Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson

McCoy on Jackson release: 'It's a surprise'

April, 13, 2014
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Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy hosted a youth football camp at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, N.J., and discussed a variety of topics with area reporters on Saturday.

Here are the highlights of what McCoy spoke about:
  • McCoy
    On the loss of DeSean Jackson: "I mean, it’s a surprise for sure. I think anyone that tells you that they’re happy with it is … I don’t know how honest that would be.”
  • More on the move to release Jackson: "DeSean was by far one of the best playmakers in the game and the biggest deep threat there is in the game. So some big shoes to fill for sure. But then again, I think the front office obviously knows what they’re doing. You make a move like that, you obviously have something up your sleeve, you know you can get something that’s similar or even better.”
  • On the team’s plan moving forward: "I wish I knew. I’m sure (GM) Howie (Roseman) and the guys have something up their sleeve, and they make a move like that, they obviously know something. And I have trust in them. I think the team they put together so far with bringing in (Darren) Sproles and making different moves and signing guys, they know what they’re doing. I just think with losing DeSean there’s definitely some shoes to fill.”
  • On Eagles coach Chip Kelly: "Chip is different. He’s a cool guy, he’s honest, he loves hard work and (being) respectful. We have a great relationship. I think people are getting the wrong picture because he cut one of his best players. That was a decision he made. As far as personality-wise, Chip, he does well with everybody.”

Jackson will add to Eagles-Redskins rivalry

April, 8, 2014
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When the much-anticipated NFL schedule is announced soon, the Philadelphia Eagles will surely point to two games against the Washington Redskins.

How could they not?

With lightning-quick wide receiver DeSean Jackson now suiting up for the Redskins, those two games will be as entertaining as any this coming season.

It will definitely add to their NFC East rivalry.

"It's going to be exciting, especially for the Philly fanbase, and the city of Philadelphia," Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin told Comcast SportsNet via CSNPhilly.com. "But it's just another game, man, against a division opponent, [and] we want to dominate the division. We're looking forward to it, but I think the most important thing is just to approach it like it's any other game."

Instead of being teammates, Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin will soon have the difficult job of containing Jackson.

"They're a rival of ours," Boykin said in the interview posted on CSNPhilly.com. "They had a tough year last year, but they're coming back strong. We're looking forward to it and it's going to be a challenge."

It won't be easy to replace Jackson's 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns, but the Eagles proved they could still accumulate huge numbers with an unproven quarterback in Nick Foles and a number of other young players.

The Eagles still managed to improve their win total from four to 10, which resulted in an NFC East title and a trip to the playoffs. The Eagles lost to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round, but it was a terrific start under coach Chip Kelly.

"The guys upstairs made the decision for a reason," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy told FoxSports.com. "When you do things like that, you have backup plans in your mind. You don't let one of the top wide receivers go and then not have anything to back it up. I'm sure coach Kelly and [general manager] Howie [Roseman], they'll be able to take care of it."
The Philadelphia Eagles were active in keeping their own players, such as Jeremy Maclin, Jason Kelce and Riley Cooper. They were active in signing free agents, such as safety Malcolm Jenkins, and trading for running back Darren Sproles.

But the biggest move was cutting wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who stayed in the NFC East by signing with the Washington Redskins.

In ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's Grade A draft, he plays general manager for the Eagles, not Howie Roseman or Chip Kelly. What would Mel do as GM?

Find out here. Insider


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The NFL's fame and glory machine didn't spit out DeSean Jackson this time around. It just showed him the blueprint.

Jackson is too young and too good for his ugly release last week by the Philadelphia Eagles to end his career. Regardless of anything that came out publicly (or whatever the Eagles or other teams may know privately) about the off-field detriments that undermine Jackson's wondrous on-field benefits, someone was going to pick him up.

[+] EnlargeDeSean Jackson
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsAt 27, DeSean Jackson must realize that his relatively young NFL career is at risk.
The Washington Redskins didn't waste time and they didn't scrimp.

But what Jackson got to see was the manner in which the machine will spit him out if he lets it. A team can cut you, it turns out, without explaining why, and can let everyone assume it's because of the way you act and the friends you hang out with away from the field. A team can do this and have the wide NFL world nod in agreement at phrases like "doesn't fit" and "what's best for the football team."

