With the beginning of training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles just days away, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the position battles that will be taking place throughout the next month or so. Up next we’ve got two starting spots at wide receiver up for grabs! Second-year wide receiver Jordan Matthews already has a spot locked up but what about the two outside spots?
There may not be a better way to describe a position battle than to compare them to old school professional wrestling matches, so at wide receiver, we’ve got a tag team match between two veterans and two young guns!
Up first we’ve got the Road Warriors! Two veterans in Miles Austin and Riley Cooper who most fans don’t want to see get much playing time on the field. But they aren’t going to go down without a fight…during training camp of course. At 31-years old, Austin doesn’t offer much on the field anymore but he was likely brought in to fill the leadership void left behind by the departure of Jeremy Maclin. The team’s younger wide receivers talked about how they leaned on “Mac” for guidance and Austin will fill that void.
Then there’s Cooper, who actually graded out as the worst wide receiver in the NFL for this past season, according to Pro Football Focus. He offers little to nothing as a receiver since he struggles to get any sort of separation while running routes. Even when Cooper is battling for a jump ball, he struggles to actually bring the ball in despite his size at 6-3, 222 pounds. That’s just sad and Cooper’s only use at this point is his blocking ability in the running game. If it wasn’t for the guaranteed money in his contract, Cooper would have likely been released this offseason.
Sadly, both Austin and Cooper could end up seeing the field in 2015 due to their veteran status. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has shown in the past that he wants younger players to earn their snaps before receiving them which may buy the veterans sometime. But once they’re ready to break out, the young guns will burst onto the scene. That’s right, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff are the Steiner Brothers!
There you have it, Agholor and Huff as the Steiner Brothers with Kelly interviewing them of course. While many are expecting the young, dynamic duo to start right from the beginning of the season, it likely won’t be that simple. Although he’s experienced and was considered one of the more pro ready rookies in the 2015 NFL Draft, Agholor will still have to earn his stripes and time on the field. We know all to well about rookie struggles after the performance Huff had this past season.
But Huff seems determined to erase this past season from fan’s minds and return as a complete different player in 2015. That includes a brand new jersey number as well, as he switched from #11 to #13. Hopefully that simple change won’t be the only difference when Huff hits the field this upcoming season. He has a ton of potential, especially after the catch and showcased that late in his rookie season. Yet for him to see steady snaps as a second-year receiver in Kelly’s offense, he’ll need to do so more consistently.
Although it may be tough to hear, it seems likely that we’ll have to deal with the veteran receivers for the beginning of the upcoming season while the young guns get acclimated. But watch out, once they’re ready and get their chance, they likely won’t be looking back anytime soon.
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