When the Philadelphia Eagles lost starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in July to a season-ending ACL injury, longtime Eagles veteran wideout Jason Avant was expected to help pick up the slack. Yet, through ten weeks of the 2013 season, Avant is a forgotten man in this high-octane offense.
The eight-year veteran out of Michigan has never been the Eagle’s number one receiver. But Avant is coming off his best statical year in 2012 when he made a career-high 53 receptions as the team’s third wideout. With the loss of Maclin, Avant had an opportunity to strive for even better numbers this season. Instead, he’s recorded just 27 catches on 56 targets with more than half the year already over.
Part of his problem has been the chemistry with back-up quarterback Nick Foles. With Foles at the helm, Avant has had his worst games this season. In Week Seven against the Cowboys, he had just three receptions on 12 targets. A lot of those misses were due to Foles’ inaccuracy. Yet, just two weeks later, Avant didn’t record a single catch in the quarterback’s record-setting seven touchdown, 406 passing yard performance against the Oakland Raiders.
In fact, Avant had his best day this season with quarterback Michael Vick as the starter. In Week Three against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, Avant recorded five catches for 87 yards and had the only Eagles touchdown in that 26-16 loss.
Fourth-year wideout Riley Cooper has become Foles’ favorite target in recent weeks. And the Eagles signed free agent receiver Brad Smith to the team on Tuesday. Although he’s expected to contribute primarily on special teams, Smith could dip into Avant’s playing time as well. So, it appears what was already a rough season for the veteran receiver, just got a little bit tougher. Avant is probably the one guy in the Eagles’ locker room hoping Vick get’s his starting job back when he returns from a hamstring injury.