James Thrash spent the first four seasons of his NFL career, playing for the Washington Redskins. Upon signing with Philadelphia, head coach Andy Reid stated that he had interest in Thrash his entire career, and was tired of seeing him in a Redskins uniform. Ironically, Thrash was in Eagles training camp in 1997 as a rookie free agent, but released by then head coach Ray Rhodes. Lets just say that his second go-round in midnight green has gone better than his first.
Known by his teammates and members of the front office, as the hardest working player on the team, Thrash has become Donovan McNabb’s target for long passes in crucial situations. He’s been able to spread the field and beat corners deep for a key touchdown against the Giants in 2001, in a game that clinched the team’s first division title in ten years, and had a breakout game against the Seahawks that same season. However in 2002, when McNabb discovered more weapons on the offense, Thrash took on a slightly lesser role.
Last season, Todd Pinkston emerged as a guy who has some breakaway speed and can catch balls all over the field. Combine that with Thrash’s struggles to get open, and that meant some touches were taken away from him in 2002. In one season, Thrash dropped from recording 63 receptions to 52, and went from tallying 833 yards to 635. Those are some serious drops in production.
Although those are still some formidable numbers, many fans and football experts have called for Thrash to be lower on the Eagles depth chart for years, now. During his time in Washington, Thrash occupied the slot receiver role, and many argued why that should change here. This season, it appears that Pinkston may emerge as the number one guy, and Thrash could fall into the number two spot. This may give him an opportunity to get down the field against some weaker cornerbacks, and put up the type of numbers he is capable of.
James Thrash is still a weapon in this offense, and with more pieces falling into place; he should once again be a marquee guy on this team. The bond shared between him and McNabb is what makes this duo so entertaining to watch. If James Thrash can return to his form of 2001, we could see an even more improved Donovan McNabb as well. Look for Thrash to become the number two receiver and provide the spark this team needs down the stretches of games.