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Eagles predict more action for Treggs

Bryce Treggs started his route with the opposing cornerback giving him six yards of space. By the time he caught Carson Wentz's pass nearly 50 yards down the field, he was about three yards past the closest defender.

Bryce Treggs started his route with the opposing cornerback giving him six yards of space. By the time he caught Carson Wentz's pass nearly 50 yards down the field, he was about three yards past the closest defender.

Treggs' 58-yard reception in the second quarter of the Eagles' 28-23 loss to the New York Giants was the longest by any Eagles receiver this season. It came in Treggs' first game in a Philadelphia uniform, and the Eagles expect to see more of that in the second half of the season.

"He was very excited to play, obviously," coach Doug Pederson said. "First time to be active. He had two big catches for us. Obviously the explosive play down the field. I think you'll see more of a role for him at least in the coming weeks."

For Eagles fans whose introduction to Treggs came Sunday, another question emerged: What took so long?

Treggs came to the Eagles on Sept. 4., one week before the season opener. He did not know the offense, and he was nursing a knee injury that limited his preseason with the San Francisco 49ers to two games.

He took the roster spot of preseason standout Paul Turner, who knew Pederson's system and could have played Week 1. But the Eagles were unabashed about the decision to add Treggs. Pederson said they wanted to upgrade the roster, and the scouting staff identified Treggs as someone who is "explosive" and has "good speed."

Those weren't descriptions you heard about the Eagles' wide receivers in September - much less in November.

Yet Eagles fans kept waiting to see what the team saw in Treggs. He was off the injury report by Week 2, but he remained a healthy scratch through the first two months of the season.

Two factors were at play. The Eagles initially wanted Treggs to get healthy and acclimated to the system. The second factor was the game-day roster. Even with 53 players on an NFL roster, only 46 can be active on game days. The Eagles have used only four receivers this season, deciding to go with four running backs instead.

Josh Huff's release last week opened space for Treggs, but Pederson said he determined before Huff's release that Treggs would be in the lineup. The decision was made for him after Huff's dismissal tightened the depth chart. And after a Week 8 loss to Dallas, when Wentz did not complete a pass longer than 14 yards, Treggs offered something that the Eagles sorely lacked.

"The thing with Treggs is obviously the speed," Pederson said. "He catches the ball well. He's a smooth route runner. Plus, too, he's young, and he hasn't played for us, so teams really don't know much about him. But much like it was with [Dorial Green-Beckham], we keep it limited, keep the package small. Give him a few plays here and there and see what he can do."

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews said last week that the Eagles didn't need Treggs to go through the whole offense. They just need him to run straight. In fact, before Treggs entered the game for the 58-yard reception, the instructions he received from wide receivers coach Greg Lewis was "run fast."

"That's what I did," Treggs said.

And it wasn't just on the 58-yard reception.

On a third and 9 in the third quarter, Wentz tried hitting Treggs deep down the middle of the field, and Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie appeared to tackle Treggs before the ball reached him. No flag was thrown, but Treggs was past Rodgers-Cromartie on the play.

In the fourth quarter, Rodgers-Cromartie gave Treggs about eight yards of space, and Treggs still raced past him. Wentz underthrew Treggs, allowing Rodgers-Cromartie to catch up, and the pass was incomplete.

"This was the first week he was really taking live practice reps," Wentz said. "We'd get routes on air, but this was the first week we really got after it, so it'll be good to develop this going forward."

Wentz also said that, when there's a "speedster" like Treggs, it changes the way defenses must prepare. The longest reception by an Eagles receiver this season had been a 54-yard catch by Matthews. Green-Beckham and Agholor have not come near that mark. Before Treggs' reception, Wentz threw only three passes of more than 40 yards, and only Matthews' catch was a deep ball. The others involved Darren Sproles' running after the catch.

Treggs played 15 snaps Sunday, and he did not take the field on the final drive. Agholor played 69 snaps. Matthews played 65, and Green-Beckham 49. Even third tight end Trey Burton played more than Treggs, logging 17 snaps.

"I don't count my plays," Treggs told reporters after the game.

When asked if he deserves more playing time, Treggs deferred to the coaching staff.

"That's not my decision," he said. "I can't control that."

Pederson can, though, and he made clear Monday that Treggs' role will only grow in the coming weeks.