The Need for Speed?

Posted: November 3rd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Back in the 2016 offseason, the Eagles weren’t sure what they had at WR. Nelson Agholor was coming off a disappointing rookie year, but most rookie receivers struggle so it was hard to accurately judge him. Jordan Matthews had posted major numbers, but they were somewhat inflated by playing in Chip Kelly’s no-huddle system.

The Eagles signed a pair of veteran free agents, hoping to find more speed. Chris Givens and T.J. Graham were both thought of as guys who could stretch the field. Both guys were disappointments and were cut.

In the 2017 offseason, the Eagles signed veteran Torrey Smith to be a vertical threat. The team drafted Mack Hollins for his size and speed. They drafted Shelton Gibson for his explosive ability. Smith had a disappointing season, averaging only 12 yards and scoring a pair of TDs. Hollins showed real potential, but was purely a role player. Gibson stood out on STs and did little on offense.

This past offseason, the Eagles traded Smith. They signed veteran Mike Wallace for his playmaking speed. They took a flyer on veteran Markus Wheaton, who had shown big play potential in the past.

Wallace disappointed in the summer and got hurt early this season. He didn’t even catch a pass. Wheaton didn’t make the team. Hollins was hurt during the summer and is currently on injured reserve. Gibson has played very little on offense. He only has one catch, but it did go for 48 yards.

The Eagles have spent a lot of time and effort to find vertical threats. They have not had much success at all.

On the flip side, the team signed Alshon Jeffery for his size, strength and physicality. He’s been terrific for the Eagles the past two years. Nelson Agholor moved to the slot in 2017 and thrived in his new role. Jordan Matthews was the team’s best receiver in 2016. He was traded away in the summer of 2017 and then re-signed this season. Matthews has become a good role player for this team, using his size and skill to make plays.

I was curious to see what the Eagles would do at the trade deadline. Would they go for a speedster?

We didn’t hear anything about DeSean Jackson. I’m sure the Eagles called, even if they were just curious about his availability. Tampa wasn’t dealing him anywhere.

There was a rumor that the Eagles talked to Denver about Demaryius Thomas. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Thomas isn’t much of a playmaker anymore. He’s had some issues with drops. If he was available for a late round pick, maybe. Houston gave up a 4th rounder for him. That shocked me.

The Eagles ended up trading for Golden Tate. He did run a 4.42 at the Combine when coming out, but Tate has never been considered a field stretcher. He was more of a vertical threat in Seattle than Detroit, but Tate has always been most dangerous with the ball in his hands.

I wonder if the Eagles dealt for him because he was the best player available or if they realized the struggles they have had with speedy receivers. We’ll get a better feel for the situation when the offseason comes and we see what the Eagles do at receiver.

Tate could have a really interesting impact on the Eagles.

If he can come in and play at a high level, the Eagles could decide to quit chasing speedy guys and focus more on versatile playmakers. I expect we are going to see Tate used a lot of different ways in the next eight games.

Backfield – I think the Eagles will have Tate line up as a RB at least a few times. You can hand him the football. You can fake to him and throw to someone else. You have throw him a screen pass or use him on a wheel route. There are a lot of possibilities. The key is that you must run him a time or two to make the defense honor that threat.

Jet – The Eagles use motion selectively, but this is perfect for Tate. You can hand him the ball on a jet sweep or end around. You can fake it to him to distract the defense. Because of Tate’s ability with the ball in his hands, the defense must pay attention.

Slot – Tate has been deadly in the slot over the past five years. He was a volume receiver for the Lions, moving the chains over and over. The Eagles won’t feed him the ball nearly as much, but they will expect him to come up big on third downs. The Eagles have thrown deep to Agholor with him in the slot so they could also do that with Tate. Just because you line up inside doesn’t mean you can’t go down the field.

Outside – The Eagles move everyone around. Jeffery, Agholor, Matthews and Tate will all play inside and outside. While Tate isn’t explosive, he does have good speed. He’s also a good route-runner. I think he’ll be able to make some plays on the outside. And if he catches the ball in space, those could turn into big plays.

This is going to be an interesting couple of months, for the Eagles and for Tate.


If Hollins can come back from his injury and help the offense, that might make the Eagles feel better about their development of deep receivers. He showed the ability to get deep last year.


We got some very sad news today.

All flags should be lowered to half mast.

I just hope Sam and his $129M in career earnings will be able to get through a trying time like this.

Godspeed, Sammy Sleeves.


Would the Eagles have interest? Possible. Irvin is a veteran pass rusher. At the same time, he’s been more of a LB/edge rusher. The Eagles could sign him and use him primarily in passing situations.

Irvin might prefer to go to a team that runs more of a hybrid defense. The Packers could use him. I could see the Rams having definite interest.

I doubt anything happens with the Eagles. We will find out more on Irvin’s situation on Monday or Tuesday.


One Comment on “The Need for Speed?”

  1. 1 daxi said at 11:11 PM on November 3rd, 2018: