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The Move the Eagles Have to Make

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The Eagles ran the ball for 218 yards, scored 31 points and recorded a big road win over a tough opponent Sunday.

On Monday, Doug Pederson talked about how he'd love to be able to run the ball like that all the time.

Especially while DeSean Jackson is out.

Which doesn't say much for what he thinks of the Eagles' other receivers.

It would be awesome if the Eagles could run 40 times for 200 yards week after week. They wouldn't lose very often.

The problem is, in the modern NFL you can't win consistently without a high-powered passing attack. Doesn't mean an effective running game can't be a critical part of an offense. But without playmakers in the passing game it's tough to sustain that rushing attack.

And the reality is the Eagles have only rushed for over 130 yards twice in eight games this year - in Green Bay and Sunday in Buffalo.

They haven't done it consistently enough to believe it can carry them throughout the year.

So when Pederson says the running game "is a formula for us," he's really saying, "We've got no receivers."

The Eagles are 4-4 in a division where nobody has played consistent football. They still have a chance to do something special this year, but it's not going to happen with this passing attack.

It's not going to happen with these receivers.

Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery are the only even remotely functional wide outs on the roster, and neither is even on pace for 650 yards this year.

We've got to forget the Super Bowl and how much Agholor and Jeffery did for that team - and in that game - and focus on today. And Nelly is averaging 32 yards per game and keeps dropping deep balls. He has 93 yards over the last five games. Jeffery's been a little better but he doesn't look anything like the Alshon of old.

DeSean Jackson will return to practice Wednesday and you would think he'd be available to play after the bye week. But how long will he stay healthy? How much can the Eagles count on a 32-year-old speed receiver coming off a serious abdominal injury? How long will he hold up?

And it's not even worth talking about Mack Hollins or J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Miles Sanders has been a revelation in the passing game, Dallas Goedert has been fine and you figure at some point Zach Ertz will get back involved again. 

But running backs and tight ends aren't enough.

There's just no firepower in the offense right now, and that's why Howie Roseman really needs to consider all options before Tuesday's trade deadline.

If there's an opportunity to get a playmaking wide receiver with reasonable compensation, he has to make it happen.

Trades aren't always the answer. I'd rather build through draft picks. Develop your own players. Get them in your program learning your scheme and believing in your culture from the get-go. When you bring in an outside player, you never really know what you might be getting … as we learned this past week.

But that's not going so well these days. So they need to turn elsewhere.

Roseman's nature is to be aggressive, and the Eagles can't afford to stand pat if they have legit playoff aspirations.

The Eagles have the picks. Assuming third and fourth-round compensatory picks, they'll have first- and second-round picks next year, plus two picks each in the third, fourth and fifth rounds.

So the need is there. The picks are there. And the aggressive GM is there.

The problem is who?

Mohamad Sanu and Emanuel Sanders are gone.

A.J. Green is out there, but with all his injuries do you really want to risk it?

Robby Anderson? The Temple grad would be an improvement, and certainly Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas talk all the time, but his numbers have dwindled, he's not signed beyond this year and I have a hunch the Jets' asking price will be too high. 

DeVante Parker? Do you really want to give up a premium draft pick for a guy who's averaged 42 yards per game in 4 1/2 seasons?

Tough questions. But every time I tell myself the Eagles can't afford to give up a second- or third-round pick for a second-tier receiver, I answer by telling myself they can't afford not to.

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