When you talk about the wide receivers for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, everybody instantly thinks of DeSean Jackson and the drama he caused for the whole team. Or they think of Steve Smith and the waste of $2.2 million dollars. Or they might think back to training camp, when Jeremy Maclin was sidelined with a mysterious illness.
But what they probably won’t remember right away is the injuries that Jeremy Maclin sustained that drastically affected the Eagles in the third quarter of 2011.
Against the Arizona Cardinals in week 10, Maclin suffered a pair of injuries. He returned to the game after hurting his shoulder in the first quarter but had to leave in the fourth when he injured his hamstring.
The Eagles lost 21-17, and played the entire game without their top receiver, DeSean Jackson, who was benched for missing a mandatory team meeting the day before. Without Maclin, Michael Vick had to throw to Jason Avant, Brent Celek, and Riley Cooper with the game on the line. (And it didn’t help that Vick was playing with broken ribs.)
Maclin ended up not playing against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football the following week, but the Eagles managed to win behind a late game-winning drive from backup quarterback Vince Young.
But the Eagles were shelled in their next two games, against the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, and Maclin wasn’t healthy enough to play in either.
When he returned, it was too late for the Eagles, who were already 4-8 and virtually out of the playoff hunt. They did manage to win their final four games, but it was to no avail, as they finished a game out of first in the weak NFC East.
For the season, Maclin caught 63 passes for 859 yards and five touchdowns. Those would have been viewed as slightly disappointing numbers based on his progression last year, but when you factor in the 3.5 games that he missed, that’s a good season. Throw in the cancer scare that Maclin had in preseason, which probably limited him from playing at full strength in 2011, and I wouldn’t be too worried about Maclin returning to top form in 2012.
It’s just a shame that he couldn’t be at top form in 2011, especially when the Eagles needed him the most.
Then again, there are about 27 moments this season that were worse than Maclin’s injuries.