DeSean Jackson And the Missing Big-Play Offense

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean JacksonDeSean Jackson is on pace for a career-high in receptions and yards this season. He has yet to drop a pass and leads Eagles receivers in most statistical categories. He is invested and it shows.

Noticeably absent, though, are the big plays. Jackson just hasn’t landed many haymakers this season.

“If you watch film, it’s obvious what they’re doing  —  rolling safeties, things like that,” said Jackson. “A lot of times when I do have single coverage they’re blitzing. We’re just staying patient and hopefully something can break here.”

The offense, which ranks 31st in the NFL in scoring average (16 ppg.), is in need of a jolt. Jackson is still averaging a healthy 16.3 yards per reception but he has just one touchdown on the season, and that came in the red zone. He has five receptions of 20-plus yards, three less than Brent Celek and off the pace of the 21 he posted in 14 games in 2010.

Opposing defenses are keeping Jackson and the Eagles’ offense as a whole in front of them and forcing them to plod their way downfield.

“Oh yeah, we had a 17-play drive, a 15-play drive,” said Marty Mornhinweg.  “Now, we’re still taking our shots and I believe we’re sixth in big plays. That sounds a little better than it is because we’ve only had one touchdown on the big plays.

“We had some opportunities that we haven’t taken advantage of and we’ve gotten not quite as good as I want, but we’ve gotten some big plays that are there for us. The good thing is that we have had many long drives.”

The problem is the Eagles are only scoring touchdowns on 44 percent of their trips to the red zone (33 percent over their last three games), which ranks 24th in the NFL. If the red zone offense is spotty and the big plays aren’t there, where are the points coming from?

“Hopefully we get back to getting those big plays,” said Jackson. “That’s what we’re missing. They are keying on that and trying to stop that from happening, but we have to keep going on with what we’re doing and we’ll get one.”

Jackson said he is open to returning punts as well to try and generate some big plays, though the team hasn’t called his number yet this season.

“Whatever it is they need, that’s what I’m here for,” said Jackson. “It’s definitely a niche that I have for this game. I’ve been doing it for almost my whole life. We’ll see.”