So while the week's debate has been about whether this turn of events is good/bad for the Eagles, good/bad for the Redskins, good/bad for the Jets or any other team that may have been involved or interested, why not take a moment to debate whether this is good for the player? Is getting cut by the Eagles and signed by the Redskins going to benefit DeSean Jackson? Or is the machine determined to spit him out long before his desire and skill level dictate that it must?

I've been talking to people about Jackson for three years now, and here are a few things I believe I know:

Jackson is not an evil person. The Aaron Hernandez comparisons you may have heard or read are shameful and irresponsible. One guy is in jail on first-degree murder charges. The guy we're talking about here appears to have some childhood friends with shady connections. That's a pretty wide gulf, and it deserves to be treated as such in our analysis. We could sit here and say that someone of Jackson's fame and wealth is risking a lot if he refuses to cut ties with people who have nothing to lose. And if he's allegedly flashing gang signs after touchdowns, on his Instagram page or in his videos, as the police officers in the NJ.com story that hit last week minutes before his release say he has, then he's doing himself a disservice.

Jackson is a 27-year-old who's been famous for almost half his life, but he knows the right thing to do with his platform. He goes into schools to speak actively against bullying, talking to bullies, victims, teachers ... anyone who can help with the problem. He doesn't just throw money at his causes; he works actively to help.

But he also conveys an untethered element. He was incredibly close with his father, who died quickly and cruelly from pancreatic cancer in 2009, and people who have spent time around Jackson will tell you the past five years have been rough. I once asked a player in the Eagles' locker room about Jackson and was told, "Not a bad guy, but sometimes you shake your head." I have heard stories about him pouting in the locker room. He himself admitted to dealing poorly with his last contract year; he let it affect him on the field, and he was suspended for missed meetings. Eagles personnel have for years expressed concern about the extent to which Jackson liked to focus on making rap music, sometimes to the detriment of his football business, in their opinion.

And the NJ.com story got into his off-field associations in pretty strong detail. While the national takeaway was the uber-simplistic bit about alleged gang ties, the reasonable takeaway is that Jackson doesn't always make the best-looking choices. What I know about gang culture couldn't fill a shot glass, but I don't think DeSean Jackson is in a street gang.

The problem Jackson has now is that, right or wrong, some people who've been following this story for the past week do think he's in a gang. So the next time the NFL's fame and glory machine finds him caught in the works and tries to spit him out, there's going to be a chorus that thinks it's the right thing to do.

I wonder if he's in the right environment to succeed. The Redskins have a new, inexperienced head coach in Jay Gruden. They have a 28-year-old first-time offensive coordinator in Sean McVay. They have an attention-magnet quarterback in Robert Griffin III who's coming off a year that handed him a slate of his own problems to work out. The Redskins have lost locker-room leadership in recent years, most significantly with the retirement of London Fletcher. One of the top leaders on their offense is wide receiver Santana Moss, whose roster spot one would think is in jeopardy as a result of the Jackson signing. If Jackson is looking for another tether now that the Eagles' tether has been severed, it may be tough for him to find it in Washington.

Which makes it even more important for Jackson to realize what's happened here and work to make sure he's prepared the next time it happens. It's important for a lesson to be learned. Jackson doesn't have to change who he is or what he does away from the field if he doesn't want to. But his is now an at-risk career at the age of 27, and he needs to understand that. The next time the machine tries to spit him out, it's going to have a lot more impetus than it did this time around. Jackson's mission going forward is to fight that off -- to realize he's under a new and frightening kind of scrutiny, and to work to make sure he doesn't give anyone a reason to think he's something he's not.
If DeSean Jackson signs with the Washington Redskins, would that be OK with you?

Pairing Jackson up with Robert Griffin III at quarterback and Pierre Garcon at wide receiver would give new coach Jay Gruden a pretty good 1-2 punch to throw at the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East. Add running back Alfred Morris and those defenses could be in a pick your poison kind of stance with the Redskins’ ability to run the ball and throw it.

