J.J. Arcega-Whiteside Steals Rookies' Show

The second-year WR caught three touchdowns during red-zone work at practice, putting talk of the stellar play of three drafted rookie pass-catchers on the backburner for a day
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PHILADELPHIA – Those rookie wide receivers keep grabbing the attention, but it’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside who is looking new and improved.

The second-year receiver caught three touchdowns in red-zone work late in Wednesday’s practice, two from Carson Wentz, one from Nate Sudfeld, and in different areas of the end zone.

His first, from Sudfeld, was in the back left of the end zone and he had to leap to get it between two defenders, Rasul Douglas and Will Parks. 

His second required him to stretch out and dive along the back middle of the end zone to snare a low dart before finishing up with a one-handed stab in the back left of the end zone that he tipped to himself, with Greg Ward nearby.

Asked to describe one, with not enough detail about which one, Arcega-Whiteside said, “You’re going to have to be more specific, I think I had two or three of those today.”

It’s the kind of confident answer Arcega-Whiteside wouldn’t have given last year, but he seems to be oozing with it this year.

“I felt like last year I was worried about a lot of outside things, what people thought of me, how people react to this catch, or this touchdown, or this mistake,” he said. “This year, I really don’t care about much outside of what happens in this facility other than what’s going on with my family, and I’ve been having a lot more fun.”

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 The catch that was asked about, at least from the way Arcega-Whiteside understood it – it was hard to keep all three TDs straight, after all – was the one he caught with Ward in the vicinity.

“I think it might have been intended for Ward,” said Arcega-Whiteside. “We were there, but like I said, scramble drill, get to a spot, and get open. A lot of times that does happen, two people end up in the same spot.

“I immediately went up to Ward and said, ‘Dang I might have took that from you.’ He was like, ‘I don’t care, we scored, that’s all that matters.’”

Ward and Arcega-Whiteside seem to be developing a nice bond, at least that’s according to JJAW.

“Every day, I get in the huddle, and me and Greg we give each other kind of like a pep talk, I guess,” said Arcega-Whiteside. “Like, ‘Hey, stay positive, keep things going, you make a mistake, I’ll pick you up. You make a mistake, vice versa.’

“On top of that, we have a lot of young, energetic guys. We have a great vibe in the room to where if one guy makes a mistake, we’re all going to pick each other. When one guy does something good, we’ll all be there to celebrate with him.”

Those young guys again.

Their names – Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins – always come up.

Pederson was asked about Hightower and Watkins, specifically, prior to Wednesday’s practice.

“Obviously that's been kind of a battle spot for us at that receiver position, those two guys kind of competing as receivers,” said the coach. “It is unfortunate, again, as I mentioned, but we're making the most of it in these practices to put them in positions to succeed.

“I like where both of them are. They're making progress each and every day, and it's an interesting battle as we come down to this last week of camp.”

For a day, anyway, it was a second-year player who stole some of the rookie thunder.

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