Wake-Up Call: DeSean Feels He Can Do Even More

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) returns a punt return against the Detroit Lions during the fourth quarter of the Snow Bowl

In his first season playing for Chip Kelly, DeSean Jackson shattered his previous career highs in a number of categories.

His 82 catches were 20 more than he’d ever had before. His 1,332 yards were 176 more than he had in his breakout year in  2009. Jackson also matched a career high with nine receiving touchdowns.


To put his numbers into perspective, consider that in the last five years only five receivers have put together seasons of 80+ catches, 16.0 yards per catch and nine touchdowns: Calvin Johnson (twice), Josh Gordon (2013), Jackson (2013), Victor Cruz (2011) and Miles Austin (2009).

Yet there's a feeling from Jackson that he can do a lot more.

"Being the type of receiver I am, I honestly feel like I’m always open. I can always get open. There’s not nobody that can stop me. That’s just the confidence I have in myself," Jackson said at his locker last week.

"Regardless of how much success I did have, I still felt certain times that I could have been utilized more to be able to be put in positions where I could help my team win games. I think my energy and my excitement alone... to just help my team at any given time, give ‘em that momentum to go out there and continue to just put up numbers, put up scores, just everything to help my team win games. So at times I definitely do feel like I could have been used just to help pump my team up and do things out there to just help us win games."

To be clear, Jackson was asked a specific question about whether he feels he could have been used even more.

Looking at the numbers, there's a case to be made that he should see an even bigger role going forward. Seventeen receivers had at least 1,100 yards receiving last season. None did so on fewer targets than Jackson (126). In the playoff loss to the Saints, he did not have a reception until late in the third quarter.

Jackson saw a lot of man coverage all season long, although teams will still use safeties to help over the top.

"Dealing with Jerry Rice and talking to him as a mentor, he’s always told me, 'Anyone can beat one-on-one coverage. But once you’re able to beat double coverage and triple coverage, that’s when you know you’ve graduated to a different level of player,' " Jackson said. "So I just have to understand that and just go out there and keep my cool and not get frustrated, know in the game a play will come to me. I’ve just gotta make the most of my opportunities."

Jackson did that in 2013, catching 65 percent of the balls that came his way (a career best).

Contract issues aside, he is hoping for even more in 2014.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Ten things we learned about Kelly in his first year as the Eagles' head coach.

Will Nate Allen be back with the Eagles? Tim and I discuss.

What they're saying: Peter King thinks the Eagles have separated themselves from the pack in the NFC East.

Mel Kiper Jr. talks draft, mocks a wide receiver to the Eagles.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com identifies his 15 favorite Kelly quotes:

But Kelly wasn't just a great coach in his first season with the team. He was also a very entertaining quote. In the past, Andy Reid was very forthcoming with injury updates, but his press conferences were about as exciting as watching paint dry. Kelly has been the complete opposite. He refused to talk about injuries, but makes up for it in spades by answering questions with personality and humor.

Zach Berman of The Inquirer catches up with Earl Thomas:

Judging from Thomas' Twitter feed, Eagles fans do not need to be reminded.

"A lot of people from Philly are like, 'Oh, my God! Every time we see him, he could be in our uniform,' or if they see me in the Pro Bowl or something, they say he's a Pro Bowler," Thomas said.

COMING UP

We'll take a look at more Eagles free agents.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • cheapmeat

    I’d love him to ‘graduate to the level’ of fighting for 50-50 balls, rather than basket catching everything.

    Or ‘graduate to the level’ of player that doesn’t give in to his Napoleon complex and cost the team 15 yards every time a DB talks trash.

    Enjoyed the year he had, but wanted to tear my TV off the wall too many times because of him.

    • anon

      He’s 5’8 on a good day. I don’t think jump balls are going to be his forte, though he did make a fantastic catch using body position in the playoffs. Personally i’m glad he wants more, I think his attitude is more mature now than previously. Hopefully in the offseason he and foles can develop more of a connection. Frankly i don’t expcet djax to have a bunch of redzone TDs, leave that to the TEs and the big WRs.

      • cheapmeat

        Sure, but he wants to get paid like a big time redzone threat.

        Talent for days, but attitude and effort leave much to be desired.

  • G_WallyHunter

    Earl :’(
    Just go win a superbowl already and get it over with.. quick and less painful

    • mtn_green

      Agreed, it is seattle’s turn. But if Payton is firing bullets, it’s over.

      • G_WallyHunter

        Damn gonna be great to see. 2 of the best QBs ever face off and 2 best Ds in league face off. Coincidence? I think not

  • TNA

    When looking at FAs, could we take a look at Usama Young. I’m not that familiar with his actual game play, but he could be an undervalued asset because he played for the Raiders. He seems to have addressed his perceived weakness coming out of college by becoming a good tackler, and seems to have the measurables to be a Chip kind of safety. Supposedly he’s also smart, which is another plus in addition to being lanky and fast (according to his draft profile). Might be worth a look at safety.

