Carson Wentz went out of his way to bond with teammates in the offseason. One of his top receivers wasn’t interested in hanging out.
Wentz had no doubt heard the rumors that he was aloof and selfish, two traits that aren’t good looks for a franchise quarterback. In July, he decided to fly several Eagles pass-catchers down to his brand new home in Houston. The trip was to serve as a team-bonding exercise and allow the group to work on their on-field chemistry, as well as get to know one another as people.
There was grilling, water sports, hunting and plenty of Waffle House. Dallas Goedert confirmed the trip was a great way to make a more personal connection with his quarterback.
“He flew the skill guys out there so we were down there a few days last week, ran routes in the morning, hung out at his house by the pool, took his jetskis out, played bags, just spent time together,” Goedert told Matt Zimmer at the time. “It was fun getting to hang out with the offensive guys on a personal level, just being boys instead of the three hours of practice we’re used to.”
Goedert, Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson and Greg Ward were all confirmed attendees. One surprising name was mysteriously absent: Alshon Jeffery. According to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, Wentz bought Jeffery a plane ticket but the receiver never showed up. He declined an interview request to elaborate on the reason why he spurned the quarterback.
Jeffery Seems to Prefer Nick Foles over Carson Wentz
Was Alshon Jeffery the “anonymous source” for those leaked snippets questioning Carson Wentz’s leadership? He has been repeatedly named by several media outlets as the reported culprit. It makes sense Jeffery might be the snitch. Look at the numbers.
Jeffery won a Super Bowl title with Nick Foles at the helm, including hauling in a memorable 34-yard touchdown in that game. This year, the targets have been there for Jeffery but not the production. He has contributed to a number of losses with tough drops in critical moments. He has 34 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns on 55 targets.
According to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, Jeffery has been a more dynamic pass-catcher under Foles’ watch. The stats back it up, too.
Per McLane: In 31 games with Wentz, Jeffery has caught 134 of 233 passes (57.5 ratio) for 1,617 yards (6.9 yards per target), and 16 touchdowns. On throws over 20 yards, he has caught 8 of 36 (22.2 catch ratio) for 253 yards (7.0 yards per) and two touchdowns.
In 12 games with Foles, including the playoffs, Jeffery caught 45 of 62 passes (65.2 ratio) for 732 yards (11.8 yards per), and five touchdowns. On throws over 20 yards, he caught 8 of 17 (47.1 ratio) for 281 yards (16.5 yards per) and two touchdowns.
Jeffery Questionable for Sunday’s Game versus Seattle
The Eagles may be without Alshon Jeffery for Sunday’s game against Seattle. The wide receiver was limited all week at practice as he heals from an injured ankle suffered in the Bears game. He missed last week’s game versus New England and has been out of action for three games in 2019.
Jeffery is very much a game-time decision this week but it certainly hasn’t been trending in the right direction. If he can’t go, rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside would likely assume his role as the reliable possession receiver. Hopefully, he has better hands. Jeffery has three dropped passes to his name, while the Eagles have 14 as a team. Injuries have played a factor in his struggles.
“I think injury, if you let it, mentally can affect anybody,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “But I think one of the things that I appreciate with Alshon is how he battles through it and fights through some of the stuff he’s dealt with during his career here.”
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