The Philadelphia Eagles Won't Miss DeSean Jackson
I never realized that so many people thought DeSean Jackson was a great receiver until the Eagles unceremoniously punted him to the curb for conduct detrimental to the team. Me? I always thought he was completely overrated.
Now don't get me wrong, I think he has value around the league and the Eagles screwed up by not getting even a mid-round draft pick for him, but I don't think the team will suffer without him. And I also don't think the Redskins are going to be better with him. The Skins still have a horrible defense and absolutely no offensive line. Now that they dropped a 3-year, $24 million contract on Jackson, with $16 million guaranteed, they won't be able to address those glaring needs anytime in the near future. There's also the fact that Jackson decided to skip the first offseason workouts with his new team because he had a vacation planned. Dan Snyder and D-Jax deserve each other.
Anyway, back to DeSean being overrated.
All of the Jackson supporters claim that the Eagles offense won't be the same without Jackson's ability to stretch the field. Too bad it's not true. As a matter of fact, after Nick Foles became the quarterback, Riley Cooper actually had more catches of 40+ yards than Jackson. Jackson had eight 40+ yard receptions to Cooper's six, but half of Jackson's long gains were with Mike Vick at QB. Vick is gone, so there goes that.
And speaking of the quarterback play, once Foles took over, all of Jackson's stats decreased. Jackson averaged 98 yards with Vick at QB and only 73 with Foles and his targets decreased from 6.2 to 4.8 per game. Jackson also reached 60 yards in only one of the last six games. That brings us to another little tidbit that I found very interesting.
Will the Eagles Miss DeSean Jackson
Jackson stinks in the cold.
Jackson has 20 career 100-yard games, but half of them are in September. As a matter of fact, he's averaged 85 yards per game in September, but only 66 in every other month. Remember, he grew up in California and went to college at Cal, so he's not used to the cold weather. It gets even worse. In nine dome games he's averaged 102 yards, but outside he only averaged 66 yards per game. I guess it's a good thing the Redskins play all their games in either warm weather or a dome, right?
I also love how everybody points out how great Jackson was last year, because he had a career season with 82 receptions, for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns, but they completely ignore the fact that he comes up small in the playoffs. In the postseason, Jackson has only averaged 3.2 catches and 54 yards per game. That is not the production of a true No. 1 receiver. That's the production of an overrated, undersized guy who can be easily shut down by the better defenses in the NFL.
All of those stats prove that the Eagles won't miss Jackson as much as his defenders predict. And let's not forget his career might be over the next time he gets hit and suffers another concussion.
The main question for the Eagles is how are they going to replace all those catches and yards Jackson produced last season? My answer is that it won't be just one guy. Those catches and yards will be spread around.
Fans assume the Eagles will simply draft a receiver to replace Jackson. But it's just not realistic to expect a rookie to produce like a No. 1 receiver, even if he is a high pick. The Eagles have the No. 22 pick in the draft and probably don't have enough other picks to move up in the draft. Besides, the Eagles defense still has multiple holes that need to be filled in the draft. I want them to draft one of the top safeties; Hasean "Ha-Ha" Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor. If they choose to take a receiver at 22, the two best options will certainly be gone. Receivers Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans will be long gone when the Eagles pick and no other receiver in this draft is a sure-fire difference -maker. The just brought USC's Marquise Lee in for a visit, but he wouldn't even start for the Eagles in 2014.
The reason he wouldn't start is that the Eagles re-signed Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin as the starters. Cooper is a decent No. 2 receiver and quarterback Nick Foles obviously trusts him to go up and get the ball when he throws it to him. Maclin is coming off ACL surgery, but he was a productive receiver before he got hurt. His last fully healthy season was 2010, when he had 70 receptions for 964 yards and 10 touchdowns. And that was in Andy Reid's craptacular offense with turnover-machine Vick at quarterback. Expect Maclin to enjoy a career year in Kelly's offense, just like Jackson did last season.
DeSean Jackson is an Idiot
Then there are the tight ends. Last year at this time, we all heard about how Kelly would be running a lot of two tight end sets after they added free agent James Casey and drafted Zach Ertz to compliment Brent Celek. While Casey proved to be nothing more than a special teams player, Ertz showed promise. Expect Ertz to take over as the No. 1 tight end this season with plenty of two tight end alignments with Celek, who might become more of a blocker at this stage of his career. Don't forget, Ertz is a matchup nightmare for opposing defense at 6'5", 250 pounds with 4.68 speed.
And finally, the Eagles traded for Darren Sproles knowing full well that they were getting rid of Jackson. Yes, I know Sproles is a running back, not a wide receiver, but he is one of the best pass catching backs in the NFL. As a matter of fact, Sproles has had more receptions than rushing attempts in three of the last four seasons. Imagine the fun Kelly is going to have devising ways to get Sproles matched up on an opposing linebacker. I even imagine Sproles and the NFL's reigning rushing leader, LeSean McCoy, will be on the field at the same time. No other team in the NFL can match that receiving talent coming out of the backfield. Remember how many times Jackson lined up in the backfield last season? Sproles will be even better in that role.
My point is that no one player will replace Jackson's output from last season. It will be a combination of players and different alignments that help keep the Eagles' offense among the NFL's elite.
I firmly believe that the Eagles won't miss DeSean Jackson next season due to all the facts and stats I have presented here. He's Washington's problem now. Well, whenever he gets back from his vacation, that is.