Eagles Finally Find a Role for Jeffery in Win Over Rams
There have been plenty of questions about Doug Pederson's offense this season. At the top of that list might be the way the team has used wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.
It didn’t help matters that Jeffery was sidelined for three games because of a torn rotator cuff, causing him to miss training camp and the preseason.
But Jeffery had been healthy for several weeks and after a fast start to the season, he has seemingly been phased out of the offense, until last night. Jeffery's role changed in the Eagles’ 30-23 victory over the LA Rams on Sunday Night.
Jeffery finished with 160 yards on eight catches on eight targets.
The 160 yards was the third highest of his career, eclipsed only by a 218 and 249 yard outing during the 2013 season with the Bears, a lot of that came from Nick Foles willingness to take a few shots down the field.
"I don't think we took any more than normal," Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said on Tuesday when asked if the offense to more shots down the field.
"We connected on obviously a few of those plays to Alshon down the field, which made a big difference in the game. We always try to be aggressive and push the ball down the field and we were able to connect the other night, which was really helpful. We didn't have to drive 12 plays to score. We were able to shorten the drives."
Giving Jeffery the chance to make more plays in the offense makes perfect sense, and could be exactly what the team needs to make a late run into the NFC playoff field.
However, Jeffery wasn’t the only contributor in the game on Sunday.Running back Wendell Smallwood was pressed into duty and rushed 10 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles beat the Rams in Los Angeles.
"I thought he showed really good vision and patience in the running game," Groh explained.
"He was able to break some tackles. So, he has some speed now, he just hasn't gotten all the way out there on the edge to break a long one, but you can see the speed through the hole. He's patient to it and you can see the burst through the hole, he's running behind his pads and pushing the pile. It was a really good night for him."
"Wendell is a true pro and he is ready when his number is called and he's really been that way throughout the entire season," Groh continued. "Not only that, just saying, well, he knows what to do. He's been really effective, when he's had the opportunity, he's made plays and he's been a reason why we've been able to win games. So it's a real credit to him. He did a great job the other night and obviously getting in the end zone a couple times was huge."
If the Eagles offense can continue to get production from the entire offense, they might be able to get some more consistency and sneak their way into the playoffs.