Eagles

Eagles rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside more prepared for expanded role this time

Eagles rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside more prepared for expanded role this time

Earlier this season, Eagles rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside had an expanded role and it didn’t go so well. 

After Alshon Jeffery hurt his calf early in Week 2, Arcega-Whiteside played 75 snaps in that game and started and played 53 snaps in Week 3. All he had to show for it: two catches for 14 yards. And the Eagles lost both games. 

That’s been his only offensive production all season. 

But the Eagles might need Arceaga-Whiteside to play a big role again this weekend. Jeffery has been ruled out for Sunday with an ankle injury. 

Where is Arcega-Whiteside now, compared to where he was a couple months ago? 

“Definitely a lot further,” he said. “Because now, knowing all the other positions, helps me a lot knowing what everybody else is going to do and how I need to treat my job, how I need to do my job. And just reps, getting reps at practice and games here and there. It’s slowed down the game tremendously and just being out there and having fun.” 

Arcega-Whiteside, 22, admitted the first half of his rookie season was “kind of a transition.” While he spent the first quarter of the season learning the Eagles’ X receiver position (where Jeffery plays), he’s been cross-training since then, learning the other two spots. That hasn’t really resulted in much more playing time, but he feels it’s given him a better understanding of the offense as a whole.

Against the Bears, Arcega-Whiteside played 14 snaps, his most since the Lions game. But he hasn’t had a catch since Week 3. 

“He’s put in a good week's work,” head coach Doug Pederson said Friday. “He's always done that. He's always practiced well, but he's been behind Alshon. If his load increases this week, we expect him to go in and play well.

“That's why we drafted him and that's why he's here.”

Earlier in the year, he admitted it was hard to look around the league and see many of his fellow rookie receivers making immediate impacts. While he tries not to compare himself to those guys, players like D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson were all drafted after him and have produced more. 

Has it been tough being patient? 

“It is tough, but at the same time, I could do one of two things,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “I could put my head down and say, ‘Man, I’m not playing, I must not be good enough, I must not be this, I must not be that.’ Or I can take every day and learn and do the best that I can every day, learn, take reps, do whatever these guys are asking me to do, so that when I do step in, I’ll be ready. 

“It was hard at first, but once I realized I had to make the most of my time, then I didn’t even think about it no more.” 

Without Jeffery and with DeSean Jackson on IR, the Eagles are down to Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Jordan Matthews and Arcega-Whiteside at receiver. With how much attention the Patriots are likely to give Zach Ertz, there should be opportunities for one of those players to have a big game. 

It would be a good time for their second-round pick to show up. 

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The Eagles all-time team: Is Jason Kelce the greatest center in team history?

The Eagles all-time team: Is Jason Kelce the greatest center in team history?

Throughout July, we are unveiling our all-time Eagles team. 

We enlisted the help of Eagles reporters Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro, Quick Slants hosts Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks and Quick Slants producer Mike Mulhern to handle the voting. 

Each voter ranked his top five players at 16 different positions. A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote was worth four, and so on. 

Up next: Center

Complete voting:

1. Jason Kelce: 24
2. Jim Ringo: 19
3. Guy Morriss: 13
4. Raleigh McKenzie: 6
5. Vic Lindskog: 4
6. David Alexander: 3
6. Jamaal Jackson: 3
8. Hank Fraley: 2
9. Ken Farragut: 1

The breakdown: Not surprisingly, Jason Kelce wins easily, getting 24 of a possible 25 points and all but one first-place vote. Jim Ringo, a Hall of Famer and six-time All-Pro with the Packers who played his last four seasons with the Eagles, got the other first-place vote. Ringo got two second-place votes and two third-place votes. The other second-place votes went to Raleigh McKenzie — who was only here for two years — and Guy Morris, who played here for 11 years. Interesting to note that center was the only position on offense or defense in which nine different players got at least one vote.

Did we get it right? Ringo had a hell of a career, but all six of his All-Pro honors were with the Packers. Kelce is a three-time All-Pro as an Eagle as well as a three-time Pro Bowler. So this should have been unanimous. Kelce is by any measure the greatest center in Eagles history and one of the greatest of this generation. Lindskog, a starter on two NFL championship teams and a first-team All-Pro in 1951, should have been higher, but it’s hard to argue with the top three.

Complete team: 

We will fill in the team as we go. 

QB: Donovan McNabb 
RB: LeSean McCoy 
WR: Harold Carmichael 
WR: Mike Quick
WR: Tommy McDonald
TE: Zach Ertz 
OT: Jason Peters
OT: Lane Johnson 
OG: Brandon Brooks 
OG: Bucko Kilroy 
C: Jason Kelce 

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The Eagles all-time team: Brandon Brooks earns top OG spot

The Eagles all-time team: Brandon Brooks earns top OG spot

In the next few weeks, we will be unveiling our all-time Eagles team. 

We enlisted the help of Eagles reporters Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro, Quick Slants hosts Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks and Quick Slants producer Mike Mulhern for voting. 

We asked each person to rank their top five players at 16 different positions. A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote was worth four, and so on. 

Up today: Offensive guard 

Complete voting:

1. Brandon Brooks: 24
2. Bucko Kilroy: 13
3. Shawn Andrews: 12
4. Evan Mathis: 11
5. Jermane Mayberry: 9 
6. Todd Herremans: 6

The breakdown: All but one of our voters put Brooks at No. 1, which is pretty impressive. Brooks has been with the Eagles since 2016 but has established himself as one of the best guards in the league. He’s been a Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons. Kilroy played in the '40s and the '50s and finished as high as first and as low as fourth in our voting.

Did we get it right? I think we did. Brooks is a dominant guard and was a huge part of that Eagles’ Super Bowl championship. He’s already one of the best free agent pickups in team history and the Eagles made him the highest paid guard in the league for a reason. 

Now, Kilroy definitely has a case too. He played for the Eagles for a decade, was a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time NFL champion in ’48 and ’49. He went on to have a long career as an NFL executive and began his second career as an Eagles scout in 1960. 

After the top two, it’s amazing that Andrews came in third. Not undeserving, but he didn’t have a very long career. But the two-time Pro Bowler was about as good at his peak as we’ve ever seen. He never got to live up to that potential, but he was an all-time great for a short period. And Mathis and Mayberry were also Pro Bowlers for the Eagles. It was nice to see Herremans get some votes. He was an important role player for many years.  

Complete team: 

We will fill in the team as we go. 

QB: Donovan McNabb 
RB: LeSean McCoy 
WR: Harold Carmichael 
WR: Mike Quick
WR: Tommy McDonald
TE: Zach Ertz 
OT: Jason Peters
OT: Lane Johnson 
OG: Brandon Brooks 
OG: Bucko Kilroy 

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More on the Eagles