Tha Sports Junkies 101

Will The Real Eagles Playmakers Please Stand Up?

Matthews playmakers Tim via


Will The Real Eagles Playmakers Please Stand Up?

It’s been a relatively popular opinion that the Philadelphia Eagles have one of the weaker groups of offensive skill players in the league.  They will need to develop these skill players into dynamic playmakers if they want to contend for the NFC East, as many fans believe they can.  Just to clarify, we’re talking about the combination of talent at running back, wide receiver, and tight end.

Last week against the Browns, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz did something we haven’t seen in a long time from the quarterback position, perhaps ever.  It seemed like he elevated the play of those around him.  He made them better.  Nick Foles didn’t do that.  Neither did Sam Bradford.  You could even argue Donovan McNabb didn’t do that.

The Eagles offense is filled with skill players that were once highly regarded, but could be categorized as under-achievers throughout the early parts of their careers.

Tight End Zach Ertz was considered to be the top pass catcher at the position coming out of Stanford in 2013.  While Ertz has been a good player, earning himself a new contract that included $21 million in guaranteed money, he hasn’t experienced quite the level of success that some had hoped.  People are constantly comparing him to Travis Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs tight end.  One of the main issues surrounding Ertz has been his inability to consistently find the end zone, with nine career touchdowns.

Like Ertz, third year receiver Jordan Matthews is looking to take his game to the next level.  Let’s not get this confused,  Matthews has not been a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, but like many Eagles fans and staff members, Matthews believes he can take his game to another level.  He also shares a common theme with Ertz and a majority of other players on the roster. He’s trying to find the end zone at an elite level. While Matthews has had no issue approaching 1,000 yards, a milestone that places you in the upper level of receivers, he is trying to surpass eight receiving touchdowns for the first time in his career.

There’s no doubt that Matthews is the top option on the team, but he is probably best suited as a second option.  If he was ever a true ‘number two’ that would mean the Eagles would have one of the top passing attacks in the league.

There are two members of the team who were drafted with the expectation they could become legitimate top options for their teams.  Chip Kelly selected Nelson Agholor with the 20th pick in the 2015 draft.  Agholor was constantly battling a lingering leg injury that held him out of three games.

Many thought that Agholor‘s confidence took a major hit due to his lackluster rookie season, and that’s understandable.  He’s been regarded as a team-first player who was likely disappointed by his lack of production.

He’s off to a hot start this year, though.  He registered four receptions on five targets for 57 yards and a touchdown last week against the Cleveland Browns.  He beat Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden on an impressive double move and connected with Wentz in the corner of the end zone.

Agholor only went over the 50 yard mark twice last year, and only found the end zone once.

The final guy to keep your eye on is Dorial Green-Beckham.  He was acquired by the Eagles during the preseason for Dennis Kelly, who is considered to be a depth-caliber offensive lineman.

The Eagles knew they were receiving a top level talent as a major discount because the Tennessee Titans, a team who has seemingly been rebuilding for the last decade decided he wasn’t worth a roster spot anymore.  Green-Beckham has been known for several off-field incidents, including one that resulted in him being removed from the Missouri Tigers football team.

Green-Beckham is the most talented of the receivers, but he’s still learning the ins and outs of the West Coast offense, which is not similar to what he did in college or in Tennessee.  He still has the physical tools to be a dominant force.  Against the Browns, he flashed his physical style, using short routes that allowed him to use his size to gain inside leverage.

He’s expected to develop into a quality red zone threat, using his large frame and athletic ability to get up and over smaller cornerbacks and safeties.

The hope is that Carson Wentz and the Eagles staff can develop these guys into formidable NFL players.  They had a solid debut against a weak Cleveland team, and face a tougher, yet not impossible task this week in the Chicago Bears.

Prediction: Eagles win 23-20