[Note by JasonB, 05/16/08 3:03 PM EDT ] promoted from fanposts
The hue and cry for a number one wide out has been fodder for Philly sports writers and fans since the 2003 NFC championship loss. Last year was particularly aggravating as the Birds offense seemed to march at will between the 20's but floundered once it found itself in the red zone. The Eagles were 6h in total offensive yardage, but 17th in points scored. What if the Eagles were the #6 in scoring too?Well, the sixth ranked scoring team in the NFL was the Jacksonville Jaguars who scored 25.7 points per game. The Eagles scored 21. Is the Jag's offense that much better than the Birds? Er, I don't think so. After the season, the familiar alarm bell again sounded. The wide receivers aren't good enough, but this time there was an accompanying call: trade Lito for Larry, Chad or Roy. Was it really the receiver's fault? Let's focus on the passing game and investigate the Eagle's track record under Andy Reid.
The table below shows receiving statistics subdivided by position for each of Andy Reid's Eagles teams except for his first (let's call that one an outlier).
Several interesting things are apparent. First off, 2007 was the best year in terms of number of receptions and total yards for the Eagles wide receivers in the Andy Reid era. Secondly, their TD production was above the yearly averages and compares favorably to the production in 2006 and 2004. This suggests that the receivers are not to blame for the Eagles struggles last year. In terms of production, the one position that was significantly off were the tight ends. We all know LJ was hurt and simply ineffective for much of the season, but with 3 more touchdowns from the tight end slot in the right games...
The Eagles run a West Coast Offense. It's an offense that spreads the ball around, getting everyone involved. Here perhaps there is no true #1 wide out, but in the West Coast Offense, does there truly have to be? The Eagles have potentially three decent #2s. If Curtis and Brown maintain (Curtis - 77 receptions and 1100 yards, Reggie - 61 catches and almost 800 yards) and Basket, Avant, and Jackson combine for 65 more, we're looking at similar production this year compared to last. Sure a true #1 would be nice, but the year we actually had one, the rest of the receivers became afterthoughts. In this offensive scheme it's important to keep the opposing defenses honest.
I would humbly suggest the Eagles have the weapons on offense to again explode next year. I'm excited by the addition of Kris Wilson and Lorenzo Booker. Brent Celek with a year under his belt will provide more options in the red zone. In fact, I think this group of tight ends has the potential to be the best the Eagles have ever had. Hank Basket is a Big Dude, I hope to see him beating up opposing DB's when we're down inside the 20. Why can't football start now?