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Josh Huff Needs To Take A Leading Role At Wide Receiver For The Eagles

This feature is a weekly piece on BleedingGreenNation.com titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

You see the talent. Josh Huff has shown glimpses of it in his year-plus as an Eagle - a catch and run here, a kickoff return there, a burst of explosiveness that makes you say, "When he gets it together, Josh Huff is going to be something special."

That time is now for Huff, who should have a featured role in the Eagles' offense against the Giants in this critical Week 6 game. Huff demonstrated last Sunday against the Saints that he's got game - 4 catches, 83 yards including a 41-yard catch and run and somersault into the end zone.

But what separates the teasers from the ballers in this league is consistency, and Huff needs to follow up that encouraging game with a big effort against New York. The Giants have not played well in the secondary this season, as evidenced by their 32nd-in-the-league ranking in pass defense. Add to that some injuries and the Eagles should, even without rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor, some opportunities to make big plays throwing the football.

And that's where Huff factors into the equation. He created some unwanted headlines during the week when he suggested that New York cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie "takes some plays off" and that safety Landon Collins is a weak link in pass coverage. Now Huff is in the spotlight for reasons other than his play last Sunday. He's going to have some Giants gunning for him.

It's a chance for Huff to step up and show that he can be a reliable, trusted contributor to this passing game. In many ways, it's a crossroads game for Huff in his second Eagles season.

How much has Huff grown up since his quiet rookie season? We're going to get a really important peek into his stage of development against the Giants. Huff needs to be a major factor in this one.

  • A nifty stat I came across: Eli Manning is facing pressure on only 14.1 percent of his dropbacks, the second-lowest percentage in the league. The Eagles are pressuring the quarterback on 15.9 percent of dropbacks, which is also second-lowest in the NFL. So maybe this is the key to the game: How do the Eagles pressure Manning?

  • No update on running back Ryan Mathews, who is listed as questionable with a groin injury. We'll know only a couple of hours before kickoff - 90 minutes to be exact when the official inactive list is submitted - if Mathews plays. Mathews has gained a first down on a league-best 31.7 percent of his carries, so not having him would be a blow to the offense.

  • Quarterback Sam Bradford is completing just 44 percent of his passes on third down, which is not good. New York is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68 percent of their passes on third downs. Something has to give ...

  • Odell Beckham, Jr. is in Philadelphia with the intention of playing in this game and he's going to be someone the secondary will obviously have to pay attention to. But so will running back Shane Vereen, who caught 8 passes last week in the win over San Francisco and had 3 receptions for 51 yards on the game-winning touchdown drive.

  • The biggest difference for the Eagles' offensive line last week? Left tackle Jason Peters dominated defensive end Cameron Jordan, and the rest of the line fell into place. When the Eagles can leave Peters alone, as they've been able to do for years, they don't need to use a running back to chip block or a tight end to help.

  • He's had some drops, and that must improve, but Jordan Matthews is the most productive slot receiver in the league with 29 catches for 320 yards. I expect him to have a huge number of targets against a Giants secondary that is without Prince Amukamara and could be missing Trumaine McBride, who has a groin injury and an illness.

  • New York has turned the ball over only 3 times in 5 games, a key reason for the 3-2 start. The Eagles have at least one takeaway in the last 17 games. How about turnover differential as the ultimate win-or-lose stat in this game?