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MOORE notes: Eagles receivers need to step up

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.

 
   
 
Philadelphia never placed a call to .

wasn¿t on the radar screen.

The will tell you they aren¿t in the market for a wide receiver because they don¿t need one. The club is perfectly content to enter training camp with the receivers it has on the roster.

No one feels better about that decision than Philadelphia¿s opponents in 2002.

¿I really don¿t know why they haven¿t gone after any of the receivers out there,¿¿ one NFC personnel director said. ¿But I¿m glad. With that defense and that quarterback, I don¿t want to see them get much better.¿¿

¿They struggle so much offensively at times, it gives you a chance to beat them. If they were better at receiver, I don¿t know that you would have much of a chance.¿¿

Officials with teams around the league will tell you that the have overrated their talent at receiver.

? He¿s a nice, solid wideout who makes difficult catches. On a really good offensive team, he would be the third receiver.

On the , he¿s the lead receiver.

Thrash and running back led the club with 63 receptions last season. There were 15 players in the NFC and 35 players in the league with more receptions.

Thrash led the with 833 receiving yards. There were 33 players in the league with more yards through the air. Only three teams — Washington, Carolina and Atlanta — had a receiver with fewer receiving yards than Thrash.

None of those teams made the playoffs.

Come to think of it, none of them even broke .500.

Don¿t mistake this for a Trash Thrash campaign. He¿s a quality player and one who made the better. That doesn¿t mean they can¿t do better at the position.

McCardell is better than Thrash. , who signed with Kansas City earlier this off-season, is better than Thrash or McCardell and would have been an ideal fit for Philadelphia¿s offensive scheme. Morton is the player the should have targeted and pursued.

None of the free agents left is better than Thrash. But and would undoubtedly upgrade the position. It can be argued — although I wouldn¿t throw a lot of weight behind this one — that or would be valuable additions.

Keep in mind, this isn¿t just a Thrash thing. Thrash and , Philadelphia¿s starting receivers, combined for 105 receptions. There were four receivers in the league who had more catches all by themselves.

Philadelphia will argue it addressed its need at wide receiver last season. That¿s when the club signed Thrash in free agency and used a first round pick on . Mitchell is the key. If he develops into the player the project, the club was justified in standing pat this off-season. If not ¿

Well, then you have to question why the club didn¿t pursue Morton or McCardell when it has more money to spend — Philadelphia is $9.9 million under the salary cap — than any club in the league. You must question why the club let Jabar Gaffney, Josh Reed, Antonio Bryant and 16 other receivers slip by before selecting Freddie Milons in the fifth round.

Maybe coach Andy Reid has a thing for receivers named Freddie.

¿I like , but I think he¿s a way off,¿¿ one NFC scouting director said. ¿I just don¿t see that they have the play-maker you would like at that position.

¿I know they feel they have some good, young receivers who are developing. I know they want to believe that. But I don¿t see greatness there.¿¿

There¿s nothing wrong with a coaching staff and front office expressing confidence in their players. What you don¿t want is for a team to have a blind spot when it comes to evaluating talent.

Over the next seven months, we will find out if Reid and Co. were justified in their opinion about the Philadelphia receivers or if it was a miscalculation that could cost the team a chance at the Super Bowl.

Check your egos

McCardell and Alexander were the first two receivers released this week to land with a new team.

That doesn¿t mean they signed the contract they expected or wound up where they wanted.

McCardell indicated he wanted a long-term deal that averaged in the neighborhood of $3 million with a signing bonus of at least $5 million. In other words, the seven-year, $24.5 million deal Morton signed with the earlier this off-season was a benchmark. He fell well short. McCardell settled for a $2 million signing bonus and a four-year, $10 million deal from Tampa Bay.

And Alexander? He signed a three-year, $5.1 million deal with Minnesota because New England wasn¿t willing to offer more and the had him behind McCardell on their wish list.

Alexander is a good fit for the . All signs pointed to him signing there. So you have to wonder, after Alexander visited the Bucs earlier this week, why he said he hoped something could be worked out so he could play for Tampa Bay.

There was no doubt which receiver the Bucs wanted to sign. When McCardell came in for his visit, he was taken to Raymond James Stadium where the cannons were fired and a highlight film was showed on the big screen.

Alexander got in a round of golf with linebacker .

Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden likes Alexander¿s speed and attitude. But in his system, speed isn¿t a prerequisite — please see the stats posted by and in Oakland last season. McCardell is the ideal complement for .

Tough decision

Quarterback was in Houston Friday and had lunch with coach Dom Capers. He has visits scheduled with Jacksonville and Green Bay and would like to make a decision before the end of next week.

¿The longer I wait, the more it hurts my options,¿¿ Batch said.

Batch would obviously be the backup quarterback in Green Bay or Jacksonville. His decision is this: does he go to the for a chance at the title, mark time while the rebuild or at least have a chance to play and boost his stock in Houston.

David Carr is the quarterback of the future and possibly the present. He has been working out with the first team and looks good.

But Batch¿s best chance to play is arguably with the while the rookie gets his cleats on the ground in the NFL. He could sign a one-year deal with Houston then move on before the start of next season.

¿It¿s no secret what they want to do,¿¿ Batch said. ¿Right now, I have to decide if this is the best situation for me.¿¿

Free agent visits

A quick look at the wanderings of some of the other top free agents released by their clubs June 1.

, WR — Minnesota threatened to use him as leverage before Alexander signed. Now, Cincinnati is an option.

, WR — He has visits scheduled with Cincinnati and Jacksonville.

Personally, I¿d like to see him wind up with the . If this guy struggled to get along with Norv Turner, what would the over-under be on shouting matches or suspensions under Tom Coughlin?

, WR — He¿ll be in Pittsburgh this weekend.

, DE — Arizona has an interest, but only if the can get him cheap.

, LB — He was in Green Bay Thursday and Philadelphia Friday. The say they are comfortable with to replace at middle linebacker. Right. So why do they bring a 37-year-old athlete in for a visit?

Philadelphia says Gardner can do the job. Even Trotter, who now plays in Washington, says Gardner can do the job. But the bottom line is this: he hasn¿t.

If I¿m the , I¿m looking at tape of the game against Oakland when Trotter went out early in the third quarter with a leg injury. The won that game, 20-10, and rushed for a season-high 202 yards against the defense. The majority of those yards came when Gardner was on the field.

That¿s why Nickerson makes sense in Philadelphia.

, LB — Oakland has an interest. Talk about coming full circle. The signed Jones as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1991 and converted him from running back to linebacker.

Quick kicks

  • Detroit will bar fans from watching practice in training camp. If the really cared about their fans, they wouldn¿t allow them to attend games during the regular season.

  • There are rumblings that Dwight Clark, who recently stepped down in Cleveland, has discussed the general manager¿s job with Atlanta. A official says owner Arthur Blank is not actively searching to fill the job at this time and the only timetable is that someone is in place before free agency begins in 2003. That doesn¿t mean Clark hasn¿t had an informal discussion about the job.

  • The guess here is that owner Jerry Jones will get more air-time on HBO in August and September than James Gandolifini.

    David Moore can be reached at his e-mail address, dmoore@foxsports.com.

  • Tagged: Falcons, Browns, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Chiefs, Raiders, Vikings, Saints, Eagles, Buccaneers, Redskins, Jaguars, Cardinals, Texans, Charlie Batch, Johnnie Morton, Jerry Rice, Barry Gardner, Freddie Mitchell, Jeremiah Trotter, James Thrash, Duce Staley, Derrick Brooks

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