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Scott Pianowski

Kevin Curtis down, DeSean Jackson up

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You can't blame Donovan McNabb if he looks around the league and feels "receiver envy." The Eagles traditionally offer one of the weakest collections of talent on the outside (let's just forget the TO experiment), and it looks like 2008 will start that way again.

Kevin Curtis was set to be the No. 1 guy entering this season, but that plan is in the trash now. The team announced Wednesday that Curtis is headed for hernia surgery and is out indefinitely. A specific timetable wasn't announced, but it's hard to imagine Curtis returning before Week 4 at the earliest (and that sounds ambitious to me). The injury puts the Eagles down two receivers, as Reggie Brown is dealing with a hamstring problem of his own and will miss his second game this weekend.

Rookie DeSean Jackson is the most intriguing of the in-house replacement options, even with his limited experience. He was a second-round pick in April and the most optimistic draftniks compared him to Carolina's Steve Smith; a small but dynamic playmaker, lightning-quick (4.35 in the 40), someone who can get deep. You know the drill with rookie wideouts, it's a steep adjustment curve, but Jackson has acquitted himself well in the two exhibitions (12 catches, 122 yards). He's sitting 69th in the Yahoo! Composite rankings, and a significant upgrade will surely come in the next batch. He's currently running in Brown's starting slot.

Holdovers Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett will also get a chance to start, not that they've shown anything exciting the last few years. Lewis does six grabs for 82 yards and a touchdown this month, while Baskett has four catches for 53 yards.

Andy Reid says the Eagles aren't going to bring in a new receiver at this time; we'll see if that stance changes in the next few days. Put down that phone, Todd Pinkston.

I'll probably move Donovan McNabb down a slot or two on my new sheet, but let's not do anything radical until we know more about Curtis's status and what the Eagles are doing to replace him. Sound good? Good. And Jackson should be on everyone's radar now as a medium-to-late sleeper, even in medium and shallow leagues. Let's give this situation a long look Friday night when Philadelphia plays at New England; the third preseason game is generally the dress rehearsal for most clubs.

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