The Eagles’ receiving corps has looked like a no-fly zone in recent days. Now they will look to one of their unexpected breakout stars from the preseason to give them a lift.
The team promoted athletic dual-threat wide receiver Greg Ward Jr. from the practice squad Saturday in an effort to boost their depleted aerial attack. To make room on the 53-man roster, the Eagles placed injured offensive tackle Jordan Mailata on IR.
Mailata, a 2018 seventh-round pick, has been dealing with a nagging back injury since the preseason finale and had been the talk of some trade rumors. Now the former Australian rugby player turned NFL lineman will get a chance to rehab with no pressure. The Eagles could choose to bring him back by Nov. 24, but that seems unlikely with Cre’Von LeBlanc expected to return.
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Meanwhile, Ward gives them a much-needed shot of adrenaline at the receiver position. The former University of Houston quarterback was phenomenal in the preseason and actually played better than Mack Hollins. Ward finished with six catches for 87 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. He was also featured as a rusher and dropped back to pass on a trick play.
Who Starts at Wide Receiver for Eagles?
The million-dollar question is who lines up Sunday at wide receiver for the Eagles. Here’s what we know: DeSean Jackson is definitely out. Head coach Doug Pederson has stated that he’s not ruling either Alshon Jeffery or Dallas Goedert out. Jeffery was missing from practice all week with a calf injury, while Goedert did take the field Friday with his own bum calf. Yes, Goedert is a tight end but his presence as another pass-catcher would be a big relief as another safety valve for Carson Wentz.
Will the team activate Greg Ward? The fact the Eagles are moving him to the active roster seems to indicate he’ll be eligible to play against Detroit. Ward is a perfect candidate to rotate in the slot, the space where Nelson Agholor has owned over the past couple of years. But Agholor will need to take on the No. 1 receiver role on the outside due to injuries.
Mack Hollins Ready to Start Sunday
Mack Hollins should be prepared to step into a starting role Sunday due to the rash of injuries. Hollins ruffled some feathers earlier this week when he hinted that he prefers playing special teams over wide receiver. That won’t fly in these parts, not when the Eagles are in dire need of pass-catchers.
Hollins slightly refined his comments as he described that he’ll be ready to heed the call should it come.
“Coach Pederson has always said be ready like you’re a starter,” Hollins told reporters. “You know, you’re one play away from being a starter. Always be working with Carson (Wentz) or Josh (McCown) or Nate (Sudfeld), or whoever is in there. It’s good that we have a few days to work together but that chemistry is already there.”
The Eagles take the field Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field for a 1 p.m. showdown with the Detroit Lions. The wide receiver question might remain an unsolved mystery right up until kickoff.
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