Eagles have faith in their reinforcements

Ed Benkin
September 19, 2019 - 9:54 pm
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) celebrates after a touchdown with quarterback Josh McCown (18) against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There will be a "getting to know you" session for the Eagles on Sunday.

When Carson Wentz drops back to pass, he likely won't be able to throw the ball deep to DeSean Jackson. He also isn't expected to have Alshon Jeffery or Dallas Goedert to throw to. On defense, Fletcher Cox may have a hard time recognizing the other defensive tackle with Tim Jernigan and Malik Jackson sidelined. 

Many believed at the start of the season that the Eagles were one of the deepest teams in the NFL. Now, that theory will be put to the test, and Cox believes his teammates at the other end of the depth chart will be up to the challenge.  

The veteran is doing his part to get the replacements prepared. 

"We're just keeping them positive," said Cox. "I just tell them that it's been like that here for a while. We've had some people go down. It's just that next man up mentality. I've been keeping them positive all week and having them understand everything that's going on. Just trying to get our timing down with the way that we do things."

Cox will have to work with a different teammate at the other defensive tackle position, but the potential loss of two starting receivers presents an even greater challenge for the offense.  

If Jackson and Jeffery are sidelined for an extended period of time, Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside will be counted on for an increased role. 

Hollins was dealing with injuries all of last season, but the third year receiver is healthy this year and is eager to do his part with several of his teammates out of the lineup.

"It's been a while," Hollins said. "I kind of just played ball again. It's always been when you can be working with Carson and the starting guys. No mater who's in, you want to be ready. It's good to get those reps and feel what it's like to get that game speed from the start."

Nelson Agholor has less of an adjustment to make. 

Agholor has already seen plenty of time on the field as a slot receiver. Agholor's role is likely to increase with the injuries to his teammates. Despite a critical drop in last week's loss to Atlanta, Agholor says he is ready for the added responsibility of more passes to be thrown his way and facing tighter coverage from the Detroit secondary.

"I'm not going to lie," said Agholor. "I embrace that type of opportunity. If they're going to play man, they're going to be in your grill. That's something that I look forward to. I like that. That's how football should be. You only get better with things like that in front of you."

Cox will likely be joined by Hassan Ridgeway at defensive tackle. Ridgeway spent his first three seasons in Indianapolis before arriving in Philadelphia. 

Just like Hollins and Arcega-Whiteside, Ridgeway has been with the team long before the regular season started, which helps makes the starters confident the replacements will be ready to go.

"It's not like we just brought Hassan in off the street," Cox said. "He's been here the whole off-season. He's been through spring ball and has been through training camp. He understands the defense.  That's the biggest thing about when you've got a guy that's been around for a bit. He's excited about it."