As Dan Graziano pointed out in the New York Giants’ blog, the Giants should want Jackson out of the division. In 12 games against New York, Jackson has averaged 76 receiving yards per game, he has four receiving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and two returns for touchdowns. He has not been as dynamic against the Dallas Cowboys with 36 catches for 674 yards and a touchdown in 10 regular-season games.

The last time a hyped receiver left Philadelphia and went to an NFC East rival was in 2006 when the Cowboys signed Terrell Owens. In six regular-season game against the Eagles, Owens had 26 catches for 471 yards and three touchdowns.

In Dallas’ 38-17 win at Lincoln Financial Field, Owens caught 10 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown.

He reviled in his returns to Philly and Eagles fans had fun with him as well. They burned his jerseys in the parking lot before his return in 2006.

What type of reaction would Jackson receive if he came in as a member of the Redskins?

Jeremy Maclin's bet could pay off

March, 31, 2014
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Jeremy Maclin was betting on himself when he decided to sign a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.

Maclin
He has a chance to cash in with a big 2014, and that chance got better when the Eagles decided to part ways with DeSean Jackson.

"I didn't really think about it," Maclin said in this Philadelphia Inquirer story. "I think my value is my value, regardless of who I have playing around me. That's my mindset and how I approach the situation."

The question for Maclin is his knee injury. Adrian Peterson has ruined the expectations for every player coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, setting a bar almost impossibly high. He ran for 2,097 yards in 2012 after tearing his ACL. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tore his ACL but was not the same in 2013 as he was in 2012, and ex-coach Mike Shanahan ended his season early.

The normal progression is it takes a full year for a player to feel whole again.

While ACL comebacks are more common these days, the rehab is still a tedious process. Maclin is expected to be ready to go when training camp begins, but the Eagles could limit his work in the offseason program.

Maclin has big-play ability -- 26 touchdown catches in four seasons -- but he has never had more than 964 yards in a season. He has never caught more than 70 passes in a season. While he knows what Chip Kelly’s offense is about after being around the team, he hasn’t gone through it on the field before.

Patience on both ends will be wise. Maclin will have to be patient with his recovery. The Eagles will have to be patient with Maclin.

The reward for the patience could be big for both sides.
This is a sad situation for the Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

Even with the report from anonymous sources, it's difficult to figure out where the lion's share of blame belongs in this breakup.

[+] EnlargeKelly/Jackson
AP Photo/Michael PerezIt appears the Eagles and Chip Kelly didn't want to invest any more time in receiver DeSean Jackson.
The Eagles released Jackson, their most explosive player, on Friday afternoon. A report by NJ.com alleges that Jackson has ties to Los Angeles gang members. The report shows a photo of Jackson flashing what can be perceived as gang signs.

Is that report part of the reason for Jackson's release? Did the team have issues with Jackson's alleged affiliations? Was his attitude toward meetings and practices not serious enough for the team?

The problem I have with all this is the failure of the two sides to stay on the same page for the greater good of the team. Why couldn't Jackson play within the rules? Why didn't the Eagles try harder to get their message across?

I find it difficult to believe that the Eagles could not talk things through with their leading receiver.

Why not confront him about being questioned by Los Angeles police regarding a friend of his, who is allegedly a gang member?

Why not demand he report to work on time? Show effort in practice?

I’m not saying Jackson has to be a choirboy. You find flaws in players, coaches and owners up and down every NFL roster. How a team manages those flaws can often be the difference between disarray and raising championship trophies.

Jackson isn’t the only player in the NFL who has alleged ties to gang members. People in all walks of life come across gang members, criminals and simply bad human beings. Are they all guilty by association?

Jackson isn’t the only player in the NFL with questionable work habits. Players have been late for meetings and shown disdain for practice since organized sports were created.

It's hard for me to believe the Eagles made the decision because of his practice habits. I'm just waiting for Jackson to respond by channeling another famous, but highly criticized, Philadelphia athlete. "Practice?! We talkin' about practice?!"

If the Eagles really wanted Jackson around, they would have formulated a plan to get him in the right place.

A league source told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that the Eagles decided to release Jackson for a number of reasons, but most involved "work ethic and attitude."

