Tonight the Philadelphia Eagles will play their first preseason game against the Chicago Bears without Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
Although that won’t be much of a problem in the preseason as these games are basically meaningless, but if Maclin or Cooper are to go down in the regular season for a stretch of two or three games, it could be problematic.
The Eagles got rid of DeSean Jackson in the offseason, who was by far the team’s best receiver. By doing so, the Eagles not only lost their best receiver and biggest deep threat, it also made a gaping hole in the depth at the position.
Experts such as Tim McManus have said quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t looked as sharp recently in camp, has had to check the ball down a lot, and has held on to the ball too long. Who can blame him, he is throwing to players such as B.J. Cunningham and Josh Huff, guys who likely won’t see a lot if time during the regular season.
This brings up the question If Maclin or Cooper go down, can we really count on Huff or Cunningham to man the outside and be a serious threat?
To expect these guys who are used to being the fourth and fifth receiver going up against the fourth and fifth defensive back to find success against the number one or two defensive back is just not realistic.
Head coach Chip Kelly is under the impression that he can plug anybody in his system and the Eagles will be fine. However, if Foles is throwing to guys that he is uncomfortable with, that won’t be the case. The chemistry between a quarterback and his receivers is a big part a group’s success.
Luckily for Foles he has guys like Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy to check the ball down to and a nice pair of receiving tight ends in Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. However you can only check the ball down so much before the defense eventually takes them away and forces the receivers to make a play.
The success of the offense and the team for that matter is on the shoulder of Foles, and for the Eagles starting quarterback to find success, he will need his receivers to stay healthy.
The Eagles got lucky and avoided the injury bug for the most part of last year. That may not be the case again this season, and if Cooper and/or Maclin go down, the Eagles could be in a world of trouble.
We’ll find out just how well Foles does without his top to guys tonight against a solid Bears defense, and how much of a problem the a absences of Maclin and Cooper really pose.
Tags: Philadelphia Eagles