    • Andy124

      DB from Oakland? Makes me nervous.

      • GEAGLE

        Probably not bad for FOles to practice against an Oakland DB every day

        • GEAGLE

          Starting to hate the Niners…hope Seattle bully’s them

      • G_WallyHunter

        As long as Young isn’t regarded as one of the best DBs in the league, then I think I’d be alright with it.

      • TNA

        Yeah, but it’s about process and talent, not necessarily about team results when it comes to FAs. PFF has Young as the 8th highest rated unrestricted FA safety behind TJ Ward (CLV), Whitner (SF), Byrd (BUF), Ihedigbo (BALT), Clemons (MIA), Pollard (TEN), and Abdullah (KC). He definitely doesn’t have household name recognition and he’s jumped around a bit from NO to CLE to OAK. But the fact that he played on a bad OAK defense could make him a good value acquisition that still stands as an upgrade at safety. The fact that he kind of fits the Chip mold at 6’0, 200 lbs, sports a 4.4 40, has good closing speed, good hip technique and is smart makes him intriguing.
        However, he was placed on the IR with a neck stinger and just played two snaps against the Eagles this year. So there is an “availability” question – and that may make him a bigger risk in the eyes of some teams.
        I dunno – Young’s not necessarily scraping from the bottom of the barrel, but there are a lot of question marks.

        • mtn_green

          Eagles aren’t afraid of often injured players, Bradley fletcher, Etc.

        • Andy124

          All good points. Of course, I was really just taking a shot at Nnamdi, not Young.

          Really, the fact that he was a 3rd round draft pick and hasn’t established himself as a full time starter in 7 years tells me he probably is what he is at this point. A backup. I’d be more than happy to replace Coleman with him, but wouldn’t want to sign him as say, a replacement for Allen and expect him to start.

          It’s all circumstancial eveidence there, but sometimes that stuff can be pretty telling.

      • Maggie

        DB’s from Oakland used to make everyone nervous. Google Stingley.

  • cliff henny

    know i’m the biggest hypocrit when it comes to D-Jax. if he played for any other team, easily be on my short list of most hated players. between showboating way too early on TDs, not being redzone threat, general avoidance of contact, contract issues, and (moreso under Reid) being a 1 trick pony, none of it bothers me, love this guy. kelly did a great job of expanding upon that 1 trick, still need to figure out the redzone. the rest of it, think that ship has sailed.

    • GEAGLE

      Yup, gotta take the bad with the good…he can have a bigger year, but not that much bigger. The weapons around him being upgraded is the important part…I can live with the production we got from him this year…obviously I would hve made an effort to get him involved in the playoff game..but just sorround him with Ertz,coop! and Evans and we are set

      • cliff henny

        like to see more 7 yd hitches when he’s getting 1v1, slip a cb and run like the wind-start dancing aroud the 10-gawd i hate myself for loving that.

        • GEAGLE

          ET n HAwes to thunder for their two first rounders and perry jones?

          • cliff henny

            uh, yeah! okc would never give up that much. get hawes being late 1st, young mid 1st to right team, but turner isnt worth much. why would okc even want ET? he doesnt want to come off bench and sees himself as legit 1st or 2nd option. in okc, he’s 4th, and if he put up 20 shots they’d kill him. he needs to goto a team that’s close to 8th sead, desperate to get into playoffs to keep uninterested fanbase involved, needs scoring, and a bad GM. really charlotte is perfect place.

          • GEAGLE

            They prob do it if we let them unload Perkins contract..those are late first round picks, not terribly valuable to a contender like OKC who has to be itching to get over the hump..lol Charlotte…..word is we are now trying to package ET and Hawes! and took Thad off the table(ploy to up his value)..ET saying he won’t come off the bench complicates things

          • Token

            So….. youd trade your two deadline chips for two worthless first rounders, a terrible contract and a player thats not all that good?

            Probably the very last move a team like the Sixers should be making.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol as if they are worth more…considering both players are leaving in 4 months, you have to be brain dead to not take what you can get…and when you are 3 games out of owing Boston your 2014 first round pick, you have to be high to not think Hinkie will strip this down to bare bones and full tank!!

          • Token

            Boston? Dunno where you are going with that? Maybe im missing something? The Heat can get our pick.

            Point being, you dont take on bad contracts when you are the Sixers. They will likely have two top 12 picks this year. They have to keep their cap space open if theres any hope to lure a quality FA in the coming years.

