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January 07, 2016

Could Adam Gase help the young Eagles' receivers maximize their potential?

Eagles NFL
010716NelsonAgholorJordanMatthews Michael Perez/AP

Jordan Matthews cuts into the Cardinals' 37-10 lead, which was cause for celebration.

The morning after Chip Kelly was fired, we published a profile of Philadelphia Eagles head coaching candidate Adam Gase, making the point that the Eagles have had one of the most unstable situations at the quarterback position in the NFL. And the hiring of Gase could help fix that. To note, Gase is the only coaching candidate we have profiled since Kelly was let go more than a week ago.

We made the obvious observation in that piece (and everyone else has by now as well) that Gase had extraordinary success working with Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, and Jay Cutler, who all had the best seasons of their careers under Gase's watch. 

However, Gase's success didn't stop at the quarterback position -- He has also guided wide receivers to some of their best seasons in the pros.

From 2009 to 2010, Gase served as the Broncos' wide receivers coach. In 2010, Brandon Lloyd had by far his best season in the NFL working with Gase, when he amassed 77 catches for 1448 yards (18.8 YPC), and 11 TDs. Here's how that compares with the rest of his career:

Brandon Lloyd Rec Yards YPC TD 
 2003 49ers (16 games)14 212 15.1 
 2004 49ers (13 games)43 565 13.1 
 2005 49ers (16 games)48 733 15.3 
 2006 Redskins (15 games)23 365 15.9 
 2007 Redskins (8 games)14 7.0 
 2008 Bears (11 games)26 364 14.0 
 2009 Broncos (2 games)117 14.6 
 2010 Broncos (16 games)77 1448 18.8 11 
 2011 DEN/STL (15 games)70 966 13.8 
 2012 Patriots (16 games)74 911 12.3 
 2014 49ers (14 games)14 294 21.0 

Lloyd's quarterbacks that season were Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow.

In 2009, under Gase's watch, Jabar Gaffney had what was at the time his best career in the NFL, at the age of 29. He improved on those numbers in 2010 at the age of 30.

 Jabar GaffneyRec Yards YPC TD 
 2002 Texans (16 games)41483 11.8 
 2003 Texans (16 games)34 402 11.8 
 2004 Texans (16 games)41 632 15.4 
 2005 Texans (16 games)55 492 8.9 
 2006 Patriots (11 games)11 142 12.9 
 2007 Patriots (16 games)36 449 12.5 
 2008 Patriots (16 games)38 468 12.3 
 2009 Broncos (16 games)54 732 13.6 2 
 2010 Broncos (16 games)65 875 13.5 2 
 2011 Redskins (16 games)68 947 13.9 
 2012 Dolphins (3 games)68 17.0 

Gaffney was a guy the Eagles signed in 2006, and then cut before the season even began. Again, to repeat, the Broncos' quarterbacks in 2010 were Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow.

And then there's Brandon Marshall. In 2009, Marshall was suspended for throwing a tantrum doing training camp because he was upset with the team for misdiagnosing a hip injury, as well as unhappiness with his contract. Despite the distractions and time missed, Marshall still caught 101 passes for 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns, and made the Pro Bowl under Gase.

It is also noteworthy that Gase has gotten outstanding production from receivers like Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and Eric Decker during his tenure as offensive coordinator.

Over the last two offseasons, the Eagles have invested heavily in wide receiver talent in the draft:

Year  PlayerRound Overall 
 2014Jordan Matthews 42 
 2014 Josh Huff86 
 2015 Nelson Agholor20 

Matthews has largely panned out, but has struggled catching the ball at times. Huff and Agholor, meanwhile, have flashed talent, but have been disappointments very early on in their respective careers.

Jordan Matthews Rec Yards YPC TD 
2014 67 872 13.0
2015 85 997 11.7

 Josh Huff RecYards YPC TD 
 201498 12.3 
 201527 312 11.6 

 Nelson AgholorRec Yards YPC TD 
 201523 283 12.3 

The numbers suggest that Gase has been able to get the most out of his receivers in the past. It would be a major bonus if he could help Matthews, Huff, and Agholor maximize their full potential as well.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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