Losing WR Jeremy Maclin was a devastating blow and will be costly for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Maclin was a leader on and off the field and was the best overall receiver on the Eagles roster. But the Eagles need to move on, and someone on that offense needs to step up their game. Players like Damaris Johnson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, and Arrelious Benn are just a few that need to step up to fill the role of Maclin. These players are not on the same level as Maclin is as far as talent is concerned, but they definitely need to improve on what they did a season ago to help this team win.
Now a guy like DeSean Jackson is more important to this offense with Maclin gone. Jackson had a down year last season and must prove to the organization he is worthy of the five-year nearly $50 million contract he signed prior to the 2012 season. Whether it’s in the passing game or in the return game, he needs to get across the goal line much more this season.
The tight ends also need to have a solid year. Brent Celek, James Casey, and rookie Zach Ertz should all be able to have a significant role in the new Eagles offense under Chip Kelly. All three tight ends have something they bring to the table and will be used according to their strengths. Celek is the iron man veteran that will do whatever is asked of him and will give you 100 percent on every play. Casey is the sure handed guy who will be used a lot on third down, and Ertz is probably the best tight end route-runner who can create separation from the defender. Also look for Ertz to be used heavily in the red zone, a place where the Eagles have struggled tremendously in years past.
So when you’re looking at the Eagles’ offensive weapons on paper, it looks good. They have play-makers all over the field and should be able to score points despite losing Maclin for the season. As I said previously, Jackson needs to have a Pro Bowl year, especially now that he is the go to guy at the wide receiver position. However, I believe Kelly will base the passing game heavily on the tight ends. The Eagles have a special group of tight ends who can get first downs and touchdowns.
The loss of a guy like Maclin is a tough pill to swallow, but by looking at the personnel the Eagles have, it’s hard to say they will struggle to find a play-maker on offense.
Sonny Bryan is a Philadelphia Eagles writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SonnyBryan50