            So im all for it if you can get a 1st for those guys. But the Sixers are not a team that should be taking back a contract.

          • GEAGLE

            Heat traded our pick to Boston a day or two ago

          • Token

            O ok. Now its if we make the playoffs they get the pick right? Thats still very unlikely.

          • GEAGLE

            Yup…and taking on contracts is exactly the plan..why wouldn’t we? We aren’t spending money for another year or two

          • cliff henny

            about max sixers could ever get. Hawes max is late 1st. turner, unless dealing with stupid GM, late 1st is a steal. sixers have a ton of cap space for at least 2 yrs, might as well eat some garbage to get cheap talent. young is worth the most, least trading team has some future control over him.

          • cliff henny

            sure turner is being packaged to artificially inflate hawes value. just cant see why any good team would want turner. the guy stinks, or at least has the greatest difference between how good he thinks he is vs reality. do find him being human block party funny, so for tank and comic relief, he can stay rest of year. once young is moved, sixers will crumble.

          • GEAGLE

            Hawes skilled expiring Big has to be valuable to a contender that already plays good defense…ETs value is do damn tricky right now…the kid can actually still become a really good NBA player, but I think his personality will always hold him back. Confidemce is important but you always have to honestly asses yourself as a athlete, and ET overvalued his current situation..then again. Some team will pay him more then Jrue or Thad got, so he isn’t that wrong…I suspect, packaging both in a 3way deal would be easier…take back two bad contracts if you have to, just get those picks…
            ..
            For what it’s worth, my people own Virtus Roma, so I’m always bothering scouts and GM (Antonio Riva, although he was recently fired lol) emailing to ask about international prospects…and they say we got future players in Kazemi and Fulkemir…They also think Exum will be the best guard out of this draft…I’m still crying over missing out of the Greek freak, knew that kid was special. ..I wouldn’t even speak to the Bucs unless they talkin moving Giannis…..there is also a 6’5 Serbian pt guard they speak highly of…not crazy athletic but a sound Dragic type of floor general

    • SoCalEaglesFan

      I think Jackson is one of the best players to ever play for the Eagles, and I’ve been watching this team for more than a few decades. Having said that, some Eagles fans and some members of the media create myths about certain players. None more so than Jackson. He’s not a 1-trick pony. (that was Reid) He hasn’t done anything foolish near the goal line since his rookie year. He does get hit.

      The guy is all of 165 pounds with a bag of wrenches around his waste. Yet for that size he misses less games than many (actually most) of the big receivers in the league.

      To me he’s our Steve Smith. And here’s hoping he has a 10+ year career here with the Eagles. Show the man some love, Philadelphia.

  • Will
    • GEAGLE

      You talking bout Calvin Pryor? Best safety in the draft

      Props, that’s the first time I seen Calvin mocked in round 1, which is accurate!

      • G_WallyHunter

        Should we get that pumped for him?
        Is this Pryor guy like we have a second chance at Earl? Or what
        Pardon my lack of knowledge, not the closest follower of college ball

        • GEAGLE

          Earl was much more polished, and I’m not so sure Calvin has that kind of combine, but Calvin will be the best safety from this class…he hasn’t been tested in coverage as much as scout would like so the bowl and combine will be important for him….but this is the hardest hitter in the draft, with as much potential as any safety in terms of playing FS and dropping in coverage….Won’t be as day 1′ready as Earl was, but this is a special safety talent, who can play strong or free! which should apeal to us…problem is, the mock community n GMs will figure this out soon, so I don’t know he lasts til 22

          But he is talented enough to where we should be happy to get him at 22..kid legit..6’2, 210, 4.54 or somethin
          ..
          If we don’t get the right type of quality safety in FA, this kid shoots to the top of my list….similar to Dashon Goldson type of saety
          ..
          Really good tackler and heavy hitter…delivers the BOOM

          Think he is closer to Reid/Vaccarro then Swearinger/Cyprien….ton of talent
          ..
          It’s no secret our defense lacks dreadlocks

          • Maggie

            According to some, heavy hitters have been almost outlawed in the NFL. Need only another ballhawk. Of course, the ideal DB would be both. ; D

        • Myke Lowery

          I dont know that much about him. besides this…

          • G_WallyHunter

            Oh my lord, he makes it look like he hit someone half his height..

          • Myke Lowery

            that WR is 6’2″ 211 lbs according to ESPN

          • SoCalEaglesFan

            Am I the only one who cares that the hit came after the guy got a 1st down? Pretty worthless play if you ask me.

          • Justin

            Yeah, he should have just let him pick up even more yards and maybe a TD.

          • Will

            http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=9805088

            more video of Pryor…no 1st down…

      • Will

        HaHa Clinton-Dix is rated #1 pretty much everywhere but yes would grab Pryor and run….

