Philadelphia Eagles WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside ready to put 2019 behind him

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

‘JJAW’ is ready for Year 2 with these Philadelphia Eagles. Write it down.

Perhaps the greatest asset a young NFL star can possess is a short memory. Those Philadelphia Eagles fans that condemn Jalen Mills for being beaten on a play and then wagging his finger two series later after an incompletion is thrown that he had nothing to do with forcing shouldn’t beat him up too much. You see, that’s how the ‘Green Goblin’ keeps himself in the game. It also fires up his teammates, regardless of what side of the ball they play on.

Here’s something all ‘Birds’ fans can agree on. There were times, in 2019, when it looked like then-rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside looked like he needed someone to light a fire under him. Much was expected of the second of the team’s two draft choices in Round 2 of 2019’s draft, but calling his rookie campaign a ‘disappointment’ would be the understatement of the decade.

Once the curtain closed on the regular season, the ‘Birds’ had gotten ten receptions, 169 receiving yards, and a single trip to the end zone out of the man that they eschewed D.K. Metcalf for. That isn’t what you want from one of your skill players when the team desperately needed the best efforts from them.

Expect ’19’ to excel with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020.

The cause of the lack of success ‘JJAW’ experienced as a rookie has led to finger-pointing and several theories. ‘He can’t play’ and ‘Carson Walch sucked’ being among the most popular. That second one makes a ton of sense.

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Mike Groh was a horrific offensive coordinator, but he was a fairly decent wide receivers coach, probably the best of Doug Pederson’s era, at least until now (Aaron Moorehead is going to be good). Walch may have been the worst. Coming into 2020, there’s a new sense of pride and purpose with these Eagles receivers. DeSean Jackson is healthy. The Eagles have infused a ton of energy into the entire offense, and Alshon Jeffery will be back at some point.

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’17’ was one of Arcega-Whiteside’s idols coming in. Now, there are questions about what the latter’s role is coming into 2020. Will he fill the void left by the man he actually drew comparisons to? How successful can ’19’ be after stinking it up, so to speak, in Year 1? The now-second-year, six-foot-two and 225-pound prospect seems to be up to the challenge as he’s ready to put his rookie campaign behind him.

‘I wasn’t good enough’, he explained as he sat with several members of the Philly media after another day of Eagles camp. Here’s a little more of what he had to say:

"That just happens to some people. Some people get in the NFL, things are moving fast, and it’s hard to keep up. Some people ball out their first year. I look back at it and I’m like I’m not even the same guy, so I’m not even going to worry about what happened last year… Around this time last year, I’m trying to learn all of the plays, learn how they’re getting done, try to find chemistry with Carson (Wentz)… (the) second time around, shoot, I hate to say that I know all of the plays because obviously there’s going to be a day or two where I have a mental error, but I’m pretty confident in the plays."

By nature, ‘JJAW’ is really a quiet guy. He won’t celebrate after every play. He won’t wag his finger like Mills. The guy is just different, and actually, it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s hard not to cheer for this guy, but as confident as some people still are in him, it doesn’t compare to how confident that he is in himself.

"I don’t go into practice with the script in my hand trying to memorize the plays that I have. I’m in the huddle, you call the play, I know what I got to do. Now I can play faster, I can play more confidently, and show everybody what I can do instead of trying to do the right thing."

Let’s hope this works. Fingers are crossed. Then again, what other choice do you have if you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan? This guy is a second-round draft choice. Hope is out of the window at this point. This has to work.