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Spadaro: Olamide Zaccheaus is the perfect satellite in an offense of stars 

Olamide Zaccheaus
Olamide Zaccheaus

The landscape that is the Eagles' offense has a certain star quality, what with quarterback Jalen Hurts and his multidimensional skills as the centerpiece and standouts like DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert as pass catchers, with a deep and versatile stable of running backs, and anchored by an offensive line that is second to none in the NFL.

That is a special group in and of itself, but there are so many more layers to what the Eagles hope unfolds offensively this season. And one of the pieces who expects to make an impact is wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, who signed in free agency and adds to the variety of looks the Eagles can employ in the scheme.

"He's been doing great," Wide Receivers Coach Aaron Moorehead said. "Obviously, tough guy, local guy, he's got that Philly tough, kind of that Jersey tough in him (Zaccheaus grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey and played his high school football at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia). He's awesome. He's working a lot of different positions, but he's done a really good job so far of just managing A) the understanding of the offense – as he's gotten to know it, he's gotten better. You can see that. Even in the last game (Thursday night against Cleveland) his comfort level, how he was playing early on looked great. For him, it slowed down about a week ago and you can see that in his play.

"I'm excited to see what he's going to be able to do for us. Explosive playmaker who has made a lot of plays in this league and will continue to do that."

Zaccheaus steadily improved in his four seasons with Atlanta – 3 receptions in 2019, 20 in 2020, 31 in 2021, and 40 last season – and he fits in with the Eagles in a number of ways. He can run out of the slot and create space in the short-area routes as he did in the preseason game against the Browns when Zaccheaus caught a short pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota and turned it into a 17-yard gain. He also helped the Eagles run the football effectively by using his 194-pound body as a blocker.

He knows the deal: There may not be a ton of opportunities here with all of the weapons, so every chance to help is an opportunity and Zaccheaus needs to make the most of those moments.

"It's a crazy, full-circle moment that I'm embracing," he said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here and to compete at a very high level."

Zaccheaus has long credited his mother, Yimbra Mozimo, for his work ethic and the reason he is where he is. She has been able to attend home games when Zaccheaus played with the Falcons, so the transit to Lincoln Financial Field is going to be a lot easier in 2023.

The focus now is to win the day, to define his role, and to dominate within that.

"I think I'm doing pretty well. Obviously, I have things to clean up and work on and just, I think I talked about it before, the nuances of the offense and stuff like that," he said, "but every day I'm just trying to get better and I think I'm doing pretty good."

One of the keys for Zaccheaus is his blocking, which he says is all about having the right mindset. He loves to get physical and jumps in at the opportunity to throw his body around. Zaccheaus has also seen time as a punt returner with the idea that he is game for any way to help the team win.

What we might see from O.Z. (his nickname in the locker room) is a little bit of a lot of things, and that's just fine with him.

"Take it day by day and do what I can do to help," he said. "That's my role here. Whatever they ask me to do."

He may not take center stage, not with this galaxy of Pro Bowl players and prime-time stars, but Zaccheaus is aligning himself to be a key factor for the Eagles this season.

Check out the best images from Training Camp, presented by Independence Blue Cross, as the Eagles whittle the roster to 53 and prepare for the 2023 season.

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