EAGLES

What happened to the Eagles' WRs not named DeVonta Smith?

EAGLES

The Eagles finally have a No. 1 wide receiver. Unfortunately, they haven’t had much else from the position lately.

DeVonta Smith is on pace to break DeSean Jackson’s franchise rookie receiving record of 912 yards (and he’s on pace to do it in 16 games) and become the first Eagles rookie ever with 1,000 yards in a season.

He’s not the problem.

The problem is everyone else.

The Eagles’ ballyhooed stable of young, fast wide receivers lately has Smith. And just Smith.

Quez Watkins got off to such a promising start but hasn’t been targeted much lately, in particular down the field, where he made a bunch of big plays early in the season.

Jalen Reagor has virtually disappeared from the offense.

Greg Ward, who caught 53 passes last year, has caught just two – both touchdowns, both the first month of the season.

One-time 2nd-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is hurt these days but rarely plays on offense when he’s healthy.

That’s your receiving corps.

No WR other than Smith has even had a 50-yard game since Week 3.

After averaging 103 yards the first three games, the non-DeVonta WRs are combining for just 43 yards the last six.

Is the problem Nick Sirianni not dialing up enough plays for the other receivers? Is the problem Jalen Hurts not looking for them? Or is the problem that they’re just not good enough?

Or maybe a little bit of all three?

Sirianni suggested that by being so run heavy the last couple weeks the receivers other than Smith have fallen by the wayside.

 

“We're playing a certain way right now, and we're running the football and we're play-action passing, so you want to get Dallas going, get DeVonta going,” he said. “Of course, you want to get Quez, Jalen (going).

“There are a lot of mouths to feed there, but when we're doing it the way we're doing it now and having some success doing it that way, something has to sacrifice there. We're always thinking about how to get the ball to DeVonta and Dallas and Quez and Jalen, and sometimes their touches come and sometimes they don't.”

The Eagles have run the ball a lot more than they’ve thrown it the last two games, but this issue goes back a lot farther than the Detroit game.

Watkins looked like such a weapon early. He emerged as a legit field stretcher with catches of 41, 53 and 91 yards early and was on pace for over 900 yards five games into the season. Since then he’s only been targeted nine times in four games and has just 11 catches for 108 yards.

Reagor, the Eagles’ 1st-round pick last year, actually got off to an OK start, with 13 catches for 107 yards in the first three games. Not exactly Mike Quick but at least he was contributing. In the last six games? He has 8-for-52 yards with a 17-yard TD during the final meaningless minutes of the Raiders loss. That’s 8.7 yards per game over a six-game stretch for a 1st-round pick.

Ward was a reliable 3rd-down slot guy last year but hasn’t gotten a target since the Chiefs game six weeks ago and played just one offensive snap Sunday.

JJAW doesn’t have a target this year.

Last year’s leading receiver? Travis Fulgham is currently on the Dolphins’ practice squad.

Draft picks haven’t panned out. Young players haven’t developed. Some have regressed.

And lately it’s been really only Smith and Dallas Goedert contributing in the passing game.

“I do know in this league you have to be able to spread it around so they can't just take away one guy and take away your passing game,” Sirianni said.

“We can definitely manufacture things to get some (other) guys touches, but there is only one football. You only have so many plays. When you're running the ball the way we were and play-actioning the way we were, that was the right formula for us (Sunday) and the week before in my opinion, so some guys are going to lack some touches there.

“But you're not able to play that way every time. A defense can take away things and force you to do it in different ways, so there’s no doubt we're going to need them and they're going to have to be patient and go. Kind of like how Jordan Howard was. Patient and was ready to roll when his time was called.”