Wallace Believes Receivers Will Jell, Eagles Hedging Their Bets
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Everything the Eagles have done since the season-opening win against Atlanta foreshadows a need at outside receiver with Alshon Jeffery still on the mend from offseason surgery and Mack Hollins on injured reserve.
Philadelphia attempted to power through against the Falcons without changing its core offensive principles and used 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three receivers) against the Falcons 74 percent of the time, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Nelson Agholor predictably got the most playing time with 68 snaps followed by Mike Wallace with 66. The surprise was DeAndre Carter getting on the field for 53 offensive snaps. Shelton Gibson (four reps) and Markus Wheaton (two snaps) saw minimal playing time.
"It's based on kind of how we go into each game. It's not a match-up thing or anything like that," Pederson said when discussing Carter's playing time at his Friday press conference. "It's just that DeAndre right now is more of an inside receiver and Shelton is more of an outside guy. We moved [WR] Nelson [Agholor] outside a little bit more in this game, which allowed for DeAndre to play. And then we put DeAndre at the point where he was having to block safeties and -- he does a nice job there. It was a little bit by scheme, but also the way the game kind of played out."
The plan was not all that successful, however, as PFF tallied the Eagles as "winning" 28 percent of the plays when they were in 11 personnel against Atlanta. Philadelphia 'lost' 49 percent of the time and 23 percent were graded as a wash.
Agholor, who has proven effective in the slot but has struggled as an outside receiver, snared eight receptions against the Falcons but managed just 33 yards, a dismal 4.1 yards-per-catch. The only other receiver to catch a pass was Carter, who had one reception for 10 yards.
Mike Wallace, the deep threat, was targeted three times but didn't catch a pass as Nick Foles struggled to push the football down the field.
Of the 86 receivers who have been graded by ProFootballFocus.com heading into Monday night's games, Agholor was 34th, Carter was No. 57 and Wallace came in at 82nd.
After the game, Foles called Wallace over to his locker and seemed to be taking the blame for failing to get the veteran the football.
On Monday the affable Wallace preached patience.
“I think we’ll be fine,” said Wallace. “... I’ve been playing for a long time. I’m not panicking over one game. We’ll be fine. I think those big plays will come from everybody. No one had the big plays they want. Not myself, not Nellie, Not (Zach) Ertz. It's one game, we won, that’s all that matters.”
Winning is the ultimate goal and the Eagles are one-for-one but the machinations behind the scenes indicate the organization is not happy with the position.
On Monday the Eagles signed three different receivers to the practice squad: former Houston third-round pick Braxton Miller as well as Reggie Davis and Dorren Miller.
Meanwhile, the team is working out two former first-round picks: Breshad Perriman and Corey Coleman, as well as Kamar Aiken, who has been with the Eagles over the summer.
“It’s been a lot of guys in and out throughout training camp, a lot of guys down, a lot of guys up,” Wallace explained. “It’s a timing thing. We’ve been all over the places as far as players consistently, me working with Nick (Foles), Nellie working with Nick, whoever. I’ve been out of practice, Nellie’s been out of practice, Nick’s been out of practice.
“We’ve been all over. We’ll jell."
The Eagles are hedging their bets on that.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen