The Philadelphia Eagles need Greg Ward to improve in one specific stat.
Despite there being so many reasons to applaud Ward’s showing in 2020, believe it or not, he has to play better than he did last season. Sure, he caught 70 percent of the passes that were thrown in his direction, but his yards-per-reception average was lacking and it wouldn’t hurt if he got in the end zone more.
The Eagles already have a speedster in ‘D-Jax’, so Ward doesn’t necessarily need to stretch the field, but he could help this sometimes-stagnant offense move the ball down the field in bigger chunks. Philly was seriously lacking in big plays, and in 2019, Ward finished the season with a little over a nine yards-per-reception average. That’s extremely low, especially for a slot receiver who’s looked at as a possession receiver.
Robert Davis and Jordan Matthews were the only other receivers on Philly’s roster that averaged less. The former likely won’t make the team again in 2020. The latter is a free agent in search of a job. Heck, even Miles Sanders averaged ten yards per reception, he’s normally catching the ball out of the backfield.
The case can be made that Ward was thrown into the fire, but that wouldn’t account for the fact he had a similar yards-per-reception during his AFF tenure with the Commanders. In San Antonio, he averaged 9.72 yards per catch against a lower level of competition, so it’s uncertain how much he can improve and what his ceiling might be as a playmaker. It would be nice to see him get down the field though.
If Ward and these rookie Eagles receivers are unable to answer the call, ’84’ could go back to the bench, or even worse, Philly could part ways with him in the same manner that they have in previous seasons. Don’t give up hope though Eagles fans. There’s a lot to be excited about here. This isn’t Ward’s first rodeo, and he knows the drill well.