Golden Tate will get the football as wide receiver starting this Sunday — but how much difference can one player make?
By Dave Spadaro
Golden Tate is going to get the football as a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles starting Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. He’s going to move all around the formation, run a variety of routes and find that he has the ball in his hands seven to 10 times a game.
If his present play matches his track record — Tate has 90-plus catches in each of the last four seasons and had 44 catches in seven games this year — Tate is going to make a positive impact for an offense that is scoring an average of 22 points (ranking in the 20s among 32 NFL teams) per game in an NFL season that is setting records for most points scored.
And so, some ask this question: How much of a difference can one player make over the course of eight games?
“We’re excited. He’s a good football player,” coach Doug Pederson said of Tate. “He adds value, he adds depth. He’s a veteran player. Hopefully, he comes in and picks the system up right away and we can find ways to use him.”
The truth of the Eagles’ second half of the 2018 regular season, with everything in the NFC East wide open, is that it’s going to take more than the addition of Tate to the offense to reach the postseason. There are some players who should be/could be on the way back from injury and who would factor into a playoff push.
• Running back/return man Darren Sproles has been sidelined since Week 1 with a hamstring injury. When he returns, he’s a weapon on third downs, mixing into the running back rotation, and in the punt return game.
• Cornerback Sidney Jones played well at the nickel spot inside before hurting his hamstring. The Eagles need all hands on deck in the secondary.
• Tight end Richard Rodgers suffered a knee injury in the preseason, and the Eagles lost the third tight end on the roster. Joshua Perkins has done a nice job as a bigger receiver and special teamer, but Rodgers has experience, can block at the line of scrimmage and is a receiving threat, particularly in the red zone.
• Wide receiver Mike Wallace is sidelined with a fractured fibula, suffered in Week 2. When/if he comes back, Wallace adds vertical speed to the receiving group.
• Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan suffered a back injury in the offseason and hasn’t touched the field since the Super Bowl. He’s rehabbing, but there is no word on when/if he plays this season. If he makes his way back, Jernigan brings quickness and tenacity to the defensive line. What a boost Jernigan would be down the stretch …
The point is, the Eagles feel optimistic about what’s ahead. The bye week was a nice break, but now it’s time to get down to business. Dallas is next. The NFC East is heating up. Can the Eagles make their run? ••