McMullen: ‘Catching’ the Eagles Failed Plan at WR
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If the NFL was the political world, Carson Walch is a tailor-made fall guy.
The Eagles wide receivers coach is a mid-level operative paying for the sins of the more powerful in his running circle, in this case, Howie Roseman, the personnel department which has changed hands from Joe Douglas to Andy Weidl, Doug Pederson, and Mike Groh.
The Eagles situation at wide receiver is perhaps the worst in pro football. Those looking for cover can point to the stubbornness of DeSean Jackson and his unwillingness to address his core-muscle issue in a more proactive fashion or the nagging injuries that have turned Alshon Jeffery from difference-maker to competency, the latter still a huge upgrade over the other bodies the Eagles have been trotting out there ostensibly to "help" Carson Wentz.
Philadelphia's WR corps is so bad the organization brought Jordan Matthews back for a third tour and gave him 85 percent of the offensive snaps in the Week 11 17-10 setback to the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, who happen to have the best secondary in football.
The result for Matthews should have been an obvious one, one reception in six targets and all the separation fans get in the Lincoln Financial Field seats on game day.
Meanwhile, the "Unlike Agholor" viral narrative was only furthered when Wentz lofted perhaps his best pass of a poor day throwing the football to the end zone on a fourth-down play in the final quarter. The embattled fifth-year pro again tracked the football poorly, however, and stumbled awkwardly trying to haul in an over-the-shoulder catch that could have tied the game at 17.
As for the younger options who should be playing more despite their own deficiencies, Mack Hollins still hasn't caught a football since Septemeber and was essentially benched for Matthews despite grading out so well, according to Walch. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, a second-round pick in April, got a little more work after the bye week with 19 reps and hauled in a 29-yard reception in garbage time.
Walch will take the heat, almost surely the latest one-and-done receiver coach in the Pederson era after Greg Lewis, Groh and Gunter Brewer but blaming this mess on the low-level operative propped up as something more is tantamount to buying into what the organization wants you to believe in order to take the heat off where it belongs.
Quite simply this is a personnel issue sparked by poor evaluation followed by deference to veteran players who can't perform at the level needed to succeed in the NFL.
And you need to catch that ...unlike Agholor.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen