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August 19, 2017

Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery is behind, mentally

On a 3rd and 12 in the Philadelphia Eagles' second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery ran a wrong route. Instead of running a corner route, he ran an out route. It happens, but in the case of Jeffery, it's more concerning than normal.

Carson Wentz was looking for Jeffery on the play, but had to go over the middle to Zach Ertz instead, who picked up 11 yards on the play, just short of a first down. 

"Alshon ran the wrong route," wide receiver coach Mike Groh acknowledged. "It's probably a route he hadn't practiced yet. It's certainly his responsibility to know it, but in a short week and a non-game plan week, ordinarily if you're spending four days of practicing the game plan as a team you'll run every play. That's one (play) that's been (practiced in camp), but because of the time he missed, we run it two different ways and he got confused."

It was a moment in the game that wasn't noticed by a soul, other than the Eagles' coaching staff of course, who knew the play call. Luckily for the Eagles, Wentz didn't throw an interception because he was anticipating his receiver to be in one spot, while the receiver was in another. Also luckily for the Eagles, it's still only the preseason.

"I think he's behind," Groh said. "Anytime you miss the amount of time that he did, he's a little bit behind. Fortunately, we have time for him to catch up."

For about a week and a half during training camp and the preseason, Jeffery did not participate in team drills, but he was always at least on the field, oftentimes on a separate field while his teammates were practicing. Ideally, if players cannot practice, they are at least still focused on the action on the field, taking mental reps. That is something that Jeffery has not always done throughout camp when he has been unable to practice.

And, well, as noted by his own positional coach, he's behind. The Eagles' first regular season game is September 10th. In a preseason game, running a wrong route because you're mentally unprepared isn't a big deal. In three weeks, it will be.

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