NBC

Why Are the Eagles' Wide Receivers So Bad?

DeSean Jackson has the Eagles' two-longest catches this year, and he's essentially played one game.

Nelson Agholor leads all Eagles receivers in yards, and he ranks 75th in the NFL. 

Alshon Jeffery is averaging a full five yards per catch below his career average.

Mack Hollins has one catch in his last four games, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside can't get on the field.

The Eagles' wide receiver position is a mess.

Two years ago, Jeffery and Agholor were starting wideouts for a Super Bowl champ, and Hollins was the fourth wideout.

Now? With a promising second-round pick added to the mix, the Eagles have the NFL's worst wide receiving corps.

Here are the Eagles' receiving stats in six games since Jackson suffered an abdominal injury in the opening minutes of the Falcons game:

Agholor: 23 for 243, 3 TDs
Jeffery: 21 for 204, 2 TDs
Hollins: 10 for 125, 0 TDs
Arcega-Whiteside: 2 for 14, 0 TDs

Not surprisingly, the Eagles are 2-4 in that stretch.

Jackson had 154 yards and two long touchdowns in his only full game.

Without him, Eagles receivers have 56 catches for 586 yards in six games and just two catches of at least 30 yards.

There's some good and there's some not so good," Doug Pederson said. "It's hard when your quarterback sometimes doesn't necessarily have all the time to throw. He's having to scramble and move around and it gets you off rhythm, gets you off schedule. So that's a part of it. We are getting some guys open and it's been documented already with drops and different things like that this year. It's still a group that we have a lot of confidence in, a lot of trust, a lot of faith in. We've had opportunities to complete balls down the field we've missed. … We just have to keep working.

During this six-week period, only the Raiders have gotten fewer yards per game from their wide receivers than the Eagles.

The Eagles' wideouts are averaging 10.5 yards per catch without Jackson, worst in the league.

How did things get this bad?

Jeffery, who turns 30 in January, is having his worst year since he was a rookie in 2012. He's on pace for 59 catches for just 578 yards after averaging 1,100 the last six years. And his yards per catch is down from an average of 14.5 coming into this season to 9.7. After recording 38 catches longer than 30 yards in his first seven seasons, he doesn't have any this year.

Agholor? We've all seen his regression. He's getting open but either dropping the ball, missing the ball or giving up on the ball. It's tough to watch. At $9.4 million, he's killing the Eagles.

Hollins? In his third year, he's doing less than his rookie year.

JJAW? His absence remains baffling.

Whose fault is all this?

The blame should be spread around equally.

Howie Roseman: He's the one that put this group together so ultimately it's his responsibility. Jackson was an exciting acquisition, but the odds of a 32-year-old speed receiver staying healthy were never great. Obviously paying Agholor the $9.4 option year looks like a mistake now. Jeffery's decline might have been hard to predict, but part of a GM's job is nailing when older players are beginning to decline. It's too early to write off Arcega-Whiteside, but it is disappointing he can't get on the field. Even guys like Jordan Matthews or Golden Tate, who finished last year with the Eagles (and caught playoff TDs), would have helped. 

Doug Pederson: Whether it's personnel, scheme, play-calling or play design, impact plays from the wide receivers since D-Jack went out have been virtually nonexistent, and that's on Pederson. This is his offense. This is his scheme. These are his plays. 

Carson Wentz: When an offense is this out of sync, the quarterback has to share in the blame. As Pederson alluded to, pass protection has been shaky lately so it's tough to lay too much blame on Wentz, but he does need to be better.

Carson Walch: The other Carson deserves a share of the blame, simply because he's the position coach of an underachieving group. Why is the entire group regressing? Does he have any answers?

Mike Groh: It's Pederson's offense, and Groh's duties are kind of vague, but he certainly hasn't done anything to make the situation better. And as this group's former wide receivers coach you'd think he'd be well equipped to help.

The receivers themselves: Ultimately, this is where most of the blame lies. The coaches can only put them in position. The quarterback can only throw them the ball. The receivers' job is to get open and catch the ball and make plays after the catch, and that hasn't happened consistently since opening day. 

The whole position group has looked lost since Jackson got hurt in the opening minutes of the Falcons game. When they've made headlines, it's been for drops, fumbles and missed opportunities. What's most disturbing is that Jeffery, Agholor and Hollins all appear to have regressed.

Agholor won't be here next year. Jeffery could be gone, although his contract will make that tricky. Hollins should be a special teamer if he's here at all. Arcega-Whiteside should be a starter, but who knows?

While other teams have made moves - the Patriots acquired Mohamad Sanu from the Falcons on Monday, the 49ers acquired Emmanuel Sanders from the Broncos on Tuesday - the Eagles have been quiet so far.

As for Jackson, he's already missed six games, and there's no word when he'll be back. Sunday is unlikely. It might not be until after the bye week.

It's impossible to win consistently in today's NFL without fast playmaking wide receivers, and it looks more and more every day like the Eagles just don't have any.

Whether they can figure out how to get them remains to be seen.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Copyright C
Contact Us