Maybe it’s too dramatic. Maybe the cinematic feel to all of it is just an Eagles fan’s hope that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I mean, who would’ve thought that we would be here right now? No wins, two losses, and a tie but somehow were still only a game back from first place in the NFC East. Emotions are high right now and the tension is thickening. The questions have fewer answers than they did last season but one thing has become certain from my point of view. The Eagles need Alshon Jeffery.
To be more specific, Carson Wentz needs Alshon Jeffery. After all that has transpired between the two, after all of the ‘Alshonymous’ comments, after the team trying to trade or cut him, it’s circled back around to needing his services arguably more than ever before.
There’s a slim chance that Jeffery is ready to go for Sunday. He returned to practice last week after starting the season on PUP and left a good impression on Doug Pederson.
“He came out of last week good. We’re going to ramp him up a little bit more this week, give him a little bit more this week, and we’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week.”
Alshon isn’t a speed threat but he is a deep one. The veteran has a unique catch radius that could help a quarterback who’s struggling to hit the mark. He can also do something that no other receiver on this team can do: win a 50/50 ball. That’s what JJAW was brought in to do but for that to happen, a ball needs to be thrown in his direction. There’s too much uncertainty with the second-year pro and Alshon is simply more talented than him at this point, even coming off of a serious foot injury.
Not only that, but the writing is on the wall for Jeffery too. He knows the team tried to shop him this offseason and that his contract has all but guaranteed the team will try to move on from him ASAP. If he can’t produce enough good tape to present to potential suitors, his career ceiling will begin falling at a rapid rate. Alshon Jeffery needs this just as much as the Eagles need Alshon Jeffery.
Can Alshon Jeffery save this team?
No, he can’t. But he can help his quarterback in a redemption tour. In 2017, Alshon caught 52 passes from Wentz for 732 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. He was a focal point for Wentz during the QB’s MVP caliber season. The former Bears wideout has also been the hands being some of Wentz’s biggest throws in the end zone, the receiver never gives up on the play no matter where Wentz is going. Alshon has a tendency of zeroing in on his QB’s every move which is something a true WR1 does.
What if it doesn’t help?
It will. There’s no doubt in my mind that the combo will work this time around. While there may be friction between both players, the fact of the matter is that they’re both very competitive. All they want to do is win. You can’t question Alshon’s work ethic when the man never seems to give up out there. He didn’t give up on the terrible loss against the Dolphins last season. He showed that he wouldn’t say die two years ago against the Rams. Lest we forget he played through the entirety of that iconic 2017 campaign with a torn rotator cuff.
The 30-year-old averaged 13 yards per reception in his first two seasons with the Eagles. Last season he averaged his lowest which was 11 but he also only played in 10 games. He may not be able to receive for over 1,000 yards this season, but his presence could bring balance and attitude to this offense. Imagine an offense with Alshon, Reagor, Jackson, Sanders, and Ertz.
It might not seem like it, but there are still so many different ways that this team could be opposing defense and no matter how Carson looks right now, the presence of a trustworthy receiver on the outside could honestly help right the ship.
If Carson has a player like Alshon on the outside, Reagor or Ward in the slot, Ertz in the middle, and Jackson on the opposite side, it could bode well for the QB’s confidence due to the level of talent on the field and the fact that all these players have the ability to create separation or win 50/50 catches. That’s the effect that one player can have on a struggling team with no identity.
While Alshon isn’t the savior, he’s necessary. He’s the necessary chaos that this team needs to create balance. There’s no attitude on this team, no swagger, no confidence, and no pride in this offense right now. All the attributes that Alshon Jeffery has shown to play with.
Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire
31 years old, Devoted Husband & Father, Eagles & Sixers Enthusiast. Co-Host of Flippin’ the Birds.
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