The Philadelphia Eagles will have one of the most explosive offenses in the league again, and it goes beyond Chip Kelly’s playing speed, franchise quarterback Nick Foles’s ability to run Kelly’s offense perfectly, and the fact that LeSean McCoy is a monster. Even with DeSean Jackson gone, the Eagles have one of the deepest pass-catching groups in the NFL. Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles, Josh Huff, Brent Celek, James Casey, Arrelious Benn, and McCoy could all prove to be at least capable receivers for Foles, and Maclin, Cooper, and Matthews should form a very good trio of receivers to lead the way.
Matthews has been incredibly impressive so far this offseason, as beat writers have raved about how he’s looked even better than Maclin, who received some praise from Kelly and is showing no ill-effects from last year’s ACL tear, and 2013 breakout star Cooper. If Matthews can turn his offseason workouts into strong regular season play, then he could be one of the standouts of the best WR class in recent memory. His toughness, work ethic, quickness, solid physical tools, and ability to line up inside or outside should make him a reliable, solid wideout for the Eagles.
According to Phillymag.com’s Tim McManus, the Vanderbilt product is working with Tom Bender to improve his game before his rookie year at the Bender Performance Institute, and he’s also picking up tips from three elite wideouts who also learn from Bender. Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, and A.J. Green, and they are even working with Bender to help give advice on how Matthews can improve his game.
“I get feedback from Calvin, I get feedback from Demaryius, I get feedback from A.J. just on how he is looking. How is he disguising his routes? Is he not disguising his routes? And then functionally, how is he maintaining his body position…How is he getting off the line? How is he accelerating? Is he too full-throttle at the beginning? From the defensive backs to the linebackers, the d-ends, the quarterback, the receiver, everybody is giving feedback on what they see. I try to create an environment where it’s not competition but everybody is helping each other get better.”
Based on his work so far with Matthews, Bender stated that he “absolutely” believes the Eagles No. 3 receiver can be a productive receiver in this league, and he stated that his already renowned work ethic has been praised heavily by the trio of elite wideouts. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the game, so it always helps to pick up tips from him, and Bender added that the quiet Detroit Lions superstar is helping Matthews with his route-running, “And as far as with Calvin, he is not a man of many words but he’s helping [Matthews] correct some of his route running.”
This is all great to hear, and improved route-running and hands in traffic will help Matthews have a very strong rookie season, and there’s an awful lot of optimism surrounding the Eagles rookie.