with the Giants, he said he feels revitalized.
“You get to run all different things here,” he said. “Just come out each day . . . I’m excited to see how it’s going to go. I’m not worried about where the star is. It’s if I’m out here helping my team win. That’s really my main goal.”