The Philadelphia Eagles may already be employing that next-man-up mentality.
Maybe it’s some sort of weird karma that developed after the “Body Bag Game”. Maybe it’s just the result of playing in a rough sport. Whatever it is, one thing is certain. The injury bug doesn’t just bite the Philadelphia Eagles from time to time. It’s built a nest at Lincoln Financial Field.
How else can this team just continue to watch Joe Ostman get hurt at an open practice or watch body after body get carted off year after year?
It’s only July, and already, the Eagles figure to look totally different at wide receiver than we originally planned. A week ago, it felt like all roads led to John Hightower winding up on the practice squad. One week later, you can argue that he could challenge for a starting position.
Somebody throw another quarter in this Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver carousel.
Most of us figured that Philly would carry six wide receivers on the final 53-man roster. You’re probably one of those “Birds” fans that have already figured out who they were. Of course, DeSean Jackson was in. So was Philly’s first-round selection of 2020’s NFL Draft, Jalen Reagor. Marquise Goodwin was making the squad as was JJ Arcega-Whiteside, last year’s second-round selection, and the hardworking Greg Ward. It seems wrong to cut Ward again at this point, doesn’t it?
Alshon Jeffery was another of those roster locks. Sure, he’d begin the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list, but he’s in once healthy. That meant two things. One, you have to ask who would fill in while he was gone, and second, the ceiling for both John Hightower and Quez Watkins, both Day 3 draftees, appeared to be the practice squad, right?
Fast forward to the present, and Jeffery is indeed on the PUP list. Goodwin’s opted out of the 2020 regular season, and yes, DeSean Jackson is a threat to get hurt just by putting his shoulder pads on. Don’t look now, but Watkins and Hightower could challenge for roster spots.
Recently, the latter spoke with several members of the Philly media, along with Shaun Bradley and John Hightower, and the rookies sound inspired. Nothing’s guaranteed to any of them, but know this. Mr. Hightower is ready whenever an opportunity presents itself.
"I don’t really know as far as like a timetable or anything. I just know that when they call my number I’m (just going to) be ready."
That time may be sooner than any of us originally expected. Philly carries three other wide receivers other than the ones previously named on the current roster. That includes undrafted rookie Manasseh Bailey, Deontay Burnett, and Robert Davis. You’d think the guys drafted have a leg up on anyone else, but again, it’s July. A lot needs to be worked out during camp.
As Hightower also stated, newly added wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead and the other offensive coaches will need to figure out the rotation in practice with reps, but the rookie has been familiarizing himself with everything that each receiver on the field should be doing. He’ll no doubt be ready when the time comes.