The same source said the Eagles learned Wednesday night about Jackson's alleged associations in Los Angeles, and that report "raised their level of concern.”

Really? With as much as the team had invested in Jackson, they found out about those alleged relationships only this week? As sophisticated as scouting and security is in the NFL, it's very difficult to believe the Eagles didn't know who their star wide receiver was hanging out with from the time he was drafted until the time he was released.

Months before this report came out, there were photos of Jackson on his Instagram account with alleged gang members.

The Eagles, under a different regime, made a choice to select him in the second round. They have known him and what he's about for years. And now, all of a sudden, this reported gang association, his work ethic and missed meetings are major issues?

Where was the passion to get Jackson in line, much like there was when Michael Vick was signed back in 2009? Remember the protesters outside Lincoln Financial Field? Remember the outrage? The Eagles survived it all.

At the time of Vick’s signing, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was appalled by the quarterback’s involvement with dogfighting. Lurie acted as if he wanted nothing to do with Vick and put everything on then-Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Those efforts worked out for the Eagles and for Vick, who became a solid citizen in Philadelphia. The Eagles showed patience and told Vick to live up to what the organization wanted from him.

Where was this effort for Jackson?

Chip Kelly is not Andy Reid, and apparently Kelly wasn't interested in putting in the time and effort it would have taken to get Jackson marching in the right direction.

I just can’t imagine how Jackson finished ninth in the NFL in receiving yards last season after being late to all these meetings and simply going through the motions in practice.

How did he manage so much success when it came down to game time?

Either the effort to help Jackson was going to be too much for the Eagles, or there was something very personal going on between Jackson and others in the organization.

If you ask me, the Eagles simply didn't care about getting one of the best wide receivers in the league to buy into the program. It wasn’t worth the effort.

You can bet somebody else will try.

What now for the Eagles at WR?

March, 30, 2014
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When the Philadelphia Eagles signed Riley Cooper to a long-term deal and brought back Jeremy Maclin on a one-year deal earlier this offseason, some took it as one of many signs they were thinking about moving on from DeSean Jackson. They were, and I'd argue that the Darren Sproles trade should have been seen as evidence of same.

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly, DeSean Jackson
AP Photo/Matt RourkeWithout DeSean Jackson to stretch the field, Eagles coach Chip Kelly has to find other options and strategies at wide receiver.
On the face of it, the release of Jackson leaves the Eagles precariously thin at wide receiver. Maclin is recovering from a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2013 season, so it's hard to know for sure that he can be counted on. And I don't think it's insulting Cooper to suggest that he benefited from having Jackson on the field with him last year. The 2013 Eagles used Jackson in motion all over the formation, often as bait to force the defense into showing where the coverage was going. And Jackson's rare speed has always led defenses to commit at least some double coverage to him.

That said, Chip Kelly surely has a plan, or more likely many plans, for how to make up for the on-field loss of Jackson. It's easy to imagine Sproles being a part of it. He's not a wide receiver, but he's a running back the Saints used almost exclusively on passing downs and can play some of the roles Jackson played last year when he lined up in the backfield. Sproles can also be split out wide or used in the slot. He does not have Jackson's speed, because no one does, and he's not a candidate to stretch the field deep or draw double coverage. But when the Eagles run those package plays where they force the defense to commit coverage one way before Nick Foles throws the ball, Sproles can be a helpful piece close to the line of scrimmage and can make things happen when he catches the ball in space.

Maclin is a question mark. If healthy, he likely replaces Jackson to the extent that Jackson was used last year on the outside. Maclin used to have elite speed, so we'll see the extent to which the effects of the ACL surgery have changed that. But Kelly surely had specific plans for Maclin last year before Maclin got hurt, so there are elements to the offense involving him that we probably haven't even seen yet.

If Maclin isn't healthy, the Eagles have a major issue. They like Arrelious Benn, whom they acquired last offseason in a trade with Tampa Bay, but he himself is coming off ACL surgery. Damaris Johnson is seen as a potential playmaker in space, but we haven't seen it translate on the field very much yet. And it's worth noting that this year's draft is considered to be an excellent draft for the wide receiver position. The Eagles could find a receiver in the early rounds to add to their stable, and if that guy were to develop quickly, he could be a potential solution as well.

