Doug Pederson spoke with the media on Tuesday to discuss what the future looks like for his team in such an uncertain time. One of the questions asked was focused on first-round pick Jalen Reagor and his role in the offense. Pederson’s response was very intriguing:
It’s the hardest thing we are dealing with our younger players is not having the grass time in the off-season with phase two and phase three.
But right now, he’s going to come in and he’s going to learn one position and he is going to learn from [WR] DeSean Jackson, and learn everything he can. Obviously the playbook is extensive and we just have to see what he’s taken from the off-season to training camp, and then once we see his potential and his growth, then we can use him in multiple spots.
But one of the things that all of our receivers really have the capability of doing is moving inside, whether they are an outside guy going inside or an inside guy going outside.
We’ll keep him at one position to start and we’ll grow from there.
There are several layers to dissect here.
Not letting history repeat itself
In the space of three months, former Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh had blamed ‘wearing too many hats’ for Nelson Agholor’s struggles, and insisted on making JJ Arcega-Whiteside learn the playbook from every WR spot, significantly hindering his rookie season.
While this probably isn’t the direct reason for Pederson’s new approach, it’s at least worth noting the contrast. It likely has far more to do with the fact that OTA’s are non-existent and Training Camp could be a journey into the unknown, making it very difficult to develop rookies and get them ready for regular-season action.
Reagor won’t be overloaded with information here and that can only be seen as a good thing.
A strong mentor
Could you ask for a better mentor than one of the best deep-threats in the game? DeSean Jackson knows exactly what it takes to be an Eagle, and he’s the man who holds several of the rookie records that Reagor will undoubtedly be chasing in 2020.
If he’s learning under D-Jax, it does also hint that he’ll be playing primarily from the Z position. If the Eagles want to field both receivers at the same time, expect D-Jax to slide into the slot, an area in which he has thrived both with the Eagles (week one last year) and Tampa Bay.
Marquise Goodwin will probably be the primary slot option, with Reagor starting behind Jackson on the depth chart in the vein that Sanders was behind Howard prior to the baton being passed at running back last season.
It’s also probably a clear indication that the Eagles are keeping their predicated roles on offense of an X, Y, and Z receiver – meaning J.J Arcega-Whiteside will play a key role. This also explains Pederson’s intent to double down on Alshon Jeffery.
I was taught a simple acronym in English class as a kid – K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. Doug Pederson appears to be following that rule this time round.
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports