A Q&A with the Eagles' wide receivers coach Carson Walch

A Q&A with the Eagles' wide receivers coach Carson Walch

Every few weeks, as per NFL media rules, the Eagles’ position coaches are made available to the beat writers who cover the team, and Tuesday was our first chance to talk to receivers coach Carson Walch since the Eagles’ position-wide slump began.
The Eagles wide receivers, picked universally as one of the top wideout groups in the NFL coming into the season, have been a disaster since DeSean Jackson first suffered an abdominal injury early in the Week 2 loss to the Falcons.
The entire group has regressed to the point where none of the receivers has more than 353 yards through nine games, no wide receiver has caught a TD pass longer than six yards in the last six games, the entire group is averaging 72 yards combined over the last six weeks and two of the team’s top four wideouts don't have a reception since September.
So without editorial comment, here’s excerpts of our conversation Monday with Walch, the Eagles’ fifth receivers coach in the last five years:

How's Alshon playing?

“He’s playing good football. I think at any point in the season if you say someone’s going to be perfect game in and game out, you’re not going to get that. But he’s prepared every single week. He battles through the weekly injuries like any NFL player does, gets his body right every single week, but mentally he’s in a good spot and we have all the confidence in the world in Alshon, I think everyone can say that about the guy.”

Why has the group failed to perform at a high level?

“I don’t look at statistics, all we talk about is winning football games. That’s A-1 for us, how do we find ways to win football games, and we’ve done that the last two weeks against very good defenses, but at no point will I say in front of anyone that our group is satisfied with where we’re at. Every day we come in with a plan how we’re going to get better, our guys own it, I own it as a coach, and our goal is to win one game this week.”

Have the receivers met your expectations?

“Certain games they have, yeah, certain games we haven’t as a group. Our goal each week is to go out and play a great football game. We know it’s not going to be perfect. It’s football, it’s the NFL, there’s great coaches on each side of the ball, but each week we do have a standard and there’s been certain weeks we haven’t met that standard and we’ve got to get that right.

How much do you miss DeSean?

“We’re not going to go in the tank because one guy can’t play for the weeks to come. I think it’s a challenge for a lot of guys in the room: ‘Hey, it might be my time now to step in and do the job.’ … Does it hurt to lose DeSean Jackson? Absolutely. I think we can all answer that question. He’s a prolific player in our building, he’s a prolific player in the NFL, and he’s done it for a really long time, so of course it’s going to hurt.”

How do you hit deep balls without him?

“I think it’s just a work in progress. I truly believe that. We have hit some deep balls down the field. Have we hit every one? No. Have we hit all the ones we wanted to hit? No. But all we can do is continue to go back to the drawing board each week, continue to rep and get more throws with our guys with the quarterback, and we’ll get it done. It’s DeSean’s forte, we all know that. He’s got more than anyone else in the history of the league. It’s hard to replace that.” 

Why hasn't 2nd-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made an impact?

“J.J.’s ready. He’s cross-trained now. He knows the X position, he knows the Z position and if it came down to it he could probably play the F position. He’s in a good place right now. He’s positive, he feels good about where he’s at in the offense, so yes, I do anticipate him getting some snaps as we go.”

Why hasn't Mack Hollins caught a pass since Week 4?

“I don’t think there’s a direct reason. I know production is a word that’s getting thrown around a lot. Production as a player to me isn’t just how many catches you have in a given week. Each guy on our team has a role and right now Mack Hollins has done a very good job at his role, and a lot of it is blocking, but he’s running all the routes we’re asking him to run, he’s getting to his depth and when the ball comes to Mack he’ll make a play for us.

How's Nelson Agholor playing?

“He’s doing very well. He works harder than everybody in the room. He’s a great young man, he’s prepared every single week, and he made two great catches last week (3-for-21). Off-target catches. Went down and made a great play on both of them and we’re excited about the rest of the season.”

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Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:

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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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