Before Jeremy Maclin even emerged from the Novacare Complex MRI tube on Satuday afternoon, Philadelphia Eagles fans already began clamoring with questions about how the team plans to replace the four-year veteran wide receiver.
Maclin’s prognosis was not a good one. A torn ACL in his right knee as a result of a non-contact injury on the practice field at Eagles training camp at the Novacare Complex. The injury is particularly disappointing for the Eagles’ 2009 first-round draft choice because he was entering the final year of his rookie contract and eyed an extension by year’s end.
For Maclin, 2013 is a lost opportunity to cash in, and for the team, it is a void that must be filled in Chip Kelly‘s high-octane offense.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman addressed the media Sunday morning at Lincoln Financial Field prior to the team’s first open practice of this training camp and suggested that a move is far from imminent to replace one of the team’s top receivers.
“We have a lot of faith in our skill position group as a whole, and that’s kind of how we look at it,” Roseman said. “Obviously, at the tight end group we brought in some guys — talking about James Casey and Zach Ertz, drafting him (in the second round) as well. Some of our younger guys that are on the roster that we felt could make a little bit of a jump in this offense.”
While the Eagles likely will scour the waiver wire for wide receivers between now and the start of the season, it is far more likely that tight ends Ertz and Casey — who have both impressed in early camp workouts — will shoulder a larger load in Maclin’s absence.
Elsewhere, Maclin’s injury opens the door for Riley Cooper, who took the remainder of Maclin’s practice snaps on Saturday and saw increased playing time after DeSean Jackson suffered an injury last season. The door is also now open for receivers such as Ifeanyi Momah, Russell Sheppard and Damaris Johnson to see an expanded role this season.
Maclin chose not to hold out prior to training camp and said Thursday that he intended to earn his new deal on the field. That is a move Roseman endorsed Sunday.
“Jeremy did all the right things,” Roseman said. “”When you look at the history of guys who have held out, things don’t necessarily work out for those guys, too. we care a lot about Jeremy Maclin.”
The Eagles seem poised to move forward at the receiver position by promoting within. Only time will tell if that is the right move.
-All Quotes obtained first hand.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.