FACTS give you something that you can build a future on. Perceptions gives you something to build rumors on. Let me give you some facts:
WR Nelson Agholor‘s 40 Time – 4.42
WR Jordan Matthews 40 Time – 4.46
WR Dorial Green-Beckham – 4.49
The perception is that our WR’s are too slow and that we need to draft a fast one. The fact is, our WR’s are faster than most of the prospects out there. See for yourself HERE. You have to be careful with perception. It can get you to make stupid mistakes even with the “best of intentions”.
And since a well-intentioned fuck-up will still be a fuck-up, you can see why I have several beefs with these perceptions.
My first of several beefs is of course the speed thing. The problem with our WR’s isn’t speed. On too many plays (just too damned many), QB Carson Wentz was forced to throw the ball into crowds because often the routes would intersect downfield. That’s not an issue of receiver speed, that’s an issue of poor play design. It didn’t help that at times when receivers did get open, balls bounced off of hands, they didn’t get their feet down in bounds, they were frequently overthrown, and/or they often failed to drive back to the ball. We saw a ton of these things through all 16 games, and not one of these things is speed related. So let’s bin that ill perception, and perhaps run the risk of getting it right for change.
My next issue is the shortsightedness of this franchise.
“What do you see beyond your fists?” It’s a question with an obvious answer, but this team has an amazing history of looking past and around obvious solutions. For example, there was no real reason why WR Paul Turner should have been inactive for as long as he was, and there was even less reason to use him sparingly once he was active. Wentz’s development could have started Week One if the Front Office didn’t prize Agholor’s draft position over Turner’s actual ability to play. But of course, that was too obvious.
Another issue is that WR Byrce Treggs actually did stretch defenses on the rare occasions they let him run deep routes. It boggled my mind to see him used on Jet Sweeps. The idea that our coaching staff didn’t want to keep a guy with 4.39 speed (DeSean Jackson runs a 4.35), on the field as often as possible, hurts my head. Even just as a decoy to keep a Safety back and clear the box for the run. The last time we had that sort of threat, RB LeSean McCoy ran for 1,600 yards. But we didn’t want that sort of thing ’round here, now did we?
My final issue is with the poor investment strategy. We’ve spent the picks. What we haven’t done is spend the time. In 2015 Agholor was a 1st round pick. In 2014 Matthews was a 2nd round pick and Josh Huff was a 3rd round pick. None of those players was coached up by the former head coach of this team. They learned to run plays instead of learning to become NFL receivers. Fact is, 2016 was their first year under a real coaching staff, and their position coach is Greg Lewis. Nothing against Lewis, but he wasn’t really a Hall of Fame sort of player, now was he?
NOTE: Since the original writing of this article, Lewis has since been given a guided tour of the exit, and an unlimited supply of unpaid vacation days, which he has already begun to use.
While I agree that we need to draft a WR, the fact is, it isn’t speed that we lack out there. What we lack is a guy who commands the ball and takes every snap as a personal challenge. We need a competitive guy in the mold of Jerry Rice, Anquan Boldin or Antonio Brown. A guy who’ll be a leader, and work in his spare time to perfect more than his Whip and his Nae-Nae. A guy who doesn’t take boat trips with a playoff game coming up.
The fact is, we have guys who can run. We need guys who can make the guys around them better. That’s fact, not perception, and facts give you something that you can build a future on.