J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was called into action this past Sunday in only his second game as a professional football player. The rookie wide receiver saw this as an opportunity to not only prove his ability, but also show he can be trusted when hardships arise.
“It was good because I think I proved to a lot of people, and even myself, that when adversity strikes, I’ll be ready to go out there and do my job,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “There were some things here and there that I could have done better, but overall I would say I did good, but we didn’t win.”
The Stanford product saw 75 reps with the offense in the matchup against the Falcons, which accounted for 93 percent of playing time. He was targeted four times, including his first catch in the NFL which was a short pass from Carson Wentz. This was a drastic increase from his Week 1 numbers, where he only played five snaps on offense, for seven percent of playing time. There is no foolproof way to prepare for this increased workload, but keeping a starter mindset is a good place to begin.
“It’s tough because you just don’t know,” Arcega-Whiteside said on being called into the game. “If you’re not a starter, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Just preparing as if you are a starter, know every single play in and out, know what the coach’s thinking is, then when you go out there you don’t have to think you can just play.”
That is exactly what he did. When DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery went down, Arcega-Whiteside went out there and just played. He wasn’t nervous at all. He used the support from his teammates to make every rep count.
“Alshon was there to greet me every time I was on the sideline,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “Even sometimes when I was lined up to the side that we were on, he was there watching and saying, ‘Hey watch this, watch that.’ He’s been helpful and he’s always been like that.”
With Jackson’s and Jeffery’s status still up in the air for this Sunday, Arcega-Whiteside is ready to dedicate even more time on the chemistry with the franchise quarterback.
“We’ve been together since the spring,” Arcega-Whiteside said about Wentz. “I’ve been hanging around him since then, personally and on and off the field. Obviously, this week it’s going to ramp up a little more. We’re going to get that chemistry going.”
The Eagles will take on the undefeated Lions this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field with the hopes of getting back in the win column. If Arcega-Whiteside is needed, he is confident that he can contribute to this team and get it back on the right track.
“I’m ready,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “That’s what I’ve dreamed about. That’s why I’m here, to help this team win.”