As I wrote yesterday, Greg Cosell had an interesting interview with Chris McPherson of PhiladelphiaEagles.com. He mainly focused on the offense but he talked about a variety of topics and players on the offense that I found to be interesting. He had a lot to say about running back LeSean McCoy as you saw from my article on Monday. Today, I want to take a look at what he said about wide receiver/return man DeSean Jackson and delve into it a bit more.
“DeSean, given that he is 170 pounds,” says Cosell “is just unbelievable.” The word ‘unbelievable’ isn’t a widely used term among NFL experts so to hear that about one of Philadelphia’s own is something to be happy with. Cosell goes on to say “You don’t see that hardly in the NFL where receivers just run by cornerbacks. DeSean Jackson has that ability.”
Jackson does run by defenders on a regular basis. In the 2009 season he tied Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch and Devin Hester for the all-time record of 8 touchdowns in a season of 50 or more yards. That means that 75% of Jackson’s total touchdowns, covered atleast half the field. During this amazing performance, Jackson set a mark of 52.8 yards per touchdown which beat the old record of 50.6 held by Harlon Hill. The record was 53 years old. DeSean’s big play ability does not only take place on touchdowns. Since entering the league in 2008, his 18.3 yards per catch is the best among all players. DeSean did those both through the air and through his amazing punt return abilities, taking two punts to the house that season.
The young playmaker is also a statistical genius, putting up solid numbers year after year. In 2010, Jackson finished with his second consecutive 1,000 yard season despite missing 2 games. DeSean also caught his career long touchdown last season against the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys. He ran a quick out route, caught the ball two yards from the side line, ran a few yards upfield, planted a foot sending a defender to the ground, reversed field and ran about 70 yards untouched to paydirt. The importance of this was that the game was tied at 20 with under twelve minutes left to play, DeSean provided the spark to lead the team to a 30-27 victory.
DeSean, in addition to his receiving and punt return domination, is a beast when placed in the backfield. He is the only player in modern football history to have a receiving, rushing, and return touchdown in each of his first three seasons. In fact, in the first quarter of the week 6 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Jackson broke a 31 yard touchdown run and fought hard for a 34 yard touchdown after a mid range catch from Kevin Kolb. This is the first time any player has taken the pigskin to the house on a rushing and receiving play of 30 or more yards in one quarter. DeSean continues to set milestones.
The most memorable one in DeSean’s career will definitely be his walk-off touchdown against the Giants in his performance in the Miracle at the New Meadowlands. The play is etched in the die-hard Eagles fan’s mind, and Giants fan’s for that matter. There was 12 seconds left on the clock and it seemed destined for the Eagles to win this game having come back from a 21 point deficit with only 7 minutes and 31 seconds remaining in the game. Matt Dodge, for some reason, decided it was a good idea to keep the ball in bounds and put it in DeSean’s hands. Surprised that he would get a chance to return, DeSean quickly looked down for a hole to burst through. When he looked up, the ball was closer than he had thought and he muffed it. He had the presence of mind to pick up the ball quickly and took a step back, took a look at what he had in front of him, and saw the seam. Of course, if DeSean hit it right, nobody would catch him, and nobody would. He had one potential tackler coming his way that was taken out of the play by Jason Avant. Jackson went on to run along the one yard line to be sure the clock expired and the walk-off was intact. Not only did he win the Eagles the game with arguably the best play in the team’s regular season history, he was the first player to win a game with time expiring with a punt return.
Greg Cosell said it best by saying “The Eagles have a super freak athlete in DeSean Jackson.” He can do it all. He is the Eagles big play threat to take it to the endzone on any play from anywhere on the field. Whenever the Eagles are down and need a spark, look in DeSean’s direction and he’ll be there to turn a game around. The Birds got their best pick in the last ten years when they took a chance on the small Cal receiver with the 49th overall pick in the 2008 draft. It has sure paid off.
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