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August 22, 2017

Former teammate and coach say nice things about Alshon Jeffery

On Monday, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery reunited with a pair of former close associates during the Birds' joint practices with the Miami Dolphins.

Jeffery spoke with Jay Cutler, his former quarterback in Chicago, as well as Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, Jeffery's former offensive coordinator there. Naturally, in a Philadelphia media setting, after being labeled as falling "behind" by Eagles wide receiver coach Mike Groh, Cutler was peppered with questions about his former teammate during his interview session.

"You guys are worried about Alshon," Cutler joked after three out of the first five questioned he faced were from Philly media in regard to Jeffery. "He’s going to be fine. What’s going on? Is something going on that I don’t know about?"

A reporter then explained that Jeffery missed some practice time. "With what," Cutler asked.

A shoulder injury, a reporter explained.  “Well, he had a shoulder injury," Cutler responded. "What do you want him to do?"

On the one hand, Jeffery certainly could have been paying close attention in practice while hampered by his shoulder injury, but he often wasn't. Being "behind" is on the mental side, as Jeffery ran a wrong route in the Eagles' second preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. On the other hand, things out of proportion in Philadelphia sports from time to time, partly because there is an abnormally high amount of media coverage, and interest in the team is so high.

“He’ll be fine," Cutler reassured. "I obviously don’t know what’s going on here. I don’t know where he is in the system, what his production’s been like; but as long as he’s healthy, he’s going to produce. He’s going to go out there. He’s a pro. He knows football. He’s got a great feel, great instincts. If he’s healthy, that wouldn’t be a guy I’d worry about.”

Gase expressed similar sentiments for his former wide receiver.

“(The Eagles) are getting a guy that you can basically throw the ball up and he’ll go get it and make the play," said Gase. "It doesn’t matter what the coverage is. (With) two, three guys on him, he’s made some incredible plays when we were together in Chicago. I think it was the first time I ever had a player where I’d call a play and just say ‘Throw it to Alshon.’ 

"He’s a big-body guy. You kind of are surprised when you stand next to him. You always think he’s taller, but his arms and his wingspan are incredible. His ability to track the ball and go get it in traffic is really something that you don’t see a lot. He’s a guy that when you get in the red zone, he’s a definite threat, and he can be a game-changing guy. When he makes those explosive plays, they’re game-changing plays.”

So, just as a reminder, for the sake of balanced coverage, it's worth noting that Jeffery is indeed a good player.

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