We heard about Quez Watkins balling out during training camp, we saw his lethal speed first hand in the first preseason game, we’ve seen his explosive ability in each of the three games the Eagles have played so far this season. Yet, he’s still not a featured weapon in Nick Sirianni’s offense.
On the year, Watkins has played 54% of the team’s offensive snaps. In his limited playing time, the second-year wideout has put up some pretty outstanding numbers. He’s caught all seven of his targets for an average of 26.6 yards per reception, totaling 186 receiving yards.
Jalen Hurts has a 118.8 passer rating when targeting Watkins. He’s also averaging 13.4 yards after the catch on his seven receptions this year, which speaks to his play making ability. That’s by far the best mark of any other Eagles wideout. DeVonta Smith averages just 3.1 YAC, and Jalen Reagor averages 5.4.
Watkins has found a home working out of the slot. A position most fans thought would be occupied by Reagor, but the former first-round pick has played primarily on the outside this year. Despite Watkins’ evident improvement from last year and his explosive nature, Sirianni doesn’t seem to draw up many plays for him.
Both Reagor and Smith have seen double digit targets this year, with 19 and 20 respectively. Smith has only caught 55% of his targets, while Reagor has hauled in 68.4% of his. I’m all for trying to feed Smith the ball. Even though he hasn’t popped just yet, he’s getting open all the time. Hurts has just failed to get him the ball.
While I’m still holding out hope for Reagor, the improvement from year one to year two has been a bit underwhelming. Watkins has outplayed Reagor through three games. His speed and ability to high point balls can be a real aid to Hurts, who has struggled with his accuracy this year.
That was on full display Monday night when Watkins went up and snatched a ball on a pivotal third down play.
This is an under thrown ball from Hurts and Watkins is interfered with on the play. Having a receiver who can bail a quarterback out in situations like this is invaluable, especially when your quarterback is struggling.
Hurts can use all the help he can get from the players around him. Through three games, Watkins has proven that he can be that help if the coaching staff lets him.
On Wednesday, Sirianni was asked what his offensive philosophy is. His answer:
If creating explosive plays is a priority, you have the solution right there in the slot. Get Watkins the ball and let him do his thing. This Eagles offense will undoubtedly be more explosive.
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