Eagles Hall of Famers Seem Worried About ‘Track Meet’ WRs

Terrell Owens Super Bowl, Terrell Owens Eagles Super Bowl, Terrell Owens Super Bowl injury

Getty Terrell Owens walks off the field in Jacksonville, Florida after falling to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Listening to three of the greatest receivers in Eagles history talk is a treat. It’s kind of like hanging out at a family reunion, comprised of NFL legends.

Seth Joyner hosts a weekly YouTube show where the famed linebacker invites former Eagles teammates and alumni on to debate the current state of the franchise and hot-button issues around the league. It’s one of the most entertaining programs out there. Joyner recently held a roundtable discussion featuring Terrell Owens, Harold Carmichael and Mike Quick, arguably the three greatest receivers in franchise history.

In a nearly 90-minute conversation, the quartet touched on everything from the Black Lives Matter movement to their favorite NFL receivers. (Owens is a huge Julio Jones fan, by the way). The most interesting nuggets were on the 2020 Eagles and what to expect from their revamped receiving corps.

Quick hyped the group up as a “relay team” that no defense could catch. But Carmichael and Owens both cautioned that speed isn’t everything in the NFL. The new guys are going to have to learn the route tree, break down defenses and adjust to footballs on the fly.

“If we got a track meet, they’re going to win,” said Quick.

Owens fired back: “Unfortunately, the 2020 Olympics has been delayed, too.”

The Eagles invested heavily in the wide receiver position in the offseason. The team drafted three speed threats in Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins, then traded for Olympic track star Marquise Goodwin. They are indeed a track team. However, can they play the game of football? The panel was conflicted, especially with spring OTAs and rookie minicamps being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That speed thing is always good — everyone could outrun me — but you got to be able to adjust to the team’s system,” said Carmichael. “A lot of guys come into a system and they can’t play in that system because maybe they are too fast and the quarterback can’t get the ball to them. Maybe they can’t stay healthy. That is going to be the big thing.”

Owens agreed with his fellow Hall of Famer, adding that the veteran receivers — guys like DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery — need to play a big part in developing the rookies.

“It’s going to be hard for these guys to develop. These young guys are going to be watching these veterans … watching how they practice, watching how they study, watching how they play,” Owens said. “If they are not on the field to watch these things, it’s going to be slow treading for these guys to get to the potential and the expectation of what we’re all talking about. Again, speed is a part of it but if that was the case, there would be a lot of guys playing in the National Football League if it was predicated on speed.”

Seth Joyner ShowSeth along with former Eagles legends, Terrell Owens, Mike Quick and Harold Carmichael talk everything football Live on Tuesday June 9th @ 6pm EST.2020-06-10T11:30:51Z

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What About J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Year 2?

No one had mentioned second-year wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside when previewing the upcoming season. Then, Joyner brought him up and reminded everyone that the organization remains high on him.

“The only person that is talking about him is Doug Pederson,” Joyner said. “Doug Pederson said he expects a big year out of him after they really got no production out of that pick last year.”

Remember, the Eagles spent a second-round pick on the Stanford product in 2019 and were counting on him to contribute after a solid preseason. Mysteriously, Arcega-Whiteside couldn’t get on the field.

“He couldn’t get on the field. Why? I don’t think he was hurt that much,” Carmichael said. “So why? You’re playing with the big boys now. Some guys are good when they’re down there playing with the Pop Warner team but when you’re up here, things are much faster and much tougher.”

Quick brought up the emergence of Greg Ward Jr. in the slot. And the excitement around first-round pick Jalen Reagor. The latter could lead to some outside-the-box playcalling from Pederson.

“Jalen Reagor is a guy that can do a lot of things,” Quick said. “Doug likes the gadget plays, the jet sweeps, and the bubble screens and all these types of plays. I’m sure early on, Jalen Reagor, that’s going to be a part of his package.”

Philadelphia has a crowded stable of receivers with 14 guys competing for five, maybe six spots, on the final 53-man roster. The shortened offseason should make it even more challenging for rookies to get up to speed.

“As Harold said, there’s a lot that goes into playing the receiver position and Mike said that as well … it’s route running, it’s separation, it’s learning your opponent, learning coverages,” Owens said. “It’s breaking down defenses, learning how to break down your opponent each and every week, and learning how to adjust your game to different defenses.”

Earning Carson Wentz’s Trust, Finding a No. 1 Receiver

There’s a lot of uncertainty at wide receiver in Philly, too.

Alshon Jeffery is a question mark as he recovers from Lisfranc surgery, along with perceived locker room problems. DeSean Jackson is also coming back from major surgery stemming from a core muscle strain. The Eagles could be counting on a ton of production from their rookies.

“Do you have a No. 1 receiver right now? Obviously D-Jacc, if he comes back healthy, is that guy,” Owens said. “But the guys that you mentioned — the trade for [Marquise] Goodwin — they are asking them to play heavy minutes and then these new guys, that’s going to be a tough task.”

Of course, the one common denominator is Carson Wentz. The Eagles miraculously won the NFC East in 2019 with their starting quarterback throwing to spare parts and practice-squad players. To buck that trend, GM Howie Roseman devoted the draft and free agency to surrounding Wentz with weapons. Now there are no more excuses.

“The guys are going to have to get Carson’s trust,” Carmichael said. “But with that, the guys have to come in thinking that they are going to be Carson’s No. 1 receiver. Everything thrown at them, or near them, they are going to have to catch it.”

“How do these new wide receivers affect Carson Wentz and how he plays? At the end of the day, these weapons have been formulated for him to be successful,” Joyner said. “I don’t believe that they drafted all these kids just to turn it over to the veterans. I think some of these guys that were drafted, especially those first two guys [Jalen Reagor and John Hightower], they are looking for production.”

One potential pitfall is a lack of “grass time” between the quarterback and his shiny new toys. Typically, they use spring minicamps to work on their chemistry and timing. The novel coronavirus took that away, although Wentz has reportedly been working out with his new receivers in Houston. Either way, it’s another hurdle to overcome.

“I think it’s going to affect him [Wentz] immensely,” Owens said. “That’s where he gets used to the receivers and the timing, and which athletes and which receivers he can count on most. All this time that’s been missed, it’s going to have to be expedited and I don’t know if it’s enough time.”

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