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Jordan Matthews says loss of Jeremy Maclin hurt his development

The Eagles' leading receiver had a slow start to 2015 after being thrust into No. 1 role.
Jordan Matthews finished the year with 997 receiving yards.Getty Images

Among the many mistakes former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly made, not being able to resign Jeremy Maclin was one of them.

While there is some blurriness over exactly what happened last offseason that lead Maclin, the Birds' leading receiver in 2014, to reunite with Andy Reid in Kansas City, one thing is certain -- the Eagles missed him.

"Look from the first game to now. I struggled out there," Jordan Matthews said Sunday after a 35-30 win over the Giants to end the 2015 season."I wasn't playing my best but I got a lot better. Even going into this year, losing Maclin, that was a serious blow. You don't want to make excuses but that really effected us.

Matthews has had a stellar pair of seasons with the Eagles after being drafted in the second round last season. He had85 receptions this season, tiedfor the fourth-highest single-season total in team history.

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Imagine if he had a little help during his sophomore year.

"Youcan even look over at Green Bay," the wideout said."They have one of the best offenses in the league but you cant tellme Randall Cobb wasn't effected when Jordy Nelsonwent out. It goes hand in hand. Whenthat happenedbeing thrust into that position, there were some growing pains, some discomfort. My mentality throughout the season, it's time to make that step and be the No. 1 receiver for this team."

Matthews was just three yards shy Sunday of eclipsing1,000 yards on the year, a milestone for receivers in the NFL. It only makes the big slot-receiver (who will likely move outside next season) more motivated.

"Everybody is asking me about 1,000 yards," Matthews said."I think it's fitting I ended the season thatclose. Itmakes me even morehungry going into the offseason."

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