Eagles

Eagles

On Saturday afternoon, Eagles receivers coach Mike Groh said he thought big free-agent pickup Alshon Jeffery was a little behind after missing time this training camp.

Jeffery doesn't agree.

"Not at all," Jeffery said Sunday. "But at the same time, missing a few practices here and there just getting some timing down — I'll be all right."

Jeffery missed considerable time this summer, first with a shoulder injury and then because Doug Pederson used his "discretion" to hold the star receiver out of practice.

After missing practice time, Jeffery also missed the first preseason game in Green Bay. He did play Thursday night against the Bills with mixed results. He caught a couple passes for 23 yards but also made some mistakes.

"I think he's behind," Groh said Saturday. "Anytime you miss the amount of time he did. He's a little bit behind but fortunately, we have time for him to catch up on all that. I thought they got off to a good start the other night."

On one play in particular, instead of running a corner route, Jeffery ran an out. Similar … but not the same. Groh said it was Jeffery's responsibility to know the route but said in a non-game plan week, the team probably didn't practice it. And it was possible Jeffery's missed time led to the mix-up.

On Sunday, Jeffery just saw it as a mistake.

"It's the game of football," he said. "Every once in a while you're going to run a wrong route, make some mistakes on a few plays. But I'll be all right."

 

The most important thing for Jeffery over the next three weeks before the start of the regular season is building his chemistry with Carson Wentz. While the two have been together now since the spring and Jeffery went to North Dakota with the other receivers, there's still a feeling-out process going on.

Groh said there's not a normal amount of time for quarterbacks and receivers to get on the same page, but did note Wentz and Jeffery take extra reps together during special teams periods in an attempt to catch-up.

A big part of Jeffery's game is timing routes like fades. When asked if it takes even longer to build chemistry with a receiver like that, Groh had a different theory.  

"I think it may take less time with really good players," he said. "They just kind of have a feel for each other. One of the things that has helped Alshon be a productive player, I think his body language is very easy to read and judge for quarterbacks. When he and Carson get out here and Carson starts to learn that body language, where he likes the ball, with the accuracy Carson can throw with, it'll probably work out well."

For the next two days, Jeffery will get a chance to look across the field to the other sideline and see a guy who he once built that chemistry with. Jay Cutler, who was Jeffery's QB in Chicago, is now the starter for the Dolphins, who will be in town for two joint practices in advance of Thursday's game at the Linc.

Jeffery said it'll be a little weird to see Cutler, but he's looking forward to catching up with his old teammate, whom he played with from 2012 through last season.

How long did it take for him and Cutler to forge chemistry?

"Over time and over years," Jeffery said. "We were together for a long time so when we'd line up, I'd know what he wants and he knows what I like. It takes time over years. We'd been together five years."

A staple of the Chicago offense with Cutler and Jeffery were back-shoulder throws, ones that can be completed only when the quarterback and receiver are in sync.

Eventually, the Eagles hope Wentz and Jeffery will get them down too.

"In time. In due time," Jeffery said. "Each and every practice we get better. In due time, it'll get better."