The argument can be made pretty easily that the current group of Eagles receivers/tight ends is the strongest of the Andy Reid era.
The only other group that even enters the discussion is the 2004-05 Terrell Owens team that reached the Super Bowl.
Here are a few charts comparing the receivers and tight ends during the two seasons:
It's worth noting that T.O. played in 14 regular-season games, and Jackson played in 15. Obviously, they are two completely different receivers, but that's how the numbers stack up.
Hard to believe that Pinkston averaged more yards per catch in '04 than Jackson last season, but it's true.
And for the tight ends, I combined numbers for L.J. Smith and Chad Lewis from '04.
|Lewis and Smith||63||644||8||10.2|
Statistically and otherwise speaking, the T.O. performance in '04 was superior to the Jackson performance in '09. I'm not sure many would argue otherwise.
Other than that, though, the '09 performances were better.
An obvious question to ask is: How much did the Eagles pass in '09, compared to '04? Naturally, more attempts and completions would lead to better numbers for the receivers and tight ends.
It's pretty amazing how similar the team passing numbers were in the two years. Take a look:
The other striking difference is the age of the players discussed. Owens was 31; Jackson 23. Pinkston 27; Maclin 21. Mitchell and Avant were both 26. Smith was 24; Lewis 33; and Celek 24.
The data above focuses on the receivers and tight ends. What goes unmentioned are the contributions to the passing game from the running backs. Brian Westbrook of course lined up all over the place in '04 and was the team's second-leading receiver with 73 catches for 703 yards. LeSean McCoy last season had 40 catches for 308 yards.
And, of course, there's Donovan McNabb's performance. He was on a different level in 2004.
Believe it or not, I actually had a reason for checking these things out. Yahoo Sports' Jason Cole ranks the league's receiving corps, defined as wide receivers and tight ends. The Eagles come in at No. 9.
Quarterback play and receiver/tight end play is obviously directly related. Of the eight teams Cole has ahead of the Eagles, all but two had a guy among the top eight in QB rating.
What do you think? Are the Eagles too low? Too high? The teams ranked above them, starting at the top are: the Colts, Saints, Chargers, Vikings, Packers, Cardinals, Texans, Falcons.