Jeffery Stopped by ‘Funky Coverages’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was shut out on Christmas night against the Oakland Raiders, failing to haul in a reception for the first time since his rookie season in Chicago on a minuscule two targets.
After the 19-10 win, which clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC for Philadelphia, Jeffery made a quick exit from the locker room and did not speak with reporters.
On Wednesday, however, the soft-spoken wideout was at his locker and explaining what went on against an Oakland defense that shadowed Jeffery with veteran Sean Smith on a night where the wind chill was in the teens due to 20 MPH gusts from the west.
"I wasn't frustrated at all," Jeffery said of his early exit on Monday. "I was in a rush. I had something I needed to do."
So what was the issue that whitewashed Jeffery on the stat sheet for the first time since he was a part-time player with the Bears as a rookie in 2012?
"I just think it was the coverages they were rolling," Jeffery said. "They had a couple of funky coverages they were rolling out there. I think it was more dictated by the coverages. As long as we get the win, that's all that matters to me."
Jeffery, who signed a one-year, prove-it deal as a free agent in the offseason, had largely done exactly that when Carson Wentz was piloting the Eagles offense, although the chemistry between the two was a work in progress throughout the year until ramping up in the second half of the campaign.
Back on Dec. 2 the Eagles rewarded Jeffery with a four-year extension with $27 million of guaranteed money to be Wentz's WR1 but the Eagles' star QB went down eight days later with a torn ACL suffered in Los Angeles against the Rams.
Now Jeffery is trying to get on the same page as Foles and the results weren't terrible against the New York Giants with four receptions for 49 yards and a TD before shortcircuiting vs. the Raiders.
And that could mean more playing time for both in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Dallas Cowboys.
"Whatever coach decides, we'll roll with that," Jeffery said. "It's not difficult [to build chemistry]. In that Giants game, you weren't asking me [about his rapport with Foles]. ... It's the way the game plays. It's the NFL."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen