Since Mike Wallace went down with a fractured fibula, the Eagles are noticeably lacking an outside receiver who can stretch the field.
On Sunday, they trotted out Kamar Aiken and Jordan Matthews to play outside receiver, while Shelton Gibson got just one offensive snap.
The Eagles drafted Gibson in the fifth round last year, in large part, because of his speed. And, now, when the Eagles desperately need speed outside, he can’t seem to get on the field.
Why is that?
Here was Doug Pederson’s answer from Monday:
Right now, we're just without getting into a lot of scheme stuff, we just felt better yesterday with some of our 12 personnel, some of our 13 personnel. Kept them in base defense. They did jump into nickel a little bit because then we were in our 12 and 13 personnel being able to run the football.
So just the way the game kind of unfolded just a little bit. Shelton is a young player that's continuing to grow and get better with the offense. We had a package of plays for him yesterday; just didn't get to him.
It just doesn’t bode well for Gibson that the Eagles are desperate enough at receiver to sign Matthews mid-week and play him 30-plus snaps and he still can’t get on the field, especially when he seems to have the one attribute the team is lacking.
“Coaches know exactly what they’re doing with the game plan and I just let them do that,” he said. “I just go out there and practice as hard as I can.”
So far, through three games, Gibson has played 40 offensive snaps and has been targeted twice without a catch. He does have a pretty significant role on special teams, but he didn’t even return kicks in Week 3.
“It’s just that next man up and right now I’m not the next man up,” Gibson said Tuesday. “Whenever I am, I’m going to give them all I got.”
Gibson had a monster preseason. He caught nine passes for 195 yards (21.7 average) and two touchdowns. He had come so far from a terrible preseason as a rookie and it looked like he was going to carry over the success into the regular season. Hasn’t happened.
For now, Gibson is serving as a cautionary tale about getting too excited about the preseason.