Philadelphia Eagles: 4 Ideas to improve their red zone offense

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

4. The Philadelphia Eagles must get ‘JJAW’ involved in the red zone.

Before you call this one outlandish or impossible, just hear this one out. At this point, every Eagles fan knows the other receivers that were on the board when general manager and vice president Howie Roseman picked J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of 2019’s NFL Draft. Nothing can be done about it, and at last glance, he’s still on this roster.

With that being said, while he still hasn’t lived up to his second-round billing, there could be some use for him in the red zone.

‘JJAW’ has indeed dropped a couple of potential touchdowns in his career, and he’s had his issues versus both man and zone coverage, but in the red zone, he has shown flashes of potential. Maybe he’s more comfortable with a smaller field to work with. He was known for coming down with contested catches while with the Stanford Cardinal, but Philadelphia hasn’t capitalized on that thus far. It might be worth a shot on first or second and goal just to give him a chance to high point the ball even if there’s little separation. Hakeem Butler doesn’t seem ready for that type of challenge yet.

It’s also worth noting that ‘JJAW’ has been open in his limited red zone snaps and is improving versus both man and zone. In Week 1, Zach Ertz scored a touchdown early in the game. What most fans didn’t see is that Wentz first looked at ‘JJAW’ who beat his man and was open in the middle of the end zone after attacking the defensive back’s outside leverage and then working inside.

One week later, Wentz threw a crucial interception during what was a great drive to that point versus the Los Angeles Rams. Arcega-Whiteside ran a decent route and then got a step on the cornerback. Wentz would’ve had him in the back of the end zone for an easy 21-yard touchdown. However, an overstride by QB1 and a wide base led to a throw behind ‘JJAW’ for a pick.

Versus Baltimore, there was a third and goal that ultimately ended in a roughing the passer. ‘JJAW’ lined up in the slot on the five-yard line, head faked outside, and then was wide open in the middle of the field but Wentz hesitated again and wasn’t willing to throw with anticipation. On the two-point conversion after the Jason Croom touchdown, ‘JJAW’ set a great pick route to allow Greg Ward to convert. Then, on the next two-point conversion, Arcega-Whiteside made a beautiful head fake on Marcus Peters and ran to the corner of the end zone for an easy conversion.

Most recently, on a first and ten from the fifteen-yard line versus the Giants, J.J. ran a post route on the boundary side of the field. He faked outside, planted his foot, and ran open to the open area in the middle of the field since it was Cover 2. Unfortunately, Wentz was under pressure and didn’t have the time to get it to him.

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These are just a few examples from the very few red zone snaps ‘JJAW’ has gotten. He’s begun to find holes in-between zone coverage much better in recent weeks even outside of the red zone. Plus, he’s shown that he can be a good run blocker which would be helpful right now in the red zone. If he doesn’t perform, the Eagles can at least say they gave it a shot but in the few opportunities he has gotten, he’s been open.