Eagles Film Room: Why was Alshon Jeffery silenced against Raiders on Christmas Day?


The Eagles were able to defeat Oakland on Christmas Day, but it wasn’t easy. The offense stagnated at the expense of Alshon Jeffery, who didn’t receive a pass in a game he started for the first time since 2012. What happened? It’s time to take to the eye in the sky!

When asked about the situation surrounding a severe lack of attention to a wideout with seven touchdowns in his last eight games, offensive coordinator Frank Reich remained confident that it was an issue the Eagles can work around.

“I think it really comes back to being better on third down.” Reich explained on Wednesday. “Not that we can’t find other ways to get him the ball on first and second down. I own that. We own that. Let’s get Alshon the football. And I think as drives go, when you’re making first downs and moving the ball down the field, when we’re at our best, that’s what we do. We possess the ball. We lead the NFL in time of possession for two straight years, and because we know how to make first downs, we know how to stay on the field. When that doesn’t happen, you just get out of sync. The ball doesn’t get distributed in the same way. For us, it comes down to being good on third down, being good in the red zone, just to get more opportunities to spread the ball around.”

A lot of the situations we saw in the above video would have probably been completions if Carson Wentz is at the helm. That’s not to say Wentz is the supremely better quarterback, nor is it an insult to Foles. But with timing being such a key part of this offense as separation is often hard to come by, a strong rapport with quarterbacks is needed for success…and Foles did miss most of the offseason and preseason due to an elbow injury and the arrival of his child.

“It’s important for he and really all the guys to have that rapport.” Pederson told reporters earlier in the week. “They work every day in practice. They’re constantly throwing and getting extra reps. We just got to keep shooting, keep throwing, and keep trying to find ways to get him the football.”

Regardless of whether it’s chemistry or something completely unrelated, Foles almost looked hesitant on Christmas Day. He wasn’t scanning the field with a calmness and poise saw him rip the Giants to shreds. Because of this, Foles appeared to fall into comfort zones, relying on the safety blanket of Zach Ertz, who was targeted a team-leading 14 times.

What has made the Eagles offense so dangerous this year has been their ability to spread the ball around and make every receiver a legitimate threat. They have to get back to basics if they are to make the most of a Road to the Super Bowl that runs through the City of Brotherly Love. But this was certainly not on Alshon Jeffery.