Greg Ward’s exceptional training camp and preseason performance meant nothing.
The Eagles released the impressive wide receiver Saturday as part of their final cutdown to 53, ending his third bid to make the Eagles.
The Eagles kept Mack Hollins instead of Ward as the fifth receiver, and soon after cuts were officially announced executive vice president and GM Howie Roseman explained why.
In great detail.
It’s interesting because you go through the whole offseason and your whole goal is to collect as much talent as you possibly can,” he said. “You want to build a team, you want to find the right guys, and then this week you really start trying to figure out roles and responsibilities and trying to build a team and trying to find the right fits. … Greg’s done a tremendous job and really I don’t have an answer what he could have done more other than we’re trying to balance everyone we have at every position and what we’re looking for offensively, defensively and on special teams, and sometimes it just comes down to looking for a specific role for a specific spot, and when we look at the wide receiver room and what we were looking for and what Greg had done on special teams and maybe what we were looking for from that fifth receiver spot on special teams, it was just not something that he had done. But Greg had a tremendous summer.
Ward, a star quarterback at Houston, converted to wide receiver after he graduated from college and spent training camp in 2017 and 2018 with the Eagles as a wide receiver. He received a Super Bowl ring as part of the Eagles’ practice squad, but this is the first time he’s been on the 53-man roster.
Once camp started, three receivers — Hollins, Ward and Marken Michel — quickly separated themselves from the pack as legit contenders for a roster spot behind the four locks: DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
As training camp closed, it really appeared to be a two-man race for the fifth spot between Hollins, a fourth-round pick in 2017, and Ward.
Hollins has battled injuries since the end of the Super Bowl season. He didn’t play at all last year and missed some time in camp this summer with a hip injury. But he did have 16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown as a rookie in 2017 and is considered an excellent special teamer.
The Eagles really seemed to like Ward’s versatility. He has that quarterback background and has a big arm, and he has the speed of a receiver and can take off on an end-around. You could see Doug Pederson having fun at practice this summer coming up with different ways to use him.
Ward had a 38-yard touchdown catch against the Jaguars, four catches for 45 yards against the Ravens and a 15-yard run on his only touch Thursday night against the Jets. The Eagles also used him on an option pass in the Jacksonville game.
Hollins was 5-for-26 receiving in the preseason.
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