One thing of which I'm sure is that Kelly didn't release Jackson without first considering, in painstaking detail, myriad ways of attempting to replace his production on the field. Kelly does nothing without a plan and extensive preparation. He has created for himself a puzzle that will be more difficult to solve without Jackson than last year's was with him. But he does still have a decent number of good-looking tools at his disposal to help him solve it.

Which team signs DeSean Jackson?

March, 28, 2014
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The Philadelphia Eagles decided to cut ties with receiver DeSean Jackson on Friday after the team uncovered information about Jackson's off-field connections and activities, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Jackson issued a statement saying his release had nothing to do with his off-field activities. "I would like to make it very clear that I am not and never have been part of any gang," the wide receiver said. "I am not a gang member, and to speculate and assume that I am involved in such activity off the field is reckless and irresponsible."

Jackson was to make $10.5 million in 2014 and was owed $30.5 million over the remainder of his contract, but none of that money was guaranteed.

.

Two competing thoughts emerged in the moments after the Philadelphia Eagles released receiver DeSean Jackson:
  1. Is this the new NFL, one so chastened by last summer's situation with New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez that its teams can't stomach the mere perception that trouble could be brewing?
  2. Or is Jackson simply a bad character, an outlier even in an industry that takes plenty of character-based risks when the potential reward could be so substantial?

We are unlikely to receive a full accounting of the Eagles' motives, but make no mistake: Their decision Friday was extraordinary in the context of player valuation and projection. This is an elite 27-year-old playmaker, one who just finished the best season of his career, was locked into his contract for three more years and seemed a perfect fit for coach Chip Kelly's scheme. And yet the Eagles' desire to part ways with him was so obvious in recent weeks that they couldn't find a trade partner, leaving them with no compensation for one of the league's most dangerous receivers. (Remember, just a year ago, the Minnesota Vikings acquired three draft choices in exchange for another presumed malcontent, Percy Harvin.)

So what happened between Jackson and the Eagles? You might feel compelled to blame Kelly for arrogance bordering on hubris. You might think he is so enamored of his system that he doesn't think he needs a DeSean Jackson to make it work. That's a tough sell for me.

Kelly's offense worked at Oregon largely because his players, some of whom had poor character backgrounds as well, were faster than everyone else. If he truly believes that scheme is the key to winning in the NFL -- and not the talent of his players -- then he won't be with the Eagles much longer.

And while there is no doubt that it takes work and substantial patience to nurture a player like Jackson, there really isn't enough public evidence to suggest he is beyond the stratosphere of similarly high-maintenance stars in the NFL.

A NJ.com story posted Friday indicated the Eagles were concerned that he kept company with gang members and had flashed gang symbols during games, bringing a connection to the backstory discovered after Hernandez's arrest last summer on a murder charge. Jackson denied in a statement that he is a gang member, and I'm guessing no one keeps paperwork records of such things. Regardless, let's put it this way: If an association with suspected shady characters were universal grounds for firing a player, well, many more professional athletes would be out of a job today.

To me, the big question is whether Jackson would still be with the Eagles if Hernandez had not been arrested last summer.

Like Jackson, Hernandez entered the NFL amid character questions but joined a rock-solid organization that promised to nurture him into a productive player and member of the community. Within the NFL, the most unnerving part of the Hernandez arrest was that the alleged activity took place under the nose of the Patriots' presumably watchful eye. You can bet the other 31 teams took notice and redoubled their efforts to know and understand what their players were up to when away from the practice facility.

In short, no one wants to be the next team caught off guard by serious criminal activities of a prominent player. To be clear, there have been no reports suggesting Jackson has done anything illegal -- aside from a 2009 arrest that was plea bargained to disturbing the peace -- but the mere perception of gang association brought a level of gravitas that the Eagles decided they could not ignore. If reporters learned of Jackson's connections, you can bet the Eagles were aware of them as well.

Remember, this is a league whose greatest minds gathered last week to determine that there is no place in their game for dunking over the crossbar after touchdowns. Sportsmanship, respect and the perception regarding both are all key buzzwords in 2014. Initial reports suggested interest from six teams shortly after Jackson's release, and there is no doubt he will play somewhere this season. There are varying degrees of tolerance in any industry, and we can only conclude the Eagles didn't have much in the case of one of their best players.

