The receiver is participating in all of the workouts as the offseason training program gets underway and is running routes. He expects to perhaps get limited reps during OTAs but said that if it were training camp, he would be fully cleared to do everything, including 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. He added that he does not intend to wear a knee brace this season. A positive update all the way around.
With the health questions out of the way, the focus shifted towards the departure of DeSean Jackson and the impact it will have on both Maclin and the offense as a whole.
Prior to Jackson’s release, Maclin was asked whether his counterpart’s presence made his job easier in terms of how opponents defend the Eagles. Maclin noted in his response that the only player in the league that draws double-teams is Calvin Johnson. He made it very clear on Thursday, though, that having a quality receiver opposite him is important.
“You want two in this league. I think when you have two, you have a much better chance of being successful. I think teams that have one guy, those teams normally aren’t as good,” said Maclin.
Do the Eagles have two?
“I think we have two. I think we have more than two. I think we have two definitely, though.”
That is still to be determined. Riley Cooper is slated for the other starting role and while he found success last season in Chip Kelly‘s system, the jury is still out as to whether he can make a habit of it. The other options at receiver currently include Arrelious Benn (who is also coming off an ACL tear), Brad Smith, B.J. Cunningham, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl, Ifeanyi Momah and Will Murphy. The Eagles will almost certainly draft a receiver come May, but there is no guarantee that player will make an impact as a rookie.
“You just don’t know. You can say anything you want about the guys coming in but when you get to this level it’s a whole different story,” said Maclin. “For those guys I hope they do come in and make plays and be successful but it doesn’t always work like that.”
Still, the six-year vet remains confident that the current group of skill position players (which also includes Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and Brent Celek) can get the job done.
“I think we’ll be fine, man. Obviously DeSean is one of the better playmakers in this league but we’re moving forward and I think we’ll be just fine,” said Maclin.
“I have faith in the offense and I have faith in the guys that we have in the locker room and on the football field. Chip said it himself: the offense is not built around one guy. We have multiple guys that go out there and make plays, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this year.”
Asked about his relationship with Jackson, Maclin responded: “Our relationship is our relationship. It doesn’t need to be shared with anyone else.” The two have not spoken since Jackson’s release, he said.
As for filling the void?
“I’m going to do the best thing that Jeremy Maclin can do, and that’s to try and be the total package. As far as trying to replace somebody…I’m not here to replace anybody — there is nobody to replace. I’m going to go out there and do my thing and do what the coaches ask me to do. Not only be the best football player but be the best player I can be. Once you do that, now you’re reaching your full potential as a player and a person, and guys respect you for that.”