JJ Arcega-Whiteside: Weighing pros, cons prior to Philadelphia Eagles camp

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Here’s what Philadelphia Eagles fans should expect from the man we call “JJAW” in 2020.

Dealing with how to juggle practices and team activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the continued development of the Eagles’ younger receivers, so J.J. will have an opportunity early this season to get off to a good start. There is also still a small chance that we will see fans at Lincoln Finacial Field. That might really benefit JJAW’s confidence if the NFL’s most loyal fan base is there to cheer him on.

Despite all of the speed that the Eagles have added, they don’t exactly have a bona fide “X receiver”. Jeffery is expected to start the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, and while Jalen Reagor can play in multiple positions, the expectation is that he’ll start out at the “Z” or slot positions.

Philly’s coaches shouldn’t make things too complicated for him in his first year. DeSean Jackson and Marquise Goodwin could theoretically play the “X”, but that may not be what the coaches and Eagles fans want to hear. J.J. has a full year of experience over Reagor, and he’s more of a typical primary receiver at his size than Jackson and Goodwin. He’s six-foot-two and 225 pounds.

J.J. was also used at the primary, secondary, and slot positions last year, and that experiment failed big time. That may have helped lead to former offensive coordinator Mike Groh and former wide receivers coach Carson Walch both being fired. It’s clear from Arcega-Whiteside’s skillset that he should be played at the “X” position. That’s where he excelled at Stanford. In Year 1 as a pro, playing multiple positions did earn him more playing time, but it also hurt the team.

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The hope is that under new receivers coach Aaron Moorehead can help elevate “JJAW” in 2020. Last year, Jackson, Agholor, and Jeffery all went down with injuries. This season, everyone hopes Philly can stay healthy and JJ will be more prepared. Look for the Eagles to use their second-year man in specific situations. He’ll have his chance for a bounceback season, and he’ll get a decent number of snaps. He and Carson Wentz have been working to build chemistry, and hopefully, the hard work will pay off. If Arcega-Whiteside doesn’t produce this year, however, he may not be wearing the midnight green much longer.