As Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin crumbled to the ground during 7-on-7 drills in what was confirmed as a torn ACL, losing their best receiver before the season began was not what the team had in mind.
Losing Maclin for an entire season is a devastating blow to a team that is trying to recover from two lackluster seasons that had coach Andy Reid fired last year. Ever since the former Eagles quarterback Vince Young uttered the infamous words of “Dream Team” in 2011, thanks to the Eagles signing several marquee names in the offseason, the only thing the Eagles have proven is to be a living nightmare example to the rest of the NFL that it takes more than talent and skill to be successful.
Injury-prone Maclin has had his fair share of not being able to stay on the field since he entered the NFL back in 2009. What he lacked in consistency with his health, he provided with his ability to be one of the best young receivers and a dynamic playmaker for the Eagles in his four years with the team.
During his rookie year, Maclin caught 56 passes for 773 yards with four receiving touchdowns to the tune of 13.8 yards per catch. The Eagles knew that they possessed a talented receiver, but little did they know that he would become their best all-around player at the position.
In 2010, where Michael Vick exploded with an impeccable season, Maclin had his best season yet. During his sophomore year, Maclin reeled in 70 catches for 964 yards and snatched 10 touchdowns.
Though injuries and the team’s overall failure to live up to their expectations slowed down Maclin in the past two seasons, he was still their best receiver.
For a team that consists of the speedster and explosive playmaker DeSean Jackson, veteran Jason Avant, versatile Riley Cooper and the athletic tight end Brent Celek, Maclin proved to be the most consistent player on a team that went from great to underachievers in less than a year.
Whether it was in traffic, over the middle or in the slot, Maclin was there to make the catch and took the beating as well. During the season where Jackson was benched and his mind was elsewhere, Maclin was the Eagles’ No. 1 option on the receiving end.
Most fans would admit that Jackson is a home-run hitter every time he has the ball in his hands, but that makes Maclin the key player who sets up those big plays for his teammate.
Losing Maclin is a key loss, not only because he is in a contract year, but nobody will know how much of a difference maker he could have been in the revival of the Eagles under the tutelage of rookie head coach Chip Kelly.
For an Eagles team that had so much hope after two seasons of mediocrity, the Eagles will once again have to find a way to overcome losing one of their top offensive threats and their top receiver heading into the 2013 NFL season.
Adversity has been the theme for the Eagles the past two years, and once again, they will have the choice to either let obstacles and hardships define their team, or use that challenge to dig deep within themselves and break through that barrier that limits them.
With that being said, make no mistake about it. Maclin’s season-ending injury is a knock-out punch to a team trying to re-invent itself. Whether they get back up and fight is their decision to make.