Since his first game in the NFL, DeSean Jackson has been toying with defenses using his big play ability and blazing speed.
Oftentimes, he’s been seen as a one-dimensional player who can only run the go route and outrun defenders for the long option. Not that his deep play ability is a bad thing, but it becomes predictable for opposing defenses and easier to defend as time passes and defensive backs become more knowledgeable about what to guard against.
The new Philadelphia Eagles spread offense should serve as warning that Jackson is multi-dimensional and a threat in many aspects of the game.
Look for Chip Kelly’s arrival in Philadelphia to rejuvenate Jackson and give him new ways to find the ball and affect the outcome of the game. The pressure will be greater on DeSean with the injury to counterpart Jeremy Maclin, but Kelly will find innovative ways to get him involved in the offense both running and catching the ball.
His 47-yard touchdown from Michael Vick in the Eagles’ first preseason game is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the season is concerned — it was a promising return for Jackson to the end zone, and just one facet of the different routes he will run this year.
The new offense requires Jackson to learn routes from each of the different spots on the field and to make himself available to run those at any time. It will force him to once again return to running routes across the middle which he has seemed to be absent from since enduring a concussion.
The variety will help to open up his signature long-range connection downfield, and also make him dangerous all over the field instead of just in one area.
In order for the Eagles to return to some relevance in the NFC East this season, it will be necessary for Jackson to be a force, affecting coverages and matchups all over the field. This may be the perfect offense for him to accomplish that, and Kelly may be the perfect coach to find ways to execute it.