Not to be overlooked by his big offensive performance, DeSean Jackson had an electrifying 72-yard punt return for a touchdown which earned him the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award. This is the second time he has earned the honor this year and has continually been a threat all year when returning punts.
His return against the Giants was particularly interesting to watch. He caught the ball with the sideline close to his left so he started off right, backed up, then saw an opening down the sideline and exploded. I think he really showed us what he’s doing in how he approached the kicker. Sure it is embarrassing for any return guy to get tackled by the kicker but it’s pretty easy for a kicker to push a guy out of bounds. To avoid this, DeSean started running towards the middle of the field running at the kicker to slow him down, then used his speed to break towards the sideline and run away from him. The guy has been retuning kicks for a long time and clearly knows what he’s doing. He is a threat to break one open whenever he gets the chance to return one. You can definitely imagine punters trying to keep the ball away from him down the stretch and in the playoffs.
One question I have is if DeSean Jackson would have even been receiving punts if Jeremy Maclin wasn’t hurt. Maclin took over the duties when Jackson missed time due to his concussion. With the Giants being his first game back, I would have been interested to see if Maclin would have kept returning punts to try to avoid some risk of re-injury. This is only a thought because the Eagles saw a player return from a concussion this year and quickly obtain another one. We may never know the answer to this but it’s a good thing DeSean was back there.
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