It’s been 11 years, 589 receptions, 10,261 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns since DeSean Jackson first step foot in the league. During that team, Jackson has been notoriously known as one of the best deep threats year after year. Even at the age of 32, D-Jax is still among one of the best at what he does but is that all he does? Jackson can put the burners on at any moment and it’s showed throughout his career. Last year he led the league with an average of 18.9 yards per catch. As for his career average? It’s not far away at 17.4 YPC. He has 173 catches for 20+ yards and 63 catches for 40+ yards in his career, which explains his domination on the outside but there’s more to him.
Carson Wentz has raved about DeSean all offseason, he’s gone out and even said, “His ability to do things with the ball after the catch, underneath routes, crossing routes. [He’s] A lot better route runner than people give him credit for.” An essential trait this offense was missing last year. They traded for Golden Tate last season in hope that he would be the playmaker he was in Detroit but that was a failed experiment for many reasons. The year prior, Nelson Agholor was able to be that playmaker in the slot due to his speed and the fact that Torrey Smith was able to open the field for the team with just his presence alone.
Now, the prodigal son has returned with a more fine-tuned game. He’s more than just the personality he once was. He’s focused and mature now, the un-proclaimed leader of this Wide Receiver group. His growth has shown, it was even more evident when he stopped Agholor and Jeffery at the tunnel to huddle with them as if he was motivating them for a huge game. He’s dodged Super Bowl talks every time a beat writer brings it up. This is the moment that Jackson’s career was built for. Wentz is the QB he deserves, a QB that’s going to find waist push Jackson beyond his limit without force. Instead by just allowing the game to come to him.
So what does DeSean Jackson actually bring to the Eagles this time around? He’s the playmaker the team needed but didn’t deserve due to how he was released. This reunion was a long time in the making. His speed and route running will give open up the playbook for the offense this year. Mike Groh helped shed light to this part of Jackson’s game by saying,
“DeSean is a complete player. He can do anything that he wants. As a coach, it’s really exciting, because you can just say ‘Hey, can you run this route? Or can you do it like this?’ and you can just tell him and he can do it. So, from a coaching standpoint, that makes it really easy.
We’re just trying to move him around and have him do a bunch of different things because he is such a weapon.”
Jackson has built up a striking rapport with Carson Wentz. The duo seemed to connect on a deep ball at least once per practice throughout training camp, which is a terrifying prospect for the rest of the NFL. The Eagles have longed for a player of Jackson’s skill set ever since his original departure and in this offense, with the need for speed filled, who knows how long it is until this time bomb explodes?
A key component to the Eagles this season will be revolving on the playmaking aspect of their weapons. The hope is Jackson will do more than just fly routes, it’s about getting him open in space so he can do what he does best, turn the burners on. The offense won’t be recognizable for anyone this year and that’s a huge advantage. Wentz will have a huge healthy season with the unlimited options he’ll have when dropping back. Plus the ability of players like Jackson, Sproles, Sanders, and Agholor at his disposal, It might be a season for the ages. This is just how much Jackson’s game will impact the team as a whole.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports