Despite losing Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn for the season with torn ACL injuries, the Philadelphia Eagles appear poised to enter the season with the players they currently have on the roster expanding their roles rather than look for a marquee outside addition.
Team sources indicate that head coach Chip Kelly and the coaching staff is confident in the players currently in camp. Kelly reiterated that mentality after Wednesday’s joint practice with the New England Patriots.
“It will be a man down, man up opportunity,” said Kelly. “We’re only going to have five wide receivers active on game day and we started today with eight healthy and finished with seven, so right now we have a luxury.”
Damaris Johnson could be a viable option at the second-receiver spot, but he left Wednesday’s practice early with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
Many fans have clamored for the team to bring in a receiver in the form of Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson in recent days. There simply is a zero percent chance that either one of those big name wideouts lands at the Novacare Complex, however.
The Eagles rash of injuries has left the team dangerously thin at the receiver position. If practice is any indication, Riley Cooper will likely line up opposite DeSean Jackson with either Zach Ertz or Jason Avant in the slot. Rookie Russell Shepard has impressed in camp and had another strong practice Wednesday. The LSU product took first-team reps in Cooper’s three day absence from practice.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to envision the Eagles adding a receiver or two in the next few days, however, they likely will look toward a young player released from another camp rather than a veteran presence at the position.
Kelly indicated Wednesday that the team is researching everything to determine what has caused the rash of torn ACL’s (Maclin, Benn and linebacker Jason Phillips) in the first three weeks of training camp, including the newly sodded practice fields.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.