With DeSean Jackson not in the picture in Chip Kelly’s offense entering 2014, the entire organization is under fire in 2014 to replace Jackson’s production. While I think that the additions of Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews and Jeremy Maclin could allow the Eagles’ offense to soar to new heights in 2014 (no pun intended, really), the rest of the NFL world seems convinced that there is no way that Kelly’s offense will be better in year two than in year one.
Early reports leading up to OTAs suggested that Matthews, who the Eagles appear to have stolen early in the second-round, has a tremendous work-ethic, and may turn out to be one of the most NFL-ready pieces taken in this past May’s draft.
According to Tim McManus of Birds 24/7, part of Matthews making a good first-impression may be that he has worked at the Bender Performance Institute, with two of the best wide receivers in the league.
“I get feedback from Calvin [Johnson], I get feedback from Demaryius [Thomas], I get feedback from A.J. just on how he is looking,” said Bender. “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.”
Working with two receivers like Johnson and Thomas, one would think, would do nothing other than make you a better receiver.
We’ve heard much about Matthews’ work-ethic, but normally that evens out once you get around some of the better players at your position in the top league in the world. Apparently not.
“They’ve enjoyed him, they’ve enjoyed his work ethic. He’s come out as far as conditioning…Some of the vets are like, ‘Slow down, young buck! Slow the pace down.'”
In some senses, you can work too hard, too early. Especially when you are a rookie, who has never played a 16 game NFL season (which doesn’t even take into account if you make a playoff run), that isn’t always a good thing. But the fact that he appears to have an All-Pro work ethic, bodes well in the long run.