As a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, I cannot tell you that I am excited about playing against DeSean Jackson twice per season. That’s my boy right there, the electric playmaker that makes his presence felt with statistics and intangibles.
The NFL die-hard follower in me, understands the business aspect and the concerns off the field. If the Aaron Hernandez scenario last summer doesn’t convince you that the league is shifting it’s approach, nothing will.
There will always be that second chance for a good player like we’ve seen countless times, as long as they are legally cleared. Apparently, Jackson has been a distraction since Andy Reid was the head coach. Being an avid spectator of the Eagles, both during the seasons and in reflection this offseason, the locker room and demeanor took a considerable dip. Like I said, Jackson is one of my favorite players and I’m still going to root for him individually, but Philadelphia moved on from a veteran coach to a college coach in Chip Kelly. That means, only those behind closed doors are aware of the current and future plans, and perhaps still learning Kelly’s system and tendencies. So anything we thought we knew before about this team, is up for interpretation because of this new regime.
Washington should be excited, despite the offense being led by the youthful backfield of Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris, the Redskins are made up of veteran players. In their situation, they improve by adding a Pro Bowler at multiple positions, which came from a division rival. Pierre Garcon has been the standout receiver since joining the Nation’s Capital, the speedster tandem with Jackson will be lethal in new coach Jay Gruden’s offense. Washington also happened to sign Andre Roberts away from Arizona while re-signing Santana Moss, which absolutely boosts Griffin’s arsenal to another level.
On the flip-side, Kelly and the Eagles believe in their system and will lean on the former college coach’s recruiting come draft weekend. They obviously feel like they can get similar production by whomever they plug into the role vacated by Jackson. That doesn’t necessarily have to come from one receiver, say Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper. The thinking is the big picture, giving defenses more to focus on than they can account for, insert second year tight end Zach Ertz and the newly acquired Darren Sproles. As a rookie, Ertz played more as the season progressed, excelling as a receiver in the middle of the field. Sproles, if you don’t know the book on him already, this guy gets a hand-off behind jumbo lineman or a swing/screen pass in space and racks up the YAC. It looks like this group, by committee, along with tight end Brent Celek and whoever they add in the draft, to continue their fastest-pace in the league to light up the scoreboard.
By the way, that’s merely talking about the passing attack of a team that led the Nation Football League in rushing. That’s right, LeSean McCoy is the highlight reel home-run threat. Nick Foles certainly has to improve over the offseason, although he had an impressive first year starting, the film is out there for opponents to dissect. In case you didn’t know, my prediction of Foles coming out of Arizona to emerge as the Eagles starter finally came to fruition. I bought into him, and I recommend jumping on the bandwagon sooner than later.