Philadelphia Eagles: Please bring Robby Anderson back home

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With DeSean Jackson’s return far from a sure thing, the Philadelphia Eagles should kickstart their offense and bring Robby Anderson home.

Do you smell that Philadelphia Eagles fans? That hazy stench of desperation hanging heavy over the Delaware Valley? That’s the smell of an NFL season spoiling right under our collective noses.

And that is truly a shame.

When the Eagles opened the season up against the Washington Redskins for a 1 pm bout at the Linc, excitement couldn’t have been higher. Sure, the team took a little while to get things going – a now-signature element of Doug Pederson‘s 2019 game plan – but none of that mattered when the clock struck zero.

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The Eagles won 32-27, Carson Wentz looked legit, and DeSean Jackson absolutely went off to the tune of eight catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back in midnight green since 2013 – the best mark of any fantasy football receiver on the season to that point.

Needless to say, the Eagles offense looked high-flying, explosive, and capable reaching heights seldom seen in the 215 since Andy Reid set up shop on the sidelines, but like too many great things in this world, it was not meant to last.

Fast forward one week into the future, and Jackson suffered an abdomen injury 11 snaps into the Birds’ Week 2 road trip to Atlanta – a seemingly insignificant injury that would forever change the course of the 2019 season.

Over the next five weeks (and counting), Jackson avoided a trip to IR but has consistently remained off the practice field with no return date in sight. Factor in the unfortunate news that Jackson may not even be 100 percent if he returns to the field (more on that here), and there’s a real chance we’ve seen the last of number 10 in his second stint in the City of Brotherly Love – at least in 2019.

While this is obviously crushing news for long-time fans, the locker room, and fantasy football enthusiasts, the Eagles can’t just keep waiting for Jackson to return to his prominence and ‘save the season’. Despite having ‘the best-receiving corps in the league’ during the preseason, Wentz would undoubtedly beg to differ, as his current MVP-caliber season is being wasted by a furry of drops, missteps, and ineffective performances by his pass catchers.

Even Zach Ertz, Wentz’s former favorite target, has been a total mess, averaging less than 58 yards a game on the season – hos worst mark since 2015 (more on that here).

To put it simply, with the season very much hanging in the balance at 3-4 with a tough task ahead against the Buffalo Bills scheduled for this weekend, the Eagles need to find someone – anyone – to return their aerial assault to its Week 1 shine: Fortunately, there’s a Philly fan favorite right up the Jersey Turnpike who could use a change of scenery.

Measuring in at a perplexing 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Robby Anderson spent the better part of a half-decade in North Philly as a member of the Temple Owls. While his tenure with the team wasn’t without issue, as Anderson was ruled academically ineligible in 2014, he returned in 2015 and recorded a second season of A-plus production under then-head coach Matt Rhule – amassing 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns on 114 catches in 24 total games of action.

Not too bad for a player who spent his redshirt rookie season practicing as a defensive back.

Though the production was certainly there when Anderson put his name into consideration for the 2016 NFL Draft, his rail-thin frame, when coupled with a rough case of the dropsies left many scouts scratching their heads on his NFL projection.

But fortunately for Anderson, there was a Temple-alum in the midst of a troubled head coaching tenure in the Big Apple who took a chance on his college compatriot.

Maybe it was because he ran a 4.34 40 at Temple’s Pro Day, or because teams need 90 warm bodies to get through the summer, but Anderson found himself a member of Todd BowlesNew York Jets with an opportunity to compete for a roster spot right out the gate.

Spoiler alert: Anderson took that opportunity and ran with it really, really fast.

Starting 32 games over the next three seasons, Anderson amassed 2,280 yards and 15 touchdowns as the favorite target of one Sam Darnold. While he may not the most dynamic receiving threat in the league, Anderson’s freakish ability to get open and push his jets into second or even third gear to breeze past defensive backs is a thing to behold.

And after signing the then-restricted free agent to a second-round tenure in February, the Jets appear ready to move on.

Call it accepting their fate after mononucleosis cost Darnold the first month-plus of the regular season, but the 2019 Jets are not going to make the postseason regardless of who they line up at wide receiver. This makes Anderson, a finely tuned Ferrari on the outside a luxury not worth retaining for the remainder of the calendar year – especially if the team isn’t particularly interested in re-signing the former Owl long-term.

Fortunately for Carson Wentz, Howie Roseman, and the entirety of the Eagles faithful, one team’s luxury is another team’s salvation.

With noticeably more speed than any receiver on the roster, even more so than a 32-year-old Jackson, Anderson could immediately slot into the Eagles big play X receiving position – logging snaps at either outside role.

While he isn’t the most elusive receiver in the game, and nary makes plays in space or as an interior target deployed out of the slot, Anderson is a relatively complete outside receiver with the size to compete for contested catches and the speed to burst past man coverage.

Even if Jackson were to return before Christmas and reincorporate himself fully into the Eagles’ offensive assault, Anderson could conceivably remain an active part of the weekly offense, as two burners are always better than one.

Will he come cheap? Probably not, as the Jets liked Anderson enough last season to lock him into a second-round tenure, but new GM Joe Douglas appears to be far lower on number 11 than the previous administration and has let it slip that he could be moved for the right price.

After earning a Super Bowl ring as Howie Roseman’s right-hand man, it’s hard to find a more willing duo of negotiators.

Next. Letting Dallas trade for Michael Bennett is just the worst. dark

Could it cost the team a Day 2 draft pick? Probably. Could that number go down a bit if Joe Douglas wants a second crack at either Nelson Agholor or Sidney Jones? That is also possible, but whatever the cost, the Philadelphia Eagles can’t afford to let another difference-maker jump ship to another contender and fall further behind in the NFC Wild Card race. If Robby Anderson is truly available, Howie Roseman has to do everything in his power to bring Temple’s finest back to the City of Brotherly Love, as he alone can satisfy Doug Pederson’s need for speed on the outside.