11 games. 45 catches. 700 yards. Two touchdowns. Eagles fans would agree: the 2012 season fell below par for star wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Having become the first player to earn Pro Bowl honors at two positions two years ago, 2012 was a flop.
Under Chip Kelly, Jackson may not have many more.
After a controversial 2011 season overshadowed by an expiring contract, Jackson came into 2012 with hope. The “dream team” logo had dissipated with the release of Vince Young, and the front office re-tooled the roster for a deep playoff run. Even with a 3-1 start, that run never came.
Personally, Jackson had his share of ups and downs. His game against the Ravens served as a shining moment, heralded by a selfless 49 yard catch. His season ended with injury adding to insult, as Jackson fractured several ribs in a game against Carolina, putting him on IR.
Jackson was unfairly criticized last season by many analysts. Had he played in all 16 games, Jackson would have eclipsed the 1,00 yard mark. He would have also notched a healthy 65 catches, higher than any other season total. Clearly, analysts lumped Jackson’s play in with the rest of the team, claiming that speedy receiver underachieved in the Eagles’ offense.
Under new coach Chip Kelly, things are about to change.
“He called me and was very excited. I could tell in his voice,” explained Jackson when speaking to the media recently.
As many noted in his time with Oregon, Kelly enjoys moving his players around. This is the reason behind signing James Casey: a versatile player who can play three positions within an offense. One of the main characters of Chip Kelly’s productions was De’Anthony Thomas. Listed as a running back, Thomas boasts similar size and speed to DeSean Jackson. Jackson acknowledged that he expects himself to be used “Kind of similar to what DeAnthony Thomas was doing at Oregon. ”
“He was passing on information to me, like I’m going to be pumped up and psyched to be in that offense. It just keeps defenses off guard any time you go in motion, fake play-action, go down the field. There’s just so many things you can do.”
Come September, Jackson will be all over the offensive formation. He may line up in the slot, camp in the backfield, or hang out wide at his natural position. He may run reverse plays. He could take off on bubble screens. He will run his signature “go-route.” With a plethora of possibilities, Chip Kelly will look to explore all of them.
Expect Jackson’s 2013 stat line to appear completely different than last year.
“I have to get in the end zone a lot more this year.”