Losing Jackson hurts, but how much?

March, 28, 2014
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The sad part of the DeSean Jackson mess is this: He was, and still is, a terrific talent. A Chip Kelly offense with Jackson ... and LeSean McCoy ... and a healthy Jeremy Maclin ... and Darren Sproles? That would have entertained one set of fans and scared the heck out of another.

Perhaps defensive coordinators can sleep a little better the night before facing Philadelphia now that the Eagles released Jackson. That is, unless the Eagles prove that life without Jackson is still a difficult one for defenses.

There's no way to sugarcoat the release of a talent such as Jackson. There's no need to get into the off-field aspects of the decision, other than to say it's a shame it came to this. And before the latest story broke on the receiver, prompting his release, some teams already considered him to be a walking red flag.

Still, my focus deals with his on-field performance and what it means for the Eagles. He was a dynamic receiver who helped make this offense dangerous. I don't care what system you run, or who's calling the plays, it's playmakers such as Jackson who can make any playcaller look good.

But the Eagles knew trouble was coming, which is why they were still able to construct an offense that should remain strong. Just as scary? It's hard to take out a guy such as Jackson and think it will just be the same. Quarterback Nick Foles targeted Jackson more than any other receiver last season (70 times) and completed 71.4 percent of those passes to him, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Nobody had more touchdown catches of 30-plus yards since 2008 (Mike Wallace shared the lead with 21).

Jackson was a guy who could open up the rest of the offense with his presence. One play by him could change a game, even if he didn't do a whole lot the rest of the way. The problem for defenses: They never knew which play it would be. Will the Eagles have anyone like that next season? Then again, given the depth of talent, do they need to?

Of course, the Eagles also were dangerous at times last season without Maclin (or Sproles, for that matter). If Maclin returns to form, he can be a dynamic threat. Two years ago he led the Eagles with 69 catches for 857 yards and seven touchdowns, but he's also never had a 1,000-yard season. However, he did have 46 more catches and five more touchdown receptions than Jackson in their time together with the Eagles.

And remember last summer? When Maclin was excited to be part of Kelly's offense because, he said, the previous one only wanted to feature Jackson's position -- and, therefore, Jackson?

"When Marty [Mornhinweg] was here, we tailored it around the flanker position," Maclin told CSN Philly in July. "That's just how it was ... The fact that I was able to personally accomplish what I accomplished, I think as far as the position I was playing, I think that's above what that guy normally does."

But, he said, there was no tailoring to one position in Kelly's offense. Indeed, part of what made their scheme dangerous is the multiple options to defend on a play. Run, by the quarterback or the running back, or pass. Bubble screen or hitting the tight end down the seam. Defenses had to worry about the multiple options available to Foles. Overplay one way and they could hit you the other. So the scheme works well when it has the right talent. And they should still have the right talent with not only Maclin but McCoy, Sproles, receiver Riley Cooper, and tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz.

The Eagles will survive cutting Jackson. Maybe if Sproles remains a threat, as I think he will, and Maclin is healthy and close to the same, then they can continue to flourish. But there's no way to say losing a guy such as Jackson will result in anything but questions. But the Eagles will move on -- and they will still move down the field. That could be wishful thinking on the Eagles' part, but for now, they have the parts to make them believe it will be a reality.

Jeremy Maclin on track in recovery

March, 27, 2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- After tearing his right ACL last July, Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin is on the comeback trail and coach Chip Kelly struck an optimistic tone about his progress.

Maclin
“Mac is doing well, rehab-wise,” Kelly said at the NFL’s annual meeting. “One thing about Mac, he’s been there every single day, even last year during the season he attended position meetings and was in the training room it seemed like every day. There are a few guys -- Mac, [linebacker] Jason Phillips, that you kind of see every day. Arrelious Benn was the same way, in that those guys really attacked rehab.

