By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The stat sheets show that DeSean Jackson played two games so far this year, but if you watched the games, you know that isn’t true.
After lighting things up against the Redskins, the Jackson had a setback with his abdominal injury in warm-ups prior to the Falcons game and he played just a handful of snaps hoping tht he could play.
He couldn’t. And now the Eagles have missed their lone deep threat for six straight games. That’s a third of the season. He was planning to be back week five, then week seven and now he hopes to play against the Bills this week. He did not practice Wednesday.
If he can’t play against the Bills, Jackson will play the least amount of games in a season he has in his entire career, matching his 2015 total of 10 if he plays every game after that. That’s if you consider the handful of snaps he played in week two as a game played.
The Eagles need to do something as the 32-year-old receiver may suffer even further setbacks and could suddenly not be able to play again before another game.
Even if they bring in someone for a week or two as a stop-gap, a move should be made. By Friday, the team will know if Jackson will be ruled out or not, and they should be prepared to make a move if he is.
Alshon Jeffery has been playing beat up and lacks the speed he had in years past. Nelson Ahgolor has dropped more deep balls thrown to him than any other receiver in the league. Mack Hollins has barely been targeted and has not gotten open downfield. JJ Arcega-Whiteside has not played since Jeffery’s return, but his only deep target was a dropped pass to lose the game.
If they want to open up Ertz, Jeffery and Goedert in the short field, they will need to stretch it with someone. They will only get that by adding someone to the roster unless there is suddenly a massive improvement in someone already on the roster.
Of course, there are plenty of other options out there and many more that the team could grab if they are willing to part with picks. If they don’t trade away draft assets for a player on an expiring deal and do not want to part with high picks for a controllable player, there are a couple players the Eagles could sign to address this issue that have previous experience with the team and the offense.
Wallace was supposed to be the deep threat last season before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week two. Like DeSean Jackson being injured in week two, Wallace was expected back later in the season. He did return to the 53-man roster, but was inactive for each game after that.
Wallace went unsigned and the 33-year-old may be calling it a career soon, but he has not officially announced anything and might be open to joining the struggling Eagles.
Since he spent the 2018 preseason playing with the team, he could pick up the offense fairly easily and already has relationships with many of the players on the team.
Maybe his ankle injury did not heal well, but there isn’t much reason for the Eagles to not try him out and see if he can have some success again. Because of his age, this would be a move that wouldn’t cost much and would be done as a win-now option that would almost certainly not mean anything for the future.
If the team is concerned with the future and are willing to take a chance on something that might not be as successful initially, but could alleviate problems in the future, they could choose to promote Robert Davis from the practice squad.
Davis was cut by the Redskins following some injury issues and has been on the Eagles practice squad for a little over two weeks now.
Davis came out of the Sun-Belt conference, but at Georgia State, he made 222 catches with an average yards per catch of 15.3. He also had 17 touchdowns.
At the combine, he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash, but was also a top performer in the vertical jump, broad jump and bench press among the wide receivers.
Davis has just one catch for 11 yards since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 draft, but he also has not been given many snaps.
The Eagles may give him a chance to stretch the field in some games – he can’t be worse than what they’ve been playing with.
Michel averaged 16.9 yards per catch with 72 receptions in his two seasons in the CFL. He also won a title and was nominated for the CFL West Division Rookie of the Year award during the 2017 season.
He gave up a pretty good thing to come here and had to consider whether he would do so before signing with the Eagles, but like fellow CFL star Alex Singleton, decided to take a shot at cracking the NFL.
Michel runs a 4.63 40-yard dash and showed of that speed in the Eagles first preseason game with a 75-yard touchdown reception. Unfortunately, he wasn’t heard from much after that.
He previously told NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt that Carson Wentz was so good, “As a receiver, you could put a blindfold on, put your hands up and the ball is probably gonna hit you in your hands”. Not necessarily a surprise for a team with so many drops, but amusing at the least.
Could the Eagles give him another opportunity to work with Wentz and get some targets downfield?
Gibson is currently signed to the Browns practice squad and is probably the least likely of these four free agents to be brought in.
Originally drafted by the Eagles, Gibson spent the 2018 season on the 53-man roster as the deep threat behind Mike Wallace. Then Mike Wallace got hurt and Gibson just became the guy who couldn’t get on the field.
His 4.5 time manifested itself just once as he made a 48-yard reception that did not even go for a touchdown. Not at all what the Eagles were hoping to get from him when they drafted him in the 2017 draft.