I was never expecting the Eagles to have a very good season, or even an okay season. Actually, I’d be surprised if they won much more than four games this year. But their hopes just got a lot worse yesterday after WR Jeremy Maclin tore his right ACL in training camp. Without him, their receiving corps becomes even thinner than it was before. Since he was going to be one of the starters, it means that Jason Avant will likely move into that spot (starting along DeSean Jackson) while Riley Cooper moves up to the third receiver. That’s not a terrible trio of receivers, but it certainly doesn’t sound like the guys you’d want as your top three receivers. Considering the other receivers on the roster behind them are Arrelious Benn, Damaris Johnson, and Greg Salas, I’m starting to get worried about what they’re going to do now.
My hope is that they look to trade for someone to replace Maclin on the short term, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to keep the guys they have and deal with it. We already know that Chip Kelly is going to run the ball more, so maybe it won’t be that big of a deal if the receivers aren’t amazing. But still, especially if Nick Foles is the starting quarterback, it’s going to be hard for him to make stuff happen if he has such a limited group of guys that can catch the ball. With NFL secondaries getting better recently, it may be hard for the Eagles to pass the ball at all. They will have better TEs, but that won’t help them a whole lot outside of blocking.
The Eagles passed for just over 4,000 yards last year, and Maclin made up 857 of them. He was the team’s leading receiver and the only one to catch over 3 touchdown passes. Jackson will be back and hopefully helpful for the whole season, so he’ll pick up some of the slack. But who else is going to step up? Could Jason Avant be a 1,000 yard receiver next year? I think he definitely has a better chance now that Maclin is out, but I foresee the amount of passing yards for the team to also decrease; I’m thinking more of a total around 3,500 at the most if Kelly sticks to his gameplan. So the yards will be distributed elsewhere, but it’ll still be a challenge for the rest of the guys to step up and not have him on the field with them.