Sep 072010

Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin

September 7 Philadelphia Inquirer

“On the first play of his first drive as the Eagles starter, Kevin Kolb hit DeSean Jackson in stride for 21 yards. On his second throw in that preseason game, he found Jeremy Maclin for 29.

Welcome to the Eagles air attack, 2010 edition.

Two plays after hitting Maclin, Kolb targeted Jason Avant and then Brent Celek. Both passes were incomplete, but the point remains. When Kolb drops back to throw, he’ll be surveying an all-you-can-eat buffet of receiving talent and variety, from the speedy Jackson and Maclin to the sure-handed Avant to the big, reliable Celek.

And his platter that night didn’t even include rookie Riley Cooper, a big wideout who impressed in training camp. On his first play in that game, Cooper caught a 46-yard bomb from Michael Vick.

Of course, the deep talent pool makes for phenomenal potential and at least one question: how to utilize all the ability when there are only so many passes to go around.

Dick Vermeil, who faced a similar situation when he coached Rams teams loaded with skill players, said it was important on his teams to spread opportunities around early to keep all his players involved.

“Sometimes kids need to get their motor running early. Get them involved early, they play better,” Vermeil said at a recent Eagles practice. “Not because they’re selfish, [but] because they want to make a contribution.”

In an offense still committed to passing, there should be many chances for Eagles receivers, though perhaps less room for some of the stars who emerged last year.

Defenses will likely be on the lookout for Jackson and Celek after they each posted huge numbers in 2009, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said.

“Part of that is my job to put them in situations [to] have success,” despite the added attention, he said.

That’s where Maclin, Avant, and tailback LeSean McCoy, a smooth route runner out of the backfield, factor in.

Depending on the game and circumstances, Mornhinweg said, he may lean on any of them for a big day.

“On any given play, I think any of us can be open,” Celek said. “We’ve got so many weapons all over the field. If they want to try to double any of us, it’s going to be tough.”

After each beginning their careers on the receiving end of Donovan McNabb passes, there are adjustments with Kolb, who throws with less force but more accuracy – but still had enough strength to hit Jackson on several deep throws in camp.”

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