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How will the Eagles use Jordan Matthews?

Eliot Shorr-Parks
September 20, 2018 - 8:16 am

The Eagles’ search for a wide receiver has landed them on Jordan Matthews, who they signed on Tuesday and are now counting on to play this upcoming Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. 

Now that Matthews is on the roster, the question is how are the Eagles going to use him — and how soon can they realistically count on him to contribute?

“He looked good in the workout. He's healthy. We're excited to get him back,” head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday. “Again, it's part of where we are with the receivers and the injuries and things of that nature, but we'll work him this week and see where his role is going to be and try to get him in the mix.”

From the outside looking in, Matthews’ role on the offense seems to be pretty clear. The 6-foot-3, 215 pound receiver was dominant in the slot prior to undergoing knee and ankle surgery in Buffalo last season. His chemistry with quarterback Carson Wentz was a big reason for his success with the Eagles before and it is a big reason the team feels he will be able to contribute right away. Matthews' pulled in 225 catches in three seasons with the Eagles playing on the inside. 

Pederson, however, did not want to flat out say that Matthews would be playing inside for the Eagles. 

“I don't get into slot, inside, outside. The only reason I say that is because we move our guys around so much. You see [WR] Nelson [Agholor] inside, you see Nelson outside, and that could be by formation, just matchups and different things,” Pederson said. “(Matthews’) career he's primarily been an inside receiver. We understand that. We'll see where he is at and see how he fits into the game plan this week.”

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Agholor appears to be the key in dictating just how successful Matthews’ second stint with the Eagles goes. Moving Matthews inside means that Agholor will be playing on the outside, a role he struggled with during his first two seasons in the league. 

Coming off of a breakout 2017 season, however, Agholor appears to be much more prepared and ready to move to the outside. 

“Nelson has been a really big part of the offense so far and in both spots, inside and outside,” Pederson said. “He’s obviously done a great job blocking in the run game, and then in the passing game be able to be outside as well. So, moving him around has been beneficial for us.”

Agholor on the outside, Matthews on the inside and either Kamar Aiken or Shelton Gibson on the other side. That appears to be the Eagles’ gameplan going forward — at least until Alshon Jeffery returns. 

We’ll find out on Sunday if it will work.

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