The Philadelphia Eagles have dealt with wide receiver drama the past two offseasons. In 2013, Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL and Riley Cooper made headlines when a video of him at a country music concert went viral. In 2014, they dealt with the release of leading receiver DeSean Jackson which caused waves around the NFL. Now hoping to have a more stable unit for the upcoming season, does rookie Jordan Matthews emerge as the new star?
After a full week of training camp, Matthews is earning rave reviews with the Philadelphia Eagles. The team needed an offensive star after the loss of Jackson and drafted the wide receiver out of Vanderbilt in the second round hoping he can develop into an offensive threat and quickly. According to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, so far Matthews is living up to the hype and expectations place upon him.
"He can play anywhere,'' Shurmur said, via Philly.com. "He's got size. He's good against bump-and-run coverage. His spacial awareness is good. There are different combinations of things that can happen when you're inside as opposed to outside. He kind of has a good feel for that. You've been able to see in camp that he's been able to get open and make plays."
Matthews will likely join a starting rotation that includes Maclin and Cooper. Maclin returns with a one-year contract after missing all of last season with a torn ACL. He looks healthy so far in training camp as the Eagles are keeping him on a limited snap count to ensure no setbacks. Cooper is coming off the best season of his career thanks to Maclin's injury. He put up 835 yards and eight touchdowns while showing strong chemistry with quarterback Nick Foles. The team rewarded him with a multi-year contract extension. While everyone has been impressed with the new core group of receivers so far in camp, it is the rookie making the most noise.
"A lot of guys, they think, 'OK, he's a rookie, he's trying to impress us.' But I say all the time, that's just who I am. ... If I don't catch the ball and run out the play, then I can't rest easy at night. I can't lay my head on my pillow and know that I gave my best. That's just who I am. That's the standard that I have for myself, and that's going to continue to be the way I practice and play each day," Matthews said, via CSNPhilly.com.
The improved wide receivers are needed as some NFL sources are saying Foles looks rusty to start camp. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Foles has not looked as sharp so far, missing several key and basic throws. Now, Eagles fans should put almost no stock into this considering it is the first week of training camp, but there is certainly some need for improvement and Foles must make adjustments quickly.