Understanding Roles

Posted: May 11th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Understanding Roles

The focus in the offseason tends to be on big names. Fans want the Eagles to sign players they know. The mentality is something to the effect that “I’ve heard of him so he must be good.”

I get that. I thought that way when I was younger and didn’t really understand the importance of roles within a team.

Smart coaches and GMs build teams understanding that you aren’t just out there collecting talent. Chemistry and scheme fit are critical factors. You need a combination of the best players and the right players.

There was a lot of speculation recently about the Eagles and Leonard Fournette. Nothing came of it and I think that is a good thing. Fournette is a big, powerful runner, but he’s also a workhorse runner. He averages 18.5 carries per game for his career. The Eagles don’t need a workhorse. I don’t even know that they need a RB.

Hyde is 6-0, 229 and a physical, veteran RB. He would check a lot of boxes for the Eagles.


Freeman is 5-8, 206. He lacks ideal size, but packs a lot of punch. Freeman will lower his shoulder and knock the crap out of you.

Both players have been feature runners in their career. Both have also had success as part of a RB rotation. The Eagles aren’t looking to hand anyone 15 to 20 carries. Miles Sanders should get those touches. The Eagles could use someone to be a situational runner and to help out if Sanders is hurt. Both Hyde and Freeman would make sense.

They could sit on the sideline for a quarter before coming in and then find a way to be productive with a few touches. They don’t need a bunch of carries to get the job done. Fournette is a volume runner. He needs 18 carries to be at his best. Hyde and Freeman can be effective receivers. Both have experience at picking up the blitz.

Sanders will be the key RB this year. I think the Eagles want Boston Scott to get his share of touches, but they are probably afraid in relying on him too much. Guys who have breakout seasons do not always sustain that success. The team still likes Corey Clement and Elijah Holyfield as young guys with potential.

Still, they want to be careful about trusting the young guys too much. If you sign a veteran cheap, you let the RBs sort things out in practice and Training Camp (whatever that looks like this year). The goal is to find the right group of RBs. LeSean McCoy might go to the Hall of Fame. But is he a better player than Boston Scott right now? Forget about names and past glory. Find the right guys for the 2020 Eagles.


Keep this perspective in mind when talking about the Eagles WR corps this year. Too many people talk about how the Eagles can’t count on late picks like John Hightower and Quez Watkins to make much of an impact.

The Eagles aren’t counting on those guys.

Right now DeSean Jackson is projected to start outside. Greg Ward is projected to be in the slot. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside could be the other outside starter.

Clearly Jalen Reagor will have a chance to play a lot. The Eagles are counting on their first round pick to contribute. That doesn’t mean he’s got to start, but he needs to be part of the rotation and catch 35 passes (something in that neighborhood). If Reagor adjusts quickly, the Eagles will feed him the ball. You just can’t count on that.

Marquise Goodwin his here to push for a role. He’s another guy that can play and contribute.

The Eagles do need JJAW to improve. They need more than 10-169-1 out of him. He needs to at least triple that and get up in the 30’s.

The point here is that the Eagles didn’t add any elite workhorse receiver. They added guys who can contribute. They are bringing back young guys who can contribute. The passing game can be a success if the group of receivers gets the job done. No one has to play at a Pro Bowl level.

They do need the players to cut the number of drops and start making more plays. Just think about how different the Eagles season might have felt if Agholor catches that pass vs the Falcons and JJAW makes his catch against the Lions. That is two plays. Two bad drops. Two losses.

I would love it if a star WR would emerge, but the Eagles don’t have to have that. They just need to be better. WRs last year caught 146 passes. I would be shocked if the Eagles didn’t exceed that this season.

And Hightower and Watkins are both better athletes than what the Eagles, or other teams, are usually adding late in the draft. If one of them can emerge and push for playing time, that would help quite a bit.


I continue to leave Alshon Jeffery out of WR discussions. I don’t think he’ll be back.

But I sure don’t know.


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