Vick, Jackson once produced magic

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
10:35
AM ET
Four years is a long time in the NFL, so it’s not as if a moment -- or game -- that occurred in 2010 is somehow relevant now. It isn’t. But one play, one game, will provide a snapshot of two players who once made the Eagles a feared offense.

One just left. The other could be headed out soon. According to Philly.com, a “source close to DeSean Jackson … said Jackson now believes his departure is inevitable.” Whether or not it really is, time will tell. Regardless, a lot of smoke surrounds Jackson and with the league meetings set to begin Sunday, trade talk -- not just about Jackson -- will escalate.

[+] EnlargeDeSean Jackson
Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty ImagesDeSean Jackson's big-play ability has helped boost the Eagles' offense throughout his career.
Yes, the Eagles will survive the loss of Michael Vick. Yes, they should still have an excellent offense without Jackson, though I’m quite certain the other NFC East defensive coordinators would be quite happy. If I’m Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, I’m texting Eagles coach Chip Kelly to remind him that Jackson is not “his kind of guy.” Hourly.

Anyway, speaking of Haslett, it brings me back to 2010. Vick and Jackson against the Redskins on a "Monday Night Football" game that began with a bang. Redskins safety LaRon Landry, who probably gets out of bed talking trash, started yapping in pregame with Jackson.

One play into the game, Jackson responded and one of the most impressive offensive performances had begun. Vick dropped back, and threw down the middle to Jackson, who easily sped past Landry. An 88-yard touchdown that ignited a 59-28 rout. Funny to say it, but the game wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate -- not that it comes close to suggesting it was.

After the game, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said, “Not too many guys can throw that ball. I don't know how far it went -- 65 yards in the air. That's a great play by Vick and Jackson both.”

Vick went on to have a game that ranks among the best in NFL history, certainly one of the most dominating. The Redskins had no answer for him as Vick was in a zone; his passes zipped, his legs caused infinite amounts of frustration. In the end, Vick finished with 333 yards passing and four touchdowns; 80 yards rushing and two scores. His game set a standard as he became the first player in NFL history to finish a game with at least 300 yards passing, 50 rushing, four touchdown passes and two touchdowns rushing. On the other sideline, a former Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb, continued his downward spiral.

That play, that game, certainly served as a reminder of the prodigious talent Vick possessed and what he could do when everything clicked. There were moments that produced the opposite, whether it was injuries or fastballs that sailed high or wide. But the chance that he could do something spectacular, with his legs or his arm, made him interesting to watch. And scary for defenses.

Ironically, Jackson only caught one other pass in that game, for 10 yards. But he helped make a statement and provided fear in the defense, helping other wideouts get open with his presence.

Even if the Eagles trade Jackson they should still have a good offense; enough weapons remain. But Jackson and Vick were nightmares for defenses as much because of what they could do at any moment versus what they always did. One is done in Philadelphia, the other may soon follow.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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