Carson Wentz knows DeSean Jackson is a deep threat like he's never had

Carson Wentz knows DeSean Jackson is a deep threat like he's never had

When asked about DeSean Jackson on Monday afternoon, Carson Wentz’s eyes lit up. 

It’s easy to understand why. 

Not only will Jackson bring back an element that has been missing from the Eagles’ offense for years, but he’ll also provide Wentz with the kind of deep threat he’s never had before. 


It’s exciting. It’s, without a doubt, exciting. You see the guy, obviously, the guy is getting up there in age, but the guy still runs like the wind. Impressive on film, [saw] it last year opening play of the game we played them. The guy’s still got it. It’s, without a doubt, exciting. I think he’ll bring a dynamic aspect to our offense. Whether he’s catching balls during the game or whether he’s opening things up underneath, I’m really excited to have him.

Jackson is 32 now but has shown no signs of slowing down, literally or figuratively. At 31, he led the NFL in yards-per-catch last season at 18.9. It’s the fourth time (for his third different team) that Jackson led the league in that category. 

And since he entered the league in 2008, Jackson has led the NFL with 40 catches of 50-plus yards. The next closest player on that list is Mike Wallace, who has just 26. 

Wentz brought up Wallace on Monday. He mentioned that Wallace was supposed to be the fastest player he had ever played with, but it didn’t happen. The Eagles brought Wallace in on a one-year deal for 2018, but Wallace got hurt in the second game of the season and Wentz didn’t return until Week 3. They were ships passing in the night last season. 

But now Wentz has Jackson. 

“I’m excited to get out there and just really see it in action,” Wentz said. 

With all due respect to the 30 players who have caught a pass from Wentz during his first three NFL seasons, Jackson will be the most dynamic deep threat Wentz has ever had. Heck, Jackson is one of the best deep threats the NFL has ever seen. 

Among the players who have caught at least 10 passes from Wentz, the highest career yards-per-catch belongs to Torrey Smith (16.1). But in Smith’s one season in Philly, he averaged just 11.9 yards per catch. 

Here’s every player to ever catch a pass from Wentz and their career yards-per-catch average. Guys like Bryce Treggs and Shelton Gibson have so few catches, their averages are obviously skewed. 

Zach Ertz: 216 (11.0) 
Nelson Agholor: 117 (11.6)
Alshon Jeffery: 100 (14.5)
Jordan Matthews: 91 (12.1)
Darren Sproles: 62 (8.8)
Trey Burton: 56 (10.2)
Dorial Green-Beckham: 36 (13.8)
Torrey Smith: 33 (16.1) 
Wendell Smallwood: 33 (8.3)
Corey Clement: 25 (9.8)
Dallas Goedert: 24 (10.1) 
Brent Celek: 23 (12.6) 
Golden Tate: 19 (11.8)
Josh Huff: 13 (10.3) 
Ryan Mathews: 12 (7.7) 
Mack Hollins: 12 (14.1) 
Paul Turner: 9 (14.0)
Kenjon Barner: 9 (5.9)
Jay Ajayi: 9 (6.7)
LeGarrette Blount: 5 (7.1) 
Josh Adams: 4 (8.3)
Bryce Treggs: 3 (19.9) 
Byron Marshall: 3 (5.8) 
Carson Wentz: 2 (5.5) 
Marcus Johnson: 2 (13.4)
Terrell Watson: 1 (5.0) 
Shelton Gibson: 1 (19.7) 
Kamar Aiken: 1 (11.6) 
DeAndre Carter: 1 (9.8)
Joshua Perkins: 1 (13.6)

So who is the best deep threat Wentz has ever had? Maybe it’s Alshon or Smith or Treggs or DGB or Agholor. But it won’t be any of them for very long. 

And it’s not like Wentz doesn’t like to throw deep balls. He has 13 passes of 50-plus yards in his career, which ranks ninth in the NFL — and that’s with missing eight games over the last two years. 

It’ll be up to Wentz and Jackson to get their work in together because so much of completing deep balls is about building a rapport between quarterback and receiver. But if these two can get on the same page, they could form a special duo. 

It’ll be like nothing Wentz has ever had. And that’s why he seemed so happy on Monday.

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Eagles release veterans Orlando Scandrick and Akeem Spence

Eagles release veterans Orlando Scandrick and Akeem Spence

The Eagles on Monday released two more veteran defensive players who had been playing major roles. 

Last week, they cut linebacker Zach Brown the day after the loss to the Vikings. 

This week, the Eagles cut veteran CB Orlando Scandrick and veteran DT Akeem Spence the day after their 37-10 loss to the Cowboys. Both were added to the roster during September following injuries and both played a lot on Sunday night. 

The Eagles on Monday also brought back DT Anthony Rush from the Raiders’ practice squad. Rush was with the Eagles during training camp. They are also signing DT Albert Huggins from Houston's practice squad. 

While Scandrick, 32, certainly didn’t play well against the Cowboys, he did start and played 51 percent (36 snaps) of their defensive snaps. 

Spence, 27, played 47 snaps against the Cowboys on Sunday. 

