RB, WR, TE Review: Aikman Calls Out Maclin

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinHere’s a review of how the Eagles running backs, wide receivers and tight ends performed in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, after having re-watched the game.

LeSean McCoy – He was sick during the week, but performed well on Sunday, rushing 16 times for 82 yards (5.1 YPC). After a rough stretch, McCoy has bounced back the past two weeks (35 carries, 201 yards, 5.7 YPC). McCoy had a big 23-yard run in the third quarter and also added a 13-yarder. On the season, he has seven runs of 20+ yards. That’s tied for second-most in the NFL behind only Adrian Peterson. Quite impressive, when you consider he’s running behind a makeshift offensive line. McCoy had four catches for 20 yards, including a 12-yard pickup on a screen. Andy Reid said he wanted to spell McCoy more since he was under the weather, but he still played 81 percent of the snaps.

Bryce Brown – He played 12 snaps and was ineffective as a runner (three carries for 1 yard). Brown failed to help Demetress Bell on DeMarcus Ware in the second and allowed a hit on Nick Foles. But he did an excellent job of picking up the blitzing defensive back on Foles’ 44-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin. As the Fox broadcast showed, Brown was then the first person to congratulate Maclin in the end zone.

Stanley Havili – As I detailed right after the game, the end of the first half was classic clock mismanagement by the Eagles. Havili ran out of bounds after a short catch, allowing the Cowboys to preserve a timeout and get the ball back. In the fourth quarter, he had the 1-yard touchdown. Havili also had one grab for 3 yards. He played 15 snaps.

DeSean Jackson – He finished with five catches for 62 yards. Early on, Jackson broke a couple tackles and took a screen 31 yards to set up the Eagles’ touchdown. He made a nice adjustment on the 7-yard slant in the third. The interception was a similar play, but Jackson couldn’t make the catch (the throw was behind him). He generally doesn’t give the Eagles much as a blocker, but Jackson delivered good effort on the 12-yard screen to McCoy.

Jeremy Maclin – He had his legs taken out and couldn’t hang on to the pass from Michael Vick in the first. Maclin left the game briefly, but would return. Andy Reid said yesterday that he suffered a lower back strain. I will rarely mention players shying away from contact because, well, it’s easy for me to say behind my laptop. But Fox analyst Troy Aikman was honest in his assessment that Maclin pulled up on a slant from Foles. “He saw [Gerald] Sensabaugh sitting there in the safety position, and he didn’t want any part of it,” Aikman said. “He knew it was going to be a big-time collision had he continued to go in and make a play on that ball, and he just said ‘No thank you.'” Maclin had the 44-yard touchdown in the third. And he made a nice one-handed catch for 11 yards in the fourth. Overall, eight catches for 93 yards.

Jason Avant – He only played 12 snaps before suffering a hamstring strain. Avant was targeted twice and had one catch for -1 yards.

Riley Cooper – He played a season-high 44 snaps and did a great job on the 2-yard fade in the end zone in the first. It makes you wonder why the Eagles haven’t tried that more in the past. Cooper drew a holding penalty in the third. And again in the fourth, negating a Foles interception. He gave great effort as a downfield blocker on McCoy’s 23-yard run in the third, but couldn’t hold his block on Morris Claiborne on McCoy’s 3-yard run in the fourth. Overall, two catches for 24 yards.

Damaris Johnson – With Avant out, he played 11 snaps. Johnson had a 32-yard catch and run to set up the Eagles’ fourth-quarter touchdown. He also made a 12-yard grab, but it was called back because of a King Dunlap penalty in the third.

Brent Celek – According to Pro Football Focus, he was kept in to block on just five of 43 passing plays. The Eagles’ game-plan seemed to focus more on getting the ball out quickly than keeping in extra blockers. Celek was targeted three times and had three catches for 31 yards. On the first play, he faked a run block on DeMarcus Ware before going out into his route. Celek stiff-armed Sensabaugh for a 17-yard gain.

Clay Harbor – He played 17 snaps and had three catches for 25 yards. On the 3rd-and-2 throw in the third, Harbor blocked Ware, giving Foles time to throw to Maclin. Ware was reading run. If he had been going after Foles immediately, he would have had a clear path to the quarterback and likely a sack.

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  • I’ve been a stout Maclin defender but it’s beginning to get tough. I don’t include that mystery illness he had last year as a injury, but he’s had a hard time staying healthy.

    He’s never produced a big season. He’s had so many clutch dropped balls. The hit he hook when his legs got taken out from under him.. I’d understand if hitting the ground caused the ball to come loose, but he did not have possession before he even hit the ground. He heard footsteps on the Sensabaugh hit.

    Maclin needs to step it up, it’s as simple as that. Enough is enough.

    • southy

      If I’m Maclin, I don’t go selling out for that slant either. He would have gotten destroyed, and he’s suffered enough helmet to helmet contact to know what that’s like. A seam throw where you’re open and you’ve got time to go up and secure the ball before taking a hit is a different story. It’s understandable that Foles, being a rook and having not practiced with him at all, didn’t put it in the best spot, but you can’t hang your WR out to dry like that and then expect him to sacrifice himself.

