This next sentence will make you feel old.
The oldest wide receiver currently on the Eagles roster is 24-year-old Jordan Matthews, who is entering his third NFL season. Buthe likes it that way.
"It's different but I like it," Matthews said after practice Tuesday."I like situations where everybody feels they have to go work. When guys get to year nine, year 10, you see,'I know of got this.' That works for some people, but I like rooms where you have to go work."
Matthews, who'sbeen nursing a knee injury and has yet to play in a preseason game, expects to be ready for Week 1 against the Brownsand is back at practice again. After just falling short of 1,000 yards receiving last year, the Vanderblitproduct is embracing the role as elder wide receiver — even if the title is a bit premature.
"We have a young group, man," the wideout said."You can look at that one way, that it's a really young group, but I look at it that there should be no egos, and no one guy has it all figured out."
Enter 6-foot-5, 237 pound Dorial Green-Beckham, who the Eagles took a chance on two weeks ago and who appears to be a lock to make the 53-man roster. He certainly doesn't have it figured out, and at age 23, he's looking to start over.
After a troubled rookie season off the field, the Titans' second round pick needs a strong influence in the Eagles locker room to keep him focused. And surprisingly, the wide receivers room appears to be a safe haven for him.
"The attitude in the room, starting in the classroom everyone has a smart, positive mindset," DGB said. "We aren't afraid to say what's on our mind if we see something on the field.
"They are putting me out there and just letting me play football. Being around the guys and seeing that they are helping me learn stuff is always great."
Matthews sets the toneand tries to make the mentality of "team first" the only one the wide receivers hear. And it appears to be working.
"You stop playing for public opinion and go out there playing for the guy next to you and to get respect from your opponents and your teammates," Matthews said. "I like a room like that. When you have young guys that facilitates it. DGB, you can't take a day off; Nelson [Agholor], you can't take a day off; Josh [Huff], you can't take a day off — and I definitely can't."
But Matthews isn't the only leader the young receivers look to. Other veterans at other positionsare leading by example, despite the lack of an experienced pass-catcher to set the tone.
"For me personally, if there's noguys in myroom specifically I get tips and tidbits[in other places]," he said. "I watch how Malcolm [Jenkins]does something at safety and how he practices and I implement it. I watch [Jason Peters], I watch Sam [Bradford], I watch [Jason]Kelce, Connor [Barwin], I take tips from all those guys, it doesn't always haveto be in the locker room."
For a position group that has been written off by most NFL talent evaluators as being young, shallow and one of the weakest in the league — the Eagles certainly have the opposite opinion. And perhaps their youthful optimismcan become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"Within this offense we have so many playmakers, so many guys who can make a big play and fortunately I am one of those guys," Huff said.