It’s been nearly a calendar month since Mack Hollins last caught a pass.
That wouldn’t be a big deal if Hollins wasn’t playing a lot, if he was just a gunner who occasionally found his way on the field for an offensive snap or two. But since DeSean Jackson has been out, Hollins has played a ton.
In the last four games, Hollins has played 138 snaps. He has one catch for 13 yards. In the last three games, he’s played 98 snaps without a single catch.
Speaking at his locker on Tuesday afternoon, Hollins seemed generally unbothered by his lack of production or the criticism that’s come with it.
“I’ll take whenever a ball comes my way, make the best of it,” he said. “If I’m not getting the ball, so be it. Obviously, you go into a game plan and you want everything to hit. But sometimes in real life, not everything is going to hit 100 percent.”
Hollins said it’s more frustrating to him that the Eagles are losing. If he didn’t have a catch and the Eagles were winning, he wouldn’t care at all.
The problem is that the Eagles are losing now. And his lack of production and a lack of production from the entire receivers group is a big part of the problem.
In the last few weeks, Hollins has heard some of the criticism about him. He tells his family and friends to avoid reading or watching things about him, but acknowledged it’s impossible to completely ignore everything.
“You can’t avoid that type of stuff,” Hollins said. “It’s like avoiding the sun. It’s not going to happen. But if you’re basing what you’ve worked on, what you’ve done on other people’s opinion, that’s your own prerogative. Me, I could care less.”
What might be most frustrating for the Eagles is that Hollins was productive earlier this year. Against the Falcons and Lions, Hollins had nine catches for 112 yards in a two-week span. Since then, he has just the one catch.
Through seven games, the former fourth-round pick has 10 catches on 21 targets. His 47.6 catch rate is fourth-lowest in the league among players with 20-plus targets.
How does Hollins think he’s playing?
“I think you can always do more as a player,” Hollins answered. “Maybe there’s a block backside that I could have gotten a little more on, whether the guy made the play or not. Even encouraging a guy that made a mistake or didn’t do something right, or encouraging somebody who did do something right. Little things like that matter a lot. For a team to be great, everyone has to think like that. How can I make myself better and make everybody body else better and push a little more?”
Well … catching the ball would help too, right?
Hollins said that aside from catching the ball, the Eagles’ receivers are graded on effort, route discipline and technique. It’s not like Hollins has been jogging around the field. It seems like he’s giving full effort and it’s still not enough.
“Mack is another guy that has just done everything we've asked him to do,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “The ball hasn't found him. I actually thought in this past game, from a passing-game perspective, you look at the routes that he ran and put on tape, he was improved week over week from the week before. I think he's put a lot into practice and trying to refine his technique and he's done a good job.”
There you go. Hopefully, you’ll sleep better tonight knowing Hollins ran good routes when the ball didn’t find him.
It’s not like anyone expected Hollins to suddenly turn into a Pro Bowler this season. But without Jackson since Week 2, Hollins has been playing a significant role on offense — which has also taken away his role on special teams — and the Eagles have barely gotten any production from him in the last month. In that time, second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside can barely get on the field.
“There’s three or four receivers out on the field,” Hollins said, “so you obviously can’t always get the ball.”
You’d just think he’d occasionally get one, though.
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