Philadelphia Eagles News

Huff Hopes To Build On Sunday Success

You see the ability when the ball is in Josh Huff's hands. The speed. The explosiveness. The power. There are many tools in Huff's box, and his ability to use them with consistency is the key to his NFL success.

"It's all about opportunities and taking advantage of them when you get the chance," Huff said after Sunday's 39-17 win over New Orleans. "That's what this game is all about."

Huff has not found firm footing in his year and a half in the league as he's battled a couple of injuries and some inconsistency as he searches for a larger role in the Eagles' wide receiver corps. Maybe Sunday's game, in which he opened the contest with a 40-yard kickoff return and then added four catches, including a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown for his first NFL receiving score, will prove to be the tipping point.

A third-round draft pick in 2014, Huff was hindered as a rookie with a preseason shoulder injury that kept him on the sidelines for the first quarter of the season. He finished the year with eight receptions for 98 yards, and also helped on special teams with a 29.5-yard average on 14 kickoff returns, including a franchise-record 107-yard touchdown to open a win against Tennessee.

Huff enjoyed an outstanding Training Camp and summer and had two catches in each of the first two games of the regular season before a hamstring injury made him inactive for the game against the Jets. Huff then played only four snaps on offense in the loss at Washington.

Sunday against New Orleans, though, Huff set career highs with four catches and 78 yards. Tight end Zach Ertz ran a high angle route and Huff ran a drag route across the field and he made the catch with room to head up the field. Two Saints defenders collided and went to the ground, leaving Huff all alone down the sideline. Huff celebrated his first NFL receiving touchdown by taking off from the 2-yard line and somersaulting into the end zone.

"I haven't flipped since high school, so I just thought it would be a grand opportunity for me to do so with me being so open," Huff said. "I've just got to continue to work and move forward."

Find out who were the key players in Sunday's 39-17 win over the New Orleans Saints as the Eagles improved to 2-3 on the season ...

That's the idea. The Eagles want depth, versatility and consistency from their receivers. Huff lined up as a starter in the preseason, but when the Eagles opened the regular season in Atlanta, Nelson Agholor started opposite Riley Cooper, with Jordan Matthews in the slot. Huff had his reps -- 36 snaps against Atlanta and 33 against Dallas -- before he was inactive against New York.

On Sunday, Huff logged a season-high 41 snaps and made the most of his chances both as a pass catcher and a blocker for a running game that had its best game of the season with 186 yards.

"Josh Huff is an extremely dynamic player," head coach Chip Kelly said on Monday. "He's really good with the ball in his hands. Extremely tough, one of the better blockers in this league."

Said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur: "He took advantage of a couple of opportunities and that's good to see. We expect him to continue to do that as we go along."

The next step is so important for Huff. How does he follow up his most complete day in the NFL? The best players in this league do it every day in practice and then every week in games. Is Huff ready to be that kind of talent? Can he maximize his ability and provide to Bradford and the passing game another big-play option?

"I just have to keep working hard, keep making progress," Huff said. "That's the goal. That's my job. It feels great to help the team win and now it's a matter of doing it every week. I'm enjoying things. I'm having fun. Every chance I get, I want to make a play and help this team."

He's got the skills. The game has slowed down for Huff and he's in position to make a power push in the Eagles' offense. How does he follow up Sunday's performance? The next step is a critical one for Huff in his NFL life.

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