With a couple injuries in their running back room, the Eagles made a move on Tuesday, promoting Josh Adams from the practice squad to the active roster. That wasn’t much of a surprise.
But the corresponding move was a little more of an eyebrow-raiser.
Even though Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) doesn’t appear ready to return, even though Mack Hollins (groin) is on IR, and even though Mike Wallace fractured his fibula on Sunday and is out indefinitely, the Eagles waived DeAndre Carter.
That leaves them with three healthy receivers just five days from Carson Wentz’s first game back:
Agholor is very good, so don’t say Wentz has no one to throw to. No. 13 had a breakout season last year and is off to a pretty good start in 2018, even without Jeffery on the field drawing attention. You don’t need to worry about Agholor, but these injuries are forcing him to play outside more than he did last season.
But Aiken wasn’t even on the original 53-man roster as he healed from a hamstring injury. He played an incredible 62 snaps on Sunday, just a few days after being brought back. He caught five passes, the most he’s caught in a game since the regular season finale back in 2015. Aiken, 29, wouldn’t be a bad fourth or fifth guy on the depth chart, especially because he plays special teams. But with these three guys left, the 29-year-old is probably going to start against the Colts.
And while Gibson, a fifth-round pick in 2017, had a great preseason, the Eagles seem hesitant to play him. He barely played in the opener and had 35 snaps without a catch on Sunday. Gibson has just two career catches, which both came at the end of the last regular season.
So what the heck are the Eagles going to do?
Head coach Doug Pederson on Monday said Jeffery is still “week to week,” which means he isn’t ready to return. Help will eventually come when he’s back, but it won’t be this Sunday against the Colts.
In Tampa, we saw the Eagles play Josh Perkins an awful lot, which is probably because of his background as a converted receiver. He did an OK job, catching four passes for 57 yards, but he dropped one. And are you really convinced Perkins is the answer? Yeah, probably not.
The Eagles will likely use a lot more two-tight end sets and better make a more concerted effort to get rookie Dallas Goedert involved. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said they need to find a way. But in the past, we’ve seen that Pederson loves to run 11 personnel (Zebra) with three wideouts. They can’t do that right now, unless you want to see a lot of Aiken and Gibson on the field.
There are three receivers on the practice squad, including Braxton Miller. But on Monday, Pederson said Miller hasn’t had time to learn the Eagles’ offense because he’s been on the scout team.
The last possibility — the one fans are clamoring for, and understandably so — is to bring in a free agent receiver or acquire one through a trade. This seems relatively likely, based on numbers alone. It could just be bringing back Markus Wheaton. Or maybe they make a call about Jeremy Maclin or Jordan Matthews, someone who knows the offense.
But they better act fast. The clock is ticking until the game on Sunday and the Eagles’ receiving corps is now a glaring weak spot.