Morning Wood: The Eagles are Repeating History

Mark J. Giannone

What was the biggest gripe just about every Eagles fan had during Donovan McNabb’s tenure as the team’s quarterback? NO DAMN RECEIVERS! Year after year we watched Joe Banner and Andy Reid try to piece together a receiving corps with a collection of scrub players. In ten years with the team the Eagles front office managed to give McNabb two stud receiving options, Terrell Owens and Brian Westbrook…who was a running back. Fans will forever be haunted by names like Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, Reggie Brown, and Kevin Curtis. I hope everyone was able to keep their breakfast down after reading those names. If it wasn’t for great coaching, the play of McNabb and a shit ton of Pro-Bowlers on defense the winningest era in Eagles history would of never happened.

Fast Forward about a decade and here we are experiencing the same bullshit, but this time with Carson Wentz. I’m a fan of what Howie Roseman has done to improve the defense this offseason. But lets be honest the man has dropped the ball big time in improving the offense and giving Wentz viable NFL talent to toss the ball too. I mean Roseman was the one calling dudes off the practice squad from because they didn’t have the depth to cover the mass of injuries they ran into. Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell you the injuries weren’t a big deal and it would be hard for any team to overcome what he Eagles went through. The issue here is home grown players like Nelson Agholor and JJ Arcega-Whiteside weren’t good enough as high round draft picks to make up for what the team lost.

The Eagles are right back into the ways of old when Banner was running the show. They wont spend on top free agents, as we’ve seen all offseason, and have a glaring inability to draft them. For the Eagles brass to look at how bad things got last year and how JJ, a second round pick, was barely getting used or producing even when things were at their worst is and then turn around this offseason and do nothing to add anyone is appalling. I’m not saying they needed to make a huge splash and bring in a high priced free agent like Amari Cooper, because ultimately you don’t need an elite top 10 receiver to win a super bowl. As we saw when they won the damn thing in 2017. HOWEVER, you do need good experienced receivers to win it. No one would ever argue Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are elite receivers, but they were good enough to give Carson a target to rely on in games.

So as it stands right now the Eagles will go into the 2020 season with the following rag tag group of pass catchers. Desean Jackson, who will undoubtedly miss games at some point. Greg Ward, who spent most of last season on the practice squad, but did show promise down the stretch. A rookie, who honestly if it’s not one of the top three guys in the draft will probably be a reach at a second tier guy. Also Alshon Jeffery who will likely miss significant time with the injury that ended his 2019. Jackson is the most concerning to me because I know Doug Pederson and the coaching staff is gonna convince themselves that he will be healthy all season and will most likely tailor a large part of their offense to him just like they did last season. Here’s the obvious problem with that. Jackson is a 32 year old whos coming off an abdominal injury that held him out of all but two games last season, and he has only played all sixteen games TWICE in his career. When he’s healthy he is a lethal weapon for the team, but he just cant be relied on as your number one or two receiver.

If Pederson doesn’t have a deep threat like Jackson or Torrey Smith like he did in 2017 his offense is as stale as 3 week old bread. Everything they run is within fifteen yards and they have no explosiveness to threaten other teams with. I know in my soul Doug is going to drool over the idea of Jackson and when he loses him the offense will be lost. Roseman could have fixed that by bringing in Robbie Anderson or Breshad Perriman who were both signed by other teams to very manageable contracts this past week, but he chose not to. After he said earlier this offseason that his main priority was to give Wentz weapons he stood pat as big names got traded and smaller names that would have improved the team and given Wentz someone on the outside to trust signed with other teams.

The birds are doing the same dumb shit to Wentz that they did to McNabb and are going to end up wasting his prime if they can’t fix their drafting problems. I don’t need to sit here and tell you Roseman’s misses in drafting playmakers because you already know the names. Howie has a chance to end that stigma about him this year in the draft and take an absolute stud in the first round. Given how things went last year he basically no choice but to do whatever it takes to land Ruggs, Lamb or Jeudy. He wants young receivers to grow with Wentz well here’s his chance to sack up and get his boy a real player and not someone he’s going to try to outsmart everyone by reaching for.

I hope Howie has a hard time sleeping every night because he is feeling immense pressure to get the draft right. This draft can make or break the Eagles organization for the next three years. If they get it right and give Carson a weapon they will have as good a chance as any other team to win the Super Bowl over the next few seasons. If they get it wrong, again, they will have wasted another season of their start QB’s career and we will be bitching about the same problems this time next year.

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