January 31, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers flat out stunk in 2016. Make no mistake about it. Sure, there were flashes of playmaking ability of the corps of pass catchers at rookie Carson Wentz's disposal, but when you fail to have more than one wideout eclipse 400 yards receiving, there's a big problem that needs to be – and likely will be – addressed immediately.
In fact, tight end Zach Ertz led the team in catches (78), receiving yards (816) and touchdowns (4). Jordan Matthews, the Eagles leading wideout, finished with 804 yards and three scores on 74 receptions. Then, nearly 400 yards behind, you have running back Darren Sproles, who finished with 53 catches for 427 yards and a pair of TDs.
When it comes to Eagles with either 50 catches or 400 receiving yards, that's it.
But perhaps Wentz should have been able to get more out of his other targets, especially a trio of younger guys who noticeably underperformed week in and week out: Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and Bryce Treggs.
In the case of Agholor (36 receptions, 365 yards, 2 TDs), his struggles appeared to be between the ears. And, perhaps because they were still in the middle of their season, his teammates seemed to genuinely have his back while he continued to work through his sophomore struggles.
But what about DGB (36 receptions, 392 yards, 2 TDs) and Treggs (3 receptions, 80 yards in 9 games)?
Although their lockers at the NovaCare Complex are right next to each other, the two couldn't be more different in terms of what they bring to the position -- Green-Beckham is a former second-round pick and a physical specimen at 6-5, 225; Treggs is an undrafted rookie whose speed makes up for his lack of size.
But the root cause of their struggles in 2016 was reportedly the same, according to Geoff Mosher of 4PhillySports.com:
Now consider that two of their young, potentially promising receivers -- Green-Beckham and speedster, rookie free agent Bryce Treggs – are far from locks to be on the 53-man roster when the 2017 season begins. Both made sporadic contributions in 2016 as one-dimensional weapons. According to team sources, both prioritized getting acquainted with the Philly nightlife over outworking their teammates, in practice.
Amazingly, not even the advice of franchise icon Brian Dawkins, who’s been involved in player development since being hired last summer, sunk in for these young receivers. Had they shown to be coachable, or more interested in self-improvement, they each could have made a difference this past season playing alongside strong-armed, rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. [4phillysports.com]
No word on if that had anything to do with Matthews hogging all the post-practice reps on the JUGS machine.
Naturally, more was expected out of Green-Beckham given his size and potential, but a report like this shouldn't be surprising given his history and is perhaps part of the reason the Titans were willing to trade him for backup offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.
Treggs, on the other hand, was gifted a huge opportunity after the Eagles excused troubled wideout Josh Huff after his arrest on gun and drug charges. However, the Cal product, who was drawing comparisons to DeSean Jackson when the team first activated him midway through the season, never really made his presence felt.
And that doesn't bode well for him (or DGB) -- especially if this is something the coaches also noticed -- heading into an offseason in which the front office has repeatedly talked about upgrading Wentz's weapons after their struggles in 2016.
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