Mack Hollins was an easy target of ridicule from Eagles fans earlier this season when he was playing a ton of snaps and wasn’t catching any passes.
He deserved a lot of that criticism.
But the coaching staff deserves more of the blame. Because for over a month, they played that guy, the guy who went eight games without a catch, over their second-round pick.
The coaching staff had its reasons — it kept saying JJ Arcega-Whiteside needed more time cross-training, Hollins was grading out well — but none of those reasons were good enough. And after weeks of watching Hollins take dozens of fruitless snaps, they should have pulled the plug much earlier.
Finally, in the last couple games, the Eagles have started to play Arcega-Whiteside more and Hollins less. And, on Tuesday, they finally waived Hollins. He's now a Miami Dolphin (see story).
At his weekly news conference, offensive coordinator Mike Groh was asked, in retrospect, if all those snaps that went to Hollins this season would have been better spent on Arcega-Whiteside or even Greg Ward.
“I think that Mack did an outstanding job while he was here and I wish him all the best,” Groh said. “But we have a lot of confidence in Greg and JJ moving forward, and Alshon and Nelly and really all the skill guys that are here. And we’re going to continue trying to go out there and improve each and every day. We’re excited and we’re looking forward to Monday Night Football and playing the New York Giants.”
So Groh didn’t answer the question and I can’t really blame him.
After all, ultimately, the head coach is in charge of figuring out which offensive players are on the field. And Groh’s options were to either admit a mistake or plead insanity.
Hollins last caught a pass in the Green Bay game back on Sept. 26. Just take a look at how long it took the Eagles to move on from Hollins in the eight games after he stopped catching passes:
There wasn’t always a direct correlation between the snap counts for these three, but there was certainly a loose correlation. And Hollins’ snaps definitely took away from Arcega-Whiteside’s opportunity.
I don’t know if Arcega-Whiteside will end up being any good or not. But I do know the Eagles used a second-round pick on him and they should have been more eager to find out earlier.
In the final eight games of his time with the Eagles, Hollins played 204 snaps and didn’t register a single catch. Sure, a big reason for his lack of production was game plan. The Eagles have other guys they’d rather get the ball to. But for a receiver to be on the field that much and not catch a ball is truly unbelievable.
And they played him over a second-round pick for over a month!
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