Like McNabb, Wentz has maligned group of receivers
FILE – In this Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz throws to a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. Wentz leads NFL rookies with eight passing TDs. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
PHILADELPHIA — Donovan McNabb threw passes to Todd Pinkston, Charles Johnson, James Thrash, Freddie Mitchell and Antonio Freeman for four years before the Philadelphia Eagles got Terrell Owens.
Carson Wentz shouldn’t have to wait as long to get a No. 1 receiver.
Wentz already has more talented receivers than McNabb did from 1999-2003, but it’s still a much-maligned group. The Eagles don’t have a player in the top 40 in the NFL in yards receiving.
With the NFL trade deadline approaching Tuesday, there’s speculation Philadelphia (4-2) is interested in acquiring Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery or San Francisco’s Torrey Smith.
Coach Doug Pederson quickly shot down the reports and expressed confidence in his guys. Of course, he wouldn’t say otherwise.
‘I think every team is trying to upgrade every position if you could, but not at this time,’ Pederson said.
Jordan Matthews leads the Eagles with 25 catches for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Nelson Agholor has 18 for 191 and one TD. Dorial Green-Beckham (13-139-1) and Josh Huff (12-63-1) are next on the list.
All four receivers were high draft picks in recent years. Matthews (second round, 2014), Agholor (first round, 2015), Green-Beckham (second round, 2015) and Huff (third round, 2014). So, the Eagles won’t give up on them quickly.
Green-Beckham came from Tennessee in a trade in August. It took him a while to grasp a new offense and he makes the best case against a trade.
‘I really don’t see that happening,’ Green-Beckham said. ‘It’s tough for a guy to come in right now and learn everything we put in. It was hard for me when I got here and I came here with three weeks (remaining in the preseason). I had to put in extra time, stay after practice, meet with coaches, study at home.’
The players acknowledged the rumors and criticism motivate them.
‘You got to wake up. You got to make plays at the end of the day,’ Agholor said.
Despite a mediocre corps of receivers, McNabb led the Eagles to the playoffs in 2000-03. They lost three straight NFC championship games between 2001-03. Then T.O. arrived, McNabb had his best season and the Eagles went to the Super Bowl.
Not long ago, the Eagles had a pair of Pro Bowl receivers. But Chip Kelly released DeSean Jackson after he had his best season in 2013 and he allowed Jeremy Maclin to sign a free-agent deal with Kansas City after he had his best season in 2014.
‘I’m not going to say no to a competition, but if they do want a veteran receiver, so be it. It doesn’t bother us,’ Huff said.
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