      • BostonianEagle

        I completely agree. Foles did Maclin no favor on that throw. I have the belief that, even though Maclin hasn’t been taken out of any game because of concussions, has taken enough hits that it’d be impossible that he hasn’t had concussions since he’s been an Eagle. Just thinking off the top of my head, there were two games last year, one against the Falcons where he took a nasty hit by Robinson, and a game against the Cowboys where he was hit in the head very hard. And then let’s not forget the game this year against the Steelers when Clark had a helmet-to-helmet contact. I’m not a Maclin apologist. I really like him; I want him to succeed, but I think he should really step up his game. However, I will NOT question his toughness. He’s laid it on the line for three seasons. ONE play where he protected himself– and let’s get real here, he was protecting himself!!– will not alter my perception of a guy who has played recklessly with his body before.

        • UncleCarm

          I like Maclin also, and I’m nowhere near giving up on him, but he has to try to catch that pass. There are guys every weekend in college, High school and back yards that are going for that ball for free. At what these guys are getting paid, they need to try to catch any balls that come their way.

          • BostonianEagle

            I really hate this argument. Its sort of the same argument as “I’d play for free, and this guy is complaining that he is being slighted for a couple million?” For one, besides college players (who are essentially trying to make a way into the NFL), those other players in high schools and back yards don’t have to live with the consequences of high impact plays. Say what you want, but the dangers of playing in the back yard or high school doesn’t even compare to the risks that one takes in the NFL. (Even my brother in law, who played linebacker in high school, is trying to get over his knee injuries despite not playing for 6 years.) Second, it is REALLY easy to say that a player should leave it on the line when you’re sitting at home or at the bar. It is extremely easy to sit in front of your computer and ponder about how lightly you take a potential helmet-to-helmet hit.

            By the way, Jackson had two (reported) concussions in the NFL. One was on a hit by London Fletcher, if I’m not mistaken, which was either on an inside route or a short inside flat after he caught the ball. The other was a year after when he was flattened on a deflected Kolb pass. Whether he caught it or not is irrelevant. And by the way, Maclin did catch and hold onto that ball on the Clark hit.

            It is really surprising how lightly fans take helmet-to-helmet hits and concussions.

          • UncleCarm

            You are welcome to your opinion, but I played amateur sports for 20 years (primarily hockey) and never once shied away from a hit or doing everything I could to make a play. I guess that’s just me. I suffered several broken bones, many cuts and contusions and at least one concussion, but I never changed my style of play.

        • Myke Lowery

          I wrote my other post before reading this. did Maclin catch any of those balls? I want to say Jackson did after getting crushed and concussed.

    • Loke2112

      Should have taken Nicks who was sitting right there. Foiled by the Gmen once again!

  • The Guru

    Why don’t we offer Maclin to Kansas City for Dwayne Bowe (in the offseason)? Bowe doesn’t want to be franchised again, doesn’t want any parts of KC….and KC can get back a young decent player with MO ties in Maclin. Bowe would give us the perfect compliment to DeSean.

  • clbirds

    the receiving corps, along with every other aspect of this team (with the exception of McCoy) is terrible. I’m no longer sure who is salvageable here.

    • limodriver2750

      It surely will be a new look next year (almost) top to bottom.

  • southy

    Damaris Johnson – He’s got the agility and speed to make DBs look absolutely silly in coverage, but is a fair catch machine in the return game, and on this particular 32 yard play I can’t help but think he could have elevated at the end and gotten into the end zone. His potential tackler was coming off a block and off balance, but instead he shied away from the contact and semi-slid it down to the 2.

    • UncleCarm

      I saw that 32 yard play the same way, especially on the replay angle where you could see a skinny but clear path to the end zone. The whole team needs to toughen up. This is the NFL not flag football.

    • Brian

      I think any punt returner we put out there is going to be a fair catch machine. The issue on the punt team isn’t the returner.

  • izzylangfan

    The reason that the Eagles don’t try the fade more with Riley Cooper are two. One – Vick can’t throw the fade. In fact that TD was on an underthrown ball. And Two – yes Cooper did make a great catch there but his history is one of almost. He hasn’t really delivered in the past on those toss up, great catches. Not to mention is bad instincts on preventing the opposition from catching the pass when he can’t.

    • Sb2bowl

      actually, it was overthrown. Thats why he had to jump and only get one hand on it. Look at the placement- high and outside; completely different from the last time Vick tried to hit Cooper in the endzone in a jump ball situation.

      • izzylangfan

        I’d have to see it again. But what I thought on Sunday was that Cooper had his man beat and if the throw had been to the corner of the end zone it would have been a perfect play. But the pass being short Cooper had to stay shallow and jump in order to compete for the ball.

        • Sb2bowl

          I’ll download it and see what I can find. Thanks for your insight!

  • JofreyRice

    Jeremy Maclin == James Thrash

    Not a horrible player, but not a talent you draft 19th overall. Another draft misfire. When heads roll this offseason, whomever is chiefly responsible for making these bad calls in the draft room better not be in the market for hats anymore.

  • Brian

    Anyone else think the early back injury was a big factor in Maclin’s decision to not go after that ball?

    We have no idea how much pain he was really in.

  • Myke Lowery

    can someone remind me the last time Maclin made a tough catch and held on after a big hit? I seem to remember djax on a fade route and getting lit up on the sideline but still hanging onto the ball but I could be mistaken if that ever really happened. just don’t recall Maclin ever making any big plays. I just remember the crucial drops.