        • GEAGLE

          Who rated him one? Some blowhard Mel Kiper?

          Forget the ratings, pro teams don’t even have their board up yet….ratings now are done without about 40% of information teams will reciever(Bill Pollian)…rankings mean nothing right now, psychological tests need to be done, detailed physicals, security checks….kids getting drafted ahead of Dix,mand I don’t care what Kiper says

          • Will

            lol…either one would be welcomed… if it were up to me I prefer Pryor….A ball hawk Safety with a Linebacker mentality….

          • GEAGLE

            I have no idea how much Dix weighs, but he seems light to me

          • Will

            Dix 6’1″ 206 lbs…..

      • Will

        I ‘ve seen Calvin mocked 2nd best as low as 4th overall…

  • GEAGLE

    BOLD PREDICTION: people are HIGH if they think Haha Clinton Dix is getting picked ahead of Lousvilles Calvin Pryor…Pryor will be the first safety drafted, for Dix fans, that would mean their is a slight chance he is on the board when we pick…

    Btw, Pryor would fill our dreadlocks quota nicely

    • Token

      I hope they just pay Byrd and be done with it.

      But I keep seeing this Pryor guy pop up.

      Now, can he cover?

      I dont really care about a big hitter safety. Thats out of the league now. Coverage should be the top thing they are looking for. A guy that can play centerfield. Is that this kid?

      • DLRJ

        I totally agree with you about the hitting, although I think you and I are in the minority on that. I loved Brian Dawkins as much as the next guy, but the rules have changed so much that coverage ability is MUCH more important that being a hard hitter. If a guy can hit (and not get flagged too much), that’s a really nice bonus, but the relative importance has decreased dramatically.

  • ia

    I would like to see how many more INT’s happened on the WR’s that were targeted more then DJax. Being open is nice but it has to be in tune with the QB going through his progressions. You cannot expest Foles to keep his eyes on DJax until he is open.
    We need more targets on DJax with same chance on TO’s.

    • cliff henny

      by foles…that’s easy…it’s either 0 or 1.

    • Maggie

      According to many who post on here, Foles is really good at throwing to receivers before they’re open, so he shouldn’t have to wait. Yet, he does. Way too many sacks, while holding the ball too long. Yet he seldom is criticized for doing so, while the endless outpouring of venom on Vick for also holding the ball too long never stopped. Btw, I don’t care who the quarterback is, so don’t anybody start. It’s the TEAM that matters. I just can’t stand hypocracy or commenters changing their tune every 5 minutes. Or, cliff h., complaining about some player’s actions FIVE years ago.

  • ia

    Btw in Kelly’s system it’s not about breaking records for individuals. More about sacrificing yourself so somebody else can make a big play for the team. He took Foles out the 4thQ in his 7 TD game to give Barkley reps.
    So DJax be more of a decoy so Cooper/Maclin can have another great year.

    • Maggie

      Agree completely. DJax already learned to block for Chip’s schemes, so who knows next year?

  • Marilyn Monbroe

    I see lots of draft talk on here but I have a Question for everyone. Would you rather the 49ers front seven, or the Seahawks secondary?

    • cliff henny

      good question. while i do believe a great front 7 makes a secondary life easier, it’s alot harder to find a combination of chancellor,thomas, sherman and browner. so, for resources reasons alone, i’m taking Seattle.

      • Marilyn Monbroe

        It’s tough. San fran doesn’t need to blitz to get pressure, but with seattles secondary, they can send exotic blitzes and just play man. I can’t think of a great secondary winning championships, but I can think of several front sevens.

        • cliff henny

          i’m taking question as you are handing me 1 or other, for 3 yrs. my chances or recreating SF front 7, or near, is alot greater than Seattle’s secondary, just based on resources and draft picks-look how many safety picks eagles have wasted. now, if you ask me to start from square 1, which would i try and recreate, SF front 7. if stumble into Seattles secondary, fantastic

          • Marilyn Monbroe

            We’ve stumbled on picks of pass rushers too.

    • Pennguino

      I would take the secondary. The reason is there are more ways to defeat a pass rush than to exploit the secondary. If an offense goes quick pass, max protect, roll outs, screens, draws, you need a secondary that can cover.

    • Will

      Seattle’s shut down secondary no brainier….

  • EaglePete

    shades of keyshawn here. Man is he hard to like. Great player just a bit limited but he makes up for it by creating space and opening up plays for other guys. When the field gets tight though a lot of that goes away.

  • Will

    DJax should do more and talk less, greedy, self-centered to the core…

  • Max Lightfoot

    Well, I guess the “Are you gonna let them come into our house and steal our stuff?” coach speech won’t work for DeJax.