The Eagles turn to a familiar face to help stabilize the passing game for the second half of the season.
On Monday morning, the team re-signed wide receiver Jordan Matthews, a former second-round pick of the team in 2014 who returned to make an impact as an emergency addition last season.
The 6-3, 215-pound Matthews is a reliable target who can play both on the outside and in the slot. Signed in Week 3 of last season after the season-ending fibula injury to Mike Wallace, Matthews chipped in with 21 catches for 337 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season and postseason combined. In the Wild Card win at Chicago, Matthews drew a pass interference penalty that set up tight end Dallas Goedert's third-quarter touchdown. In the Divisional Round loss to the Saints, Matthews gave the Eagles an early lead with a 37-yard touchdown reception.
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro detailed last week how the Eagles must regroup offensively with DeSean Jackson out for the remainder of the regular season, after being placed on Injured Reserve last Wednesday. Alshon Jeffery is the leading pass catcher among the wide receivers with 34 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Nelson Agholor also has three touchdowns on 32 receptions for 282 yards. Head coach Doug Pederson said last Monday that Jeffrey and Agholor have been "good," but not "great" this season.
"We just have to continue to work with these guys. Every week is a new week. Every week is a new set of challenges," Pederson said. "As we put game plans together, we do think about these guys and putting them into positions and look, sometimes you get in the game, and I'm the one calling the plays, and sometimes the game kind of steers a different direction than what you think during the week.
"But I think overall, these guys have been in a position to help and help us win, and have a lot of confidence in both those guys moving forward."
Tight end Zach Ertz is the team's receiving leader in 2019 with 46 catches for 527 yards along with two touchdowns. Fellow tight end Dallas Goedert has three touchdowns among his 21 catches for 221 yards this season. Since the Week 2 game in Atlanta, when Jackson played 11 snaps before exiting due to the initial injury, rookie running back Miles Sanders has five of the Eagles' seven pass plays of 30 yards or longer, including the two longest of 45 yards and 40 yards, respectively. The Eagles also have to try and find ways to get young receivers J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins more involved. The two have combined for 12 catches and 139 this season.
"That's kind of what this week (the bye week) is for, for us as a staff on offense, is to see how we can maximize our potential that way," Pederson said.
In his first stint with the team from 2014-16, Matthews became just one of five players in NFL history to record at least 65 receptions and 800 receiving yards in each of their first three seasons. In 2015, Matthews led the Eagles in receptions (85), receiving yards (997), receiving touchdowns (8), and 100-yard games (4). He was on the receiving end of quarterback Carson Wentz's first touchdown as a pro in the 2016 season-opening win against the Browns.
The Eagles traded Matthews to Buffalo 2017 as part of a package that brought cornerback Ronald Darby to Philadelphia. He had 25 catches for 282 yards and one touchdown in his one season with the Bills. Matthews spent the 2018 preseason with the New England Patriots before rejoining the Eagles. Matthews was with the San Francisco 49ers this season, but only played in the Week 7 win against Washington.