Finally, an honest football reason why the Eagles cut DeSean Jackson.
When I say “honest,” I’m using a figure of speech. I’m not sure that Chip Kelly isn’t snowing us. Redskins fans should pay attention, however.
DJax did not open up the Eagles offense for other players, says Kelly.
“I think most people played us in single high [safety] coverage and they played man across the board on anybody and no one was getting any help,” Kelly said, via ESPN.com. “Riley [Cooper] was getting man [coverage] on his side. DeSean was getting man on his side. Jason Avant was getting man in the slot. Zach Ertz, whoever our tight end was, was getting manned. Running back was getting manned. No one is going to play us in two [safeties] deep because if you play us in two deep, we can run the heck out of the ball. We had everybody as close to the line of scrimmage as possible and nobody was helping anybody. They were trying to stop the run game.”
This story on Pro Football Talk linked to another on ESPN.com that said Jackson was not double-covered. Instead, defenses focused on RB LeSean McCoy. With injured Jeremy Maclin replaced by Riley Cooper, the Eagles could not entice opposing teams out of single high safety with press-man coverage.
Kelly is looking for receivers who can beat press coverage.
That was Philadelphia. This is Washington. Jackson’s effectiveness is tied to the talent and scheme here.
The premise is that Jackson along with Pierre Garcon will force defenses into double coverage, or nickel and dime packages that will open opportunities for the rest of the offense. Hog Heaven hopes to see nickel zone coverage against Jackson, Garcon and Andre Roberts. What’s past in Philly isn’t necessarily prologue to the future in DC.
How this plays out is part of the drama of the season. The Army says no strategy survives the first battle. That’s why…
There are interesting elements to this story.
It highlights size as an issue. The West Coast Offense calls for big, sturdy wide receivers who can muscle through press coverage and make something out of short passes. Terrell Owens (6’ 3”, 226 lbs) and Andre Johnson (6’ 3”, 230 lbs) are prototypes. It’s what the Redskins were looking for when they drafted Malcolm Kelly. Garcon and Jackson are shorties by comparison.
Defenses are just as focused on stopping Alfred Morris as McCoy. Hog Heaven thinks it’s a pick-your-poison choice to play the receivers in man coverage to stop the running game. Players have to deliver.
Players are paid for what they will do next, not what they did last. DJax said he hoped the Eagles would renegotiate his contract after his record year. It was the deal the team extended in 2011 after Jackson’s prolonged pout. He was scheduled to make $10 million this year. Yeah, that deal.
Kelly didn’t see Jackson delivering a $10 million performance in ‘14, or in ’13, so he cut him loose.
That old sports cliché gets it wrong. You are not as good as your last play. You are as good as your next play. The Redskins think Jackson is worth $8 million of performance in 2014.
The controversy led to his being here. We are not complaining.
DJax thinks differently. He is feuding with Drew Rosenhaus, agent to the receiver stars who represented him for his Eagles contracts. Hog Heaven does not know why he should be. A newer deal did not shake out from the team that refused to redo T.O.’s deal. What did he expect? (We quickly admit we do not know the ins and outs of the Jackson-Rosenhaus relationship.)
We do know that Jackson did things in Philly that would have annoyed fans more if he were not such a contributor. It is hidden in the euphoria of his being here now. It is going to unfold before us over the next 18 months. As long as he delivers, it will be okay.
The Eagles made the playoffs in spite of all the things Kelly says Jackson did not do. Let that sink in.
Who will be the Redskins leading receiver in 2014?