Saw an amazing stat on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” the other day:
Eagles wide receivers haven’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2014. Their streak of seven years without a 1,000-yarder is the longest in the NFL.
I thought that would be impossible, given the league’s trend to the passing game and with rules changes designed to give help offenses.
Jeremy Maclin was the last Eagles wide receiver to hit 1,000 yards. He had 65 catches for 1,318 yards in 2014. Jordan Matthews had 67 catches for 872 yards that season. Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles each started eight games. The Eagles were 10-6 under Chip Kelly.
Since 2014, in the Eagles passing game… only tight end Zach Ertz had 1,000 yards receiving — 116 catches, 1,163 yards in 2018. Ertz was Carson Wentz’s favorite target so those numbers were expected.
Statistics aren’t everything, but they’re *something*.
Last season, 23 wide receivers had at least 1,000 yards. No Eagles.
2022 COULD BE HUGE FOR RECEIVERS
This season could be shaping up as a significant statistical year for DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown and the Eagles passing game. Should Jalen Hurts continue to improve, and the line stays healthy, there could be big numbers for the wide receivers.
“Jalen is, in my opinion, more comfortable in the offense,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said after this week’s OTAs. “That’s just part of the process the second year. He knows where the receivers are going to be vs. different looks.
“He knows where to go with the football a little bit quicker. … Really what I noticed is he’s seeing where to go with the football and going there quick. But [we] have to keep working that, because it’s just going to get harder and harder.”
Brown had had 1,000-yard seasons in two of his three years. Smith nearly reached 1,000 last year.
The Eagles were successful running the ball last season and they will continue that tactic. But having these big-time receivers — along with Quez Watkins, Zach Pascal and tight end Dallas Goedert — we might see the ball airborne more often than not.
You don’t have to be Jerry Rice in his prime to reach the 1,000-yard barrier. From 2014 to 2021, with a 16-game schedule, a receiver would have to average 62.5 yards per game to reach 1,000. Now, with the 17th game, he would only need 58.8 yards per game.
NO BIG RECEIVER IN SUPER BOWL YEAR
I was curious about 2017, the Super Bowl year. Wentz started 13 games and Foles started three games. The leading receiver was Ertz, with 74 catches for 824 yards. Alshon Jeffery had 57 catches for 789 yards and Nelson Agholor had 62 catches for 768 yards.
Pretty pedestrian numbers, I figured, for a Super Bowl champion. I guess I should have considered this postseason stat: Foles, one catch for one yard and one touchdown.
Maybe those numbers aren’t so pedestrian. Since the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory, only two champions had a wide receiver with a 1,000-yard season.
In 2018, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s leading receiver was Julian Edelman with 74 catches for 850 yards.
In 2019, pass-happy Andy Reid and the Chiefs had a 1,000-yard receiver but it was tight end Travis Kelce with 1,229 yards on 97 catches. Tyreke Hill had 860 yards on 58 catches.
Brady’s latest Super Bowl win in the 2020 season saw only Mike Evans (70 catches for 1006 yards) have more than 1,000 yards.
In 2021, the Rams had one 1,000-yard receiver. Cooper Kupp had 145 catches for 1,947 yards as the Rams won the Super Bowl.
Is there any conclusion from the evidence? Kupp is an aberration; Matthew Stafford seemed to pass to him every down. Evans barely reached 1,000 yards. Maybe the deduction is that you don’t *need* that 1,000-yard wideout to win the Super Bowl. Having a reliable tight end helps.
Here are the Eagles’ leading receivers and the guys who threw them the ball since 2014:
Matthews, 85 catches, 997 yards.
Sam Bradford started 14 games and Sanchez started two games.
Ertz, 78 catches, 816 yards.
Matthews, 73 catches, 804 yards.
Wentz started all 16 games.
Ertz, 116 catches, 1,163 yards.
Jeffery, 65 catches, 843 yards.
Wentz started 11 games and Foles started five games.
Ertz, 88 catches, 916 yards.
Goedert, 58 catches, 607 yards.
Jeffery, 43 catches, 490 yards.
Wentz started all 16 games.
Travis Fulgham, 38 catches, 539 yards.
Wentz started 12 games and Hurts started four games.
DeVonta Smith, 64 catches, 916 yards.
Hurts started 14 games and Gardner Minshew started twice in the Eagles passing game.