Howie Roseman expects to replace Jeremy Maclin with internal options

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Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. (Matt Rourke/AP)

The Eagles are looking at internal options to replace Jeremy Maclin, general manager Howie Roseman said. And the team will not just look at the wide receivers to fill in for the injured starting wide receiver.

"We're not only looking at just the wide receiver group; we're looking at the running backs, we're looking at the tight ends, and those are the guys we have high hope and expectations for," Roseman said. "Right now, we're excited about some of the young guys we talked about the positions we talked about."

Roseman mentioned tight ends James Casey and Zach Ertz, two new acquisitions (Casey via free agency, Ertz in the second round of the draft.) The Eagles are also expecting Bryce Brown and Chris Polk to make a leap from Year No. 1 to Year No. 2 at running back.

"[Chip Kelly is] much more personnel driven than even I thought observing him at Oregon," Roseman said. "It's going to be based on the guys who are producing at a high level. If that's the tight end position, they'll get more reps -- if it's the receiver position, if it's the running back group, that's yet to be determined."

At wide receiver, Roseman mentioned said Jason Avant and Riley Cooper are veterans who have roles. He cited some undrafted players, such as Russell Shepard and Ifeanyi Momah. And then he mentioned that the team thinks there's a role for Damaris Johnson. 

One player Roseman did not initially discuss was Arrelious Benn, a talented fourth-year player whom the team acquired during the offseason. Benn, who's been injury prone throughout his career, suffered a knee injury on the first day of camp. It's not a long-term injury, but the team needs to see if he can stay healthy.

How much will the loss of Jeremy Maclin hurt the Eagles this season?

  • 1677 (67.2%)
  • 820 (32.8%)
  • 2497

"He knows he has to get back out here and shows what he's capable of," Kelly said. "He's a talented guy, but part of it is being out and being reliable."

As for Cooper, Kelly was intrigued by Cooper having a full offseason and preseason. Two years ago was the lockout, and he broke his collarbone.

"When you talk about Riley, we talk a lot about traits," Roseman said. "He's big, he's strong, he can go up and get the football. He can block. And for a big guy, he can drop his weight, he can run route. ...He hasn't had a training camp, offseason where he can fully develop and put that to use."

Roseman also expressed his thoughts about Maclin, whose injury was felt throughout the roster. Roseman said Maclin, at age 25, will come back from this injury. There is not yet surgery scheduled to repair Maclin's torn ACL, and he will not need to go on injured reserve until the roster is pared to 76. 

"He's overcome a lot of adversity in his life," Roseman said. "He has a lot of character. we're hurting for him, but at the same time, we got to keep going and find guys. we know in this business guys are going to hurt."

Roseman was sympathetic to the fact that Maclin is in his contract year. Maclin did not hold out, but Roseman pointed out that Maclin thought he could have a better season, which would have improved Maclin's value.

"You're talking about someone in Jeremy who's extremely competitive and thinks that he can play at a higher level than he's been playing at," Roseman said. "So he didn't want to also didn't want to short sell himself. It's always been friendly with talks with him. ...this wasn't a case where we didn't want the player here."

Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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