And this comes a week after Brown was cut the day after he played 58 snaps against the Vikings. 

After two back-to-back blowout losses, the Eagles are not hesitating to send messages and get rid of dead weight. 

Still, it’s not a great sign that the Eagles have cut three veteran defensive players the day after blowout losses in consecutive weeks. It’s an even worse sign that they were all playing a significant roles. 

The Scandrick move is curious because it’s not like the Eagles are flush with cornerback talent. Now, their two corners with the most experience at the nickel corner spot are Avonte Maddox and Sidney Jones. 

Jones on Sunday was healthy but the Eagles played Craig James ahead of him, which was the plan, according to Doug Pederson. Jones, the former second-round pick, has struggled mightily this season. And Maddox is still in the concussion protocol from a friendly fire hit from Andrew Sendejo in the Green Bay game on Sept. 26. That injury is what led to the Eagles’ signing Scandrick in the first place. So the fact that they were willing to release Scandrick before Maddox is back is strange. 

Last year’s nickel cornerback, Cre’Von LeBlanc (foot), could be nearing a return from IR, but he still won’t be eligible to return until Week 9 against Chicago. That doesn’t help this week against Buffalo. 

The highlight of Scandrick’s short stint in Philadelphia was his performance against the Jets and Luke Falk back on Oct. 6. In his first game off his couch, Scandrick had two sacks, two forced fumbles and returned one of them 44 yards for a touchdown. Now, it seems like he’ll be a mere footnote from this season. 

The timing of the Spence move is interesting too. Hassan Ridgeway suffered what sounds like a serious ankle injury against the Cowboys and the Eagles are really light at defensive tackle, especially because Tim Jernigan (foot) is still out. Without Spence, they’re down to Fletcher Cox and Rush, whom the Eagles just signed on Monday.  

You can add Scandrick and Spence to the long list of veteran acquisitions who didn’t work out for Howie Roseman in the last couple of years. The Band-Aids aren’t working. 


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Howard Eskin outing Alshon Jeffery led to bizarre press conference moment with Doug Pederson

Howard Eskin outing Alshon Jeffery led to bizarre press conference moment with Doug Pederson

Signs of dysfunction in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room began to show late last week when ESPN’s Josina Anderson quoted an anonymous Eagles player criticizing Carson Wentz and the Birds' offense.

Head coach Doug Pederson wasn’t thrilled about it when asked prior to the Dallas Cowboys game, then the team went out and played a total dud. 

A new page in the drama was written this morning when WIP’s Howard Eskin reported on the air that he knew the identity of the anonymous player — Alshon Jeffrey.

Not only did Eskin name Alshon, he also called him “foolish and stupid.” Eskin also criticized Anderson, “She’ll bait a guy and then the guy gets trapped into saying things and he says them.”

Here’s the full quote as transcribed by Crossing Broad:

Eskin: Yeah why not. Alshon Jeffery.

Cataldi: It is?

Eskin: Yes. The thing is, here’s why he’s foolish and stupid – He knows that she’s not out to have his back. The problem is, as a reporter, I’ve seen her do this. She’ll bait a guy and then the guy gets trapped into saying things and he says them. It’s just foolish and stupid. We all understand it’s not productive. But what benefit was there to say that? And the reality is, why would he worry about a defensive player (Jalen Ramsey) not being traded for? And when he talks about checking down, sometimes the back you check down to is blocked. Or he’s blocking and then can’t get off the block. That’s one of your checkdowns. So the whole thing was just stupid. But it’s not being productive for somebody like that.

This is interesting in part because Alshon denied being the source last week, Josina defended her source from Eskin — “He has zero knowledge of who I spoke to. #Zero” —  and also because Eskin appears on the Eagles radio broadcasts on game days, travels on the team plane, and even received his own Super Bowl ring. So the Inquirer’s Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane took all of that info to Pederson’s press conference on Monday, which led to a fascinating exchange.

“There was a report that Alshon Jeffrey was the anonymous player who was giving quotes to ESPN," McLane began. "Is that true? And also, the person who reported it doesn’t technically work for the Eagles but he’s on the sideline with the Eagles, he flies [on the Eagles plane], he wears a Super Bowl ring given to him by the Eagles. Are we to assume just because he reported it, that the Eagles want it out there?”

Pederson appeared somewhat dumbfounded but didn’t “want to go there.”

“That has nothing to do with the Buffalo Bills or the Dallas Cowboys," Pederson said.

So pretty much a non-answer. But the interesting exchanges didn’t stop there.

Once the press conference ended, Eskin had some choice words for McLane who reportedly took the high road and avoided a confrontation, according to people in the room.

So maybe Alshon was the anonymous player, maybe not. It'll be curious to see how Alshon responds to the latest reports here. He had some unusually high praise for Carson Wentz in the locker room following the game last night.

"I still believe in each and every one of the guys in here," Jeffery said. "Carson is our guy. Everybody on our team, we’re together. On offense, Carson, O-line, me, Nelson, receivers, the skill group, we all have to be held accountable. I mean, that was unacceptable. That was embarrassing today.”

All we know for sure is there is plenty of drama surrounding the Eagles these days. That never bodes well.

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