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McLane: Without a trade, Eagles are in trouble at receiver

Time is running out if the Eagles hope to upgrade at wide receiver, otherwise it's Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and Josh Huff on the outside for the rest of the season.

Time is running out if the Eagles hope to upgrade at wide receiver, otherwise it's Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and Josh Huff on the outside for the rest of the season.

So unless Howie Roseman emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, expect a Groundhog Day-like repeat of dropped passes, poorly-run routes and penalties for the next nine games.

The NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. Tuesday and while there have been reports linking the Eagles to the 49ers' Torrey Smith and the Bears' Alshon Jeffery, coach Doug Pederson continued to insist that his team wasn't likely to make a deal for a receiver.

"As far as I know, we're not making any moves," Pederson said Monday. "The guys we have are the guys we have. We're going to continue to work and get better at that position."

Pederson left some wiggle room. As far as I know leaves the door open for a trade because the coach technically might not know what Roseman is working on behind the scenes. However unlikely that may be, Pederson has an out in case the Eagles executive is able to swing a trade.

Roseman is likely having conversations with a host of teams for any number of players and positions, but the Eagles have no greater need than at receiver. The 29-23 overtime loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night only hammered that season-long point home.

Eagles receivers had six drops, five if the estimate was conservative. They had a combined 20 catches on 28 targeted passes for 154 yards and a touchdown - if slot Jordan Matthews is included - which equated to just 7.7 yards per grab or 5.5 yards per attempt from Carson Wentz.

Pederson's conservative play-calling played a part in Wentz's dinking and dunking, but there weren't any obvious examples of receivers running free deep and it's likely the rookie quarterback is increasingly losing faith in any of them to make a play downfield.

Wentz defended his receivers, though, each of whom had a drop in Texas.

"I think a lot of them were contested. A lot of them were tough plays," Wentz said after the game. "I've got to help them out, too. That low one to [Green-Beckham], that would have been a touchdown if I had got it up."

Agholor was asked about the drops and went off on a 30-second diatribe that was tone deaf considering the group's struggles.

"At the end of the day, man, that [stuff] means nothing," Agholor told reporters in the visitors' locker room at AT&T Stadium. "You've just got to make the next one. Everybody runs routes. Sometimes they're contested. Sometimes we drop them, but if you make as many as you possibly can that come your way you're going to put yourself in a good position.

"No one's perfect. I don't look at no drops, that type of [stuff]. I'm tired of hearing it. It's stupid. We play football. I dropped the first one. I ain't dropped one after that. What does it matter? Because if we lose now we're going to place blame on this person did this.

"No, as a team we've got a responsibility to win football games and I get it. Some plays could have helped. But there's still four quarters of football to be played."

Agholor was clearly frustrated. And his larger point, that there were other missed opportunities that contributed to the loss, had some credibility. But he was asked specifically about one subject, and he may be the one player on the roster who can't afford to downplay anything related to his performance.

The former first-round draft pick has improved since his rookie season, but only marginally. Agholor has played 82 percent of the snaps this season, second only to Matthews (90 percent) among skill-position players. And he has just 21 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown. His 30.9 receiving yards per game rank 122nd in the NFL.

"I'm disappointed in the type of comments," Pederson said when asked about Agholor. "I think each individual has to be responsible for their own job, obviously. We've got to make good, smart choices. Everybody's mad and disappointed and angry after tough losses like we just went through.

"Cooler heads prevail. We just have to bite our lip sometimes and just suck it up and get to work."

Green-Beckham has become a more integral part of the offense with each passing week, and he had his best game numbers-wise - five catches for 55 yards - but the second-year receiver is still inconsistent. He had two penalties and a drop, and although Wentz was low on the pass he alluded to, Green-Beckham still had an opportunity to make the grab.

It was one of the few times Wentz threw beyond 10 yards. There was a 15-plus-yard attempt to Matthews on a corner route, but he dropped that one, too. The lack of explosive plays hasn't exactly crippled the offense. The Eagles did score 23 points. But they have been held under 300 total yards for three straight games - the first time that's occurred since 2003.

"I think what we've seen the last couple of weeks, [opponents] are just playing their defense," Pederson said. "They are teams that are just executing their defense and not necessarily taking one aspect away from our offense."

It's not as if Eagles tight ends or running backs, save for Darren Sproles, have been compensating for the receivers' inefficiency. But barring a trade, Pederson and Wentz will have to ride Agholor, Green-Beckham, and Huff the rest of the way.

Unless rookie Bryce Treggs, who has been inactive all season, is some hidden gem. But more often than not, players who don't dress on Sundays are watching from the sidelines for good reason.