The recent news about the Philadelphia Eagles resigning of Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin raises some interesting questions. How does a guy like Jason Avant fit into a crowded wide receiver field? Is it time to move on from DeSean Jackson? If you’re on the lower end of the receiver totem pole, the answer might simply be reduced playing time, or none at all. But the situation makes sense for the Birds, who try to improve on their worst-to-first campaign of 2013. The Birds’ strategy this year appears to try to keep as many birds close to the nest as possible. Having a strong and consistent set of cogs on the offense allowed General Manager Howie Roseman to aggressively attack the defense in the draft, and improve on an area that the Birds need if they ever hope to keep playing in February.
The Cooper signing didn’t come as a bad surprise. Aside from his off-the-field issue regarding the use of a racial slur, his football performance stood for itself. He used the past season as a canvas to showcase his abilities. With veteran leaders like Quarterback Michael Vick to help the team navigate the racial issue, the chemistry with starting Quarterback Nick Foles allowed Cooper to excel. This year, he comes in as a bonafide talent with an opportunity to take his game even higher.
On Maclin, you have a formerly reliable talent who has gone through a mystery illness a few seasons ago, to a torn ACL prior to this past season. We’ve seen examples of rapid ACL returns (see Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson), but all signs point to a strong return for Jeremy. When he is healthy, he provided a solid midfield threat with enough explosiveness to pull off a long gain. He doesn’t have the backbreaking speed that a DeSean Jackson does, but he’s got a bigger and more durable frame. Expect to see Maclin as a featured receiver as the Eagles begin their 2014 season.
The overall offensive makeup looks to bring back most of the starting pieces from last year. Quarterback, Offensive Line, Running Back, Wide Receiver, with Tight End being the only position with a small question mark. With all eyes on the draft, filling a tight end need knowing you have a talent like Brent Celek is a great problem to have. The offense should get even better this year, and give the defense an opportunity to gel once again with some new (and much needed) pieces. This is shaping up to be another exciting year for the Eagles.