The Philadelphia Eagles could be carrying a seriously banged-up receiving corps into Sunday’s matchup with the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field.
Eagles No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury, putting his status for this Super Bowl LII rematch in doubt. Philadelphia also is without veteran speedster DeSean Jackson, who was placed on injured reserve last week.
If Jeffery is unavailable, the Eagles’ options at wideout against the Patriots would be Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins and rookie J.J. Arcega Whiteside.
Agholor leads that group with 32 catches on 54 targets for 282 yards and three touchdowns in nine games this season. Hollins has 10 catches on 21 targets for 125 yards and no scores, Arcega-Whiteside has two on seven targets for 14 yards, and Matthews, who’s now in his third go-round with the Eagles after signing this week, hasn’t caught a pass all season.
Agholor, Hollins and Arcega-Whiteside have combined to catch just 53.7 percent of their targets from quarterback Carson Wentz.
Fortunately for Eagles coach Doug Pederson, his offense is not overly reliant on wide receivers. Philadelphia utilizes more two-tight end sets than any team in the NFL with Zach Ertz (46-527-2 this season) and Dallas Goedert (21-221-3), and running back Miles Sanders has emerged as a viable receiving threat in his first pro season.
“The two types of tight ends they have, both those guys are 4.7, 4.6 guys,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said Wednesday. “They run great routes, they split out wide. Whether you call it 12 (personnel) with two tight ends, or is it 11 with three receivers, they have that kind of versatility. … Because of their size and their skill set, they’re able to do a lot of different things from a versatility standpoint that you don’t see from a bunch of teams.”