On Sunday at the Linc, in between the Eagles’ offensive series, Dorial Green-Beckham is going to look onto the field and see a familiar sight.
Julio Jones will be making plays.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Jones, like Green-Beckham, is a big receiver. He’s 6-3, 220 to DGB’s 6-5, 237. But that’s pretty much where the comparison needs to end.
While Jones has become one of the — if not the — best receivers in the NFL all while using his big frame, Green-Beckham is struggling in his second year in the NFL. At just 23 years old, Green-Beckham still isn't using his frame the way he should.
But he’s trying to learn.
“Being a young guy, a second-year guy,” Green-Beckham said on Wednesday afternoon, “I [watch] a whole lot of guys, like Julio, all those guys. I try to do what I can do and try to like put myself in those positions.”
While his weeks during the season are consumed with game-planning and self-correcting, he uses time during the offseason to study players like Jones and Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who at 6-2, 220 pounds, is another player who is able to use size to his advantage.
Head coach Doug Pederson said the way to teach a receiver to use his body is by learning from the greats.
Pederson mentioned Jones, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown (who plays bigger than his 5-10, 188-pound frame) and future Hall of Famer Terrell Owens.
"But again, we're in season and it's a little bit harder to do that," Pederson said. "We just have to continue, as coaches, to teach it every day. I tell the guys all the time, ‘You can't substitute the hard work and preparation,’ and that's part of the preparation in getting yourself ready to go."
What does Green-Beckham like about Jones’ game?
“Just attacking the ball,” Green-Beckham said. “When the ball’s in the air, having that mindset of just attacking the ball and knowing that it’s yours at all times.”
Green-Beckham wasn’t able to get the ball once on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. He was targeted five times and didn’t have a single catch. He became the first Eagles receiver to have five-plus targets and no catches in a game since Hank Baskett in 2006. And this was just the second such game in the NFL this season.
Of those five targets, four of them came on touch throws from Carson Wentz into or near the end zone. Had the Eagles hit on any of them, Sunday’s game might have been much different.
“I feel good. I feel very confident,” Wentz said about his chemistry with Green-Beckham. “Obviously, we missed a couple in the game. The corner made some good plays and I made some poor throws more than anything and didn't really give him a shot. I feel more than comfortable with him and where we're at.”
Green-Beckham, who was acquired by the Eagles during training camp in a trade for Dennis Kelly, said the quarterbacks and receivers spent time after each practice throwing and catching.
On Sunday, he and his quarterback couldn’t hit any of their timing plays.
“It’s tough,” Green-Beckham said. “The timing, it’s about building that time, putting in the extra time. I feel like since I’ve only been here for a good two months, the timing’s gonna be off. But we know we have to continue to do it at practice, start it at practice, carry over to the game. We know each and every week, we have to work on those details and figure out ways to win.”
For how disappointing Sunday’s game was for Green-Beckham, it was a couple inches away from being a resounding success.
With about four minutes left in the game, Wentz threw a 3rd-and-10 pass down the middle of the field to DGB on a post route. But on its way, the ball was tipped by Jason Pierre-Paul and it slightly changed direction, soaring high and incomplete. The Eagles settled for a field goal to make it 28-23 and weren’t able to score again.
If the ball didn’t get tipped, Green-Beckham thinks he makes a huge catch.
“Of course,” he said. “Because I saw the ball all the way through until it got tipped, kind of threw it off. Watching it on film, it could have been an easy completion, easy catch.
“But we know that’s something we’re going to continue to do. We’re going to continue to take shots like that. And it’s a matter of time [before] those shots are catches. And we’re going to end up scoring or make big plays.”