The last three weeks have been a disaster for the Eagles in general and the wide receivers in particular.
The Eagles have lost three straight games, and their wide receivers have combined for just 24 catches and 207 yards in the three games, with none of them going over 52 yards in any game in losses to the Giants, Browns and Seahawks.
The first eight games of the season, the receivers averaged 147 yards per game. And the Eagles were 3-4-1.
The last three games, the receivers have averaged just 69 yards. And the Eagles are 0-3.
The first eight games, Eagles receivers had 12 catches of 20 yards and five of at least 40 yards.
The last three? The receivers don’t have a catch longer than 18 yards.
Some of this is on Carson Wentz. Some is on Doug Pederson. But a lot of it is on the receivers, several of whom showed promise earlier in the year.
And it doesn’t help when DK Metcalf comes to town and puts up 177 against the team that should have drafted him.
Aaron Moorehead, the Eagles’ sixth wide receivers coach in six years, spoke Friday about his group’s struggles.
“These last three games have not been good enough,” he said. “We know that. They know that. We have talked about that during the week, and the focus is to come out and put another day on tape, put another day on tape, and continually progress and so when you get to the next Sunday, you’ve done everything you can up until that point and then go out Sunday, play with your hair on fire and go make plays.”
Travis Fulgham, who averaged 87 yards the previous five games, has 32 yards the last three. Jalen Reagor was held to a career-low 11 yards Monday night and doesn’t have a 20-yard catch since opening day. John Hightower, who had a couple 50-yard catches in October, has one yard in his last four games. Alshon Jeffery has 2 for 15 since returning three weeks ago. Greg Ward has just 51 yards these last three games. JJAW is JJAW.
Nobody is making plays.
It’s tough to say what percentage is Wentz’s fault and what percentage is the receivers’ fault. It’s both. It’s everything.
But there’s no question the receivers deserve a chunk of the blame for their performance.
“When the plays are there, we’ve got to make them,” Moorehead said. “If it’s a 50-50 ball right now it can’t be a 50-50 ball, it’s got to be a 75-25 ball. I mean, that’s just the way that it is right now. And if we’re going to make a jump and make a real play for the division over the last five games, that’s got to be the mentality.”
There hasn’t been any sort of set rotation at receiver.
Ward has been the only constant. Fulgham didn’t play the first three games, Hightower has gone from 249 snaps in a five-game stretch to just 33 the last four games. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside started out in the rotation only to wind up on the bench (and the last two weeks on the COVID list). DeSean Jackson played a lot early, only to get hurt. Jeffery finally was activated three weeks ago and has cut into everybody’s snaps.
It’s a mess.
It doesn’t help that guys like Justin Jefferson, Terry McLaurin and Metcalf, who all could have (and should have) been Eagles, have been tearing up the league.
With five games to go, all already have over 900 yards, and Metcalf is already over 1,000 yards
The last Eagles receiver with 1,000 yards in a season was Jeremy Maclin in 2014.
“I’m kind of hoping at some point here that we have one of those games where everybody has a bunch of catches and a bunch of yards,” Moorehead said. “Keep doing the things that we’re asking you to do and good things will happen and we know it.”
The Eagles’ eight-longest pass plays the last three weeks have gone to tight ends.
The receivers have just eight catches of 10 yards or more during the three-game losing streak.
The glimpses of firepower we saw early in the year have evaporated, and Moorehead is running out of time to try and figure out how to get them back.
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