“According to what everybody is saying, he’s on track. I think it was a big blow for us losing him in the preseason, because I was excited to work through OTAs and minicamp with him. He’s very, very talented. He’s one of those guys that if we’re going to see a lot of man coverage, I think can do a really, really good job because he’s such a precise route-runner, has outstanding speed, and is good after the catch.

“So we’re excited to have him back. I don’t know exactly what his status will be in the offseason, through OTAs and minicamp, but I know he’ll be 100 percent when we get to camp.”

With speculation swirling about DeSean Jackson’s future with the Eagles, Maclin’s presence could become that much more important.
Chip Kelly will meet the media on Wednesday morning at the NFC coaches’ breakfast from the Owners Meetings in Orlando.

The Philadelphia Eagles coach was one of the few to not speak at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month. He spoke at the Maxwell Football awards dinner a few weeks ago in Atlantic City, but now comes the chance to sit with him for an extended period of time.

The Eagles have had a busy offseason in re-signing their own players and adding a few free agents. Quarterback Mark Sanchez could be the next one to arrive and wide receiver DeSean Jackson could be the next to leave.

What do you want to hear from Kelly?
The Philadelphia Eagles need a backup quarterback. Mark Sanchez needs a new place to restart his career.

With ESPN Insider Chris Mortenson reporting Sanchez is expected to sign with the Eagles, it brings together two sides filling a major need.

Sanchez
Nick Foles is without question the Eagles' starter. He threw 27 touchdown passes and had just two interceptions while compiling an 8-2 record in 2013. But with Michael Vick off to the New York Jets and Matt Barkley an unknown, coach Chip Kelly is dipping into the Pac-12 quarterbacks again.

Kelly was Oregon's offensive coordinator when Sanchez played at Southern Cal.

We will now get to see if he can revitalize Sanchez.

Things started so well for Sanchez with the Jets. He helped New York and Rex Ryan to two straight AFC Championship Games, losing to Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, but he never made the next step in his career.

His best statistical year came in 2011, when he threw for 3,474 yards with 26 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, but the Jets lost their final three games and that was the end of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Tony Sparano did not help Sanchez in 2012. A shoulder injury kept Sanchez out last year.

Provided the shoulder checks out, Sanchez will become the backup to Foles.

Kelly's first order of business is lifting Sanchez's accuracy. He is a 55.1 percent passer for his career. The best he has had in his career is 56.7 percent. In today's NFL with the rules the way they are, quarterbacks must complete about 65 percent to be effective.

With the Eagles, Sanchez would have better tools around him, especially on the offensive line. He could have DeSean Jackson at wide receiver, at least for a minute. He would have Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper to go with Brent Celek and Zach Ertz at tight end. And of course he would have LeSean McCoy.

He would also have Kelly, who has won with different kinds of quarterbacks along his stops at New Hampshire, Oregon and last year with the Eagles.

The Eagles are not the ground-and-pound of the Jets in Sanchez's first two years, but Kelly will run the ball to control the game and his quarterback.

Sanchez would be going to a perfect spot without the pressure to be the Sanch-ise. All he would need to be is a backup, not a savior.
Check out what the mock drafts are predicting for the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 22 in the first round, and you're almost certain to find a defensive player. Sure, they could go wide receiver at that spot if they end up unloading DeSean Jackson, but the general consensus seems to be the Eagles are in great shape on offense and need to fortify the defense in the early rounds of this draft.

So if we assume that, the question becomes: Where on the defense? The front end or the back end?

Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock Insider has the Eagles taking Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. Todd McShay's Insider has them taking Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. The Eagles have had revolving doors at those position in recent years, and the opportunity to find a long-term solution -- especially at safety, where they've struggled for any kind of consistency since the Brian Dawkins days -- will have to be tempting.

But I keep thinking back to Chip Kelly's "bigger people beat up little people" line from last year's NFL owners meetings, and in general I believe that a strong defensive front (specifically a pass rush) helps out the secondary more than a strong secondary helps out the front. So I wonder if it would be temping also to get strong up front, especially in a draft deep in cornerbacks and safeties. Could the Eagles take a pass-rusher like Missouri's Kony Ealy or a defensive lineman like Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt or Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman and then address the secondary in the second and/or third rounds? I don't think it's a crazy idea.

If you had the choice, which would you rather see them do?

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