Eagles head coach says he’ll come up with ‘unique ways to get guys the ball’

You can never have too many weapons if you’re an NFL head coach, or quarterback.

And so the riches the Eagles boast on their early depth chart, from Alshon Jeffery to Darren Sproles to Zach Ertz — and everything in between — is a very good problem for the team to have.

On a roster that will likely only be able to sport five wide receivers, Jeffery is currently joined by Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs and rookies Shelton Gibson and Mack Hollins. 

Assuming three of the aformentioned wideouts get cut, there is still an abundance of firepower for Carson Wentz. Add to that Ertz and Brent Celek, and a slew of underrated running backs who can catch passes like Sproles, rookie Donnell Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood, and it will be essential to remember that there are only 11 players allowed on the field at once on offense.

“You’ve got one football and there are five skill positions to get the ball to and there are a lot of combinations to do that,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said as the Eagles opened their rookie camp this past weekend. “So as we go and we really understand our personnel in year two as a coaching staff on offense, I think we’ll come up with creative and unique ways to get guys the ball. It doesn’t always have to be in the passing game. We’re going to continue to explore that, obviously, now that we’ve got this new influx of young players who have that ability to touch the football. We’re just going to continue to find ways to do that.”

What does Pederson mean?

Well, assuming the Eagles are most comfortable relying on Sproles to get the lion’s share of carries — at least if Ryan Mathews gets cut as he is expected to — they’ll turn to a young player on special teams to help on punt return duties.

The competition to make the roster as a skill player will be particularly fierce, but Gibson and Hollins could slither onto the 53-man list if they show a willingness to learn, vast improvement over the summer and durability.

“One thing that both Mack and Shelton [share], and Mack in particular, is special teams value,” Pederson said. “The fact that he’s played some special teams in college is beneficial for him. We’ve just got to, as fast as we can with the limited amount of time that we have in the offseason, get these guys caught up and just, again, create that competition, that depth, the drive at that position to see where these guys are going to fall out.”

The Eagles will practice as a team, formally, for the first time when OTAs start on May 23.

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