IT’S easy to blame the Offensive Line for the mess that our Offense has become, and while they shoulder part of the responsibility, the Offensive Line isn’t overthrowing WR’s, or dropping passes. The Offensive Line isn’t holding onto the ball too long, or dancing around before it hits the hole. We have other problems.
Of course, the first step to fixing any problem is correctly identifying it.
The first problem (nope, no foreplay), is that we’re missing DeSean Jackson. Or more accurately, Nick Foles is missing DeSean Jackson. And Riley Cooper is missing DeSean Jackson. And so is LeSean McCoy.
Last year in 10 starts Nick Foles got to just lay the ball out there, knowing Jackson has the speed to get under it. In case after case this year, we’ve seen that Foles no longer has a WR who can do that. That’s where all those rainbow shots are coming from, as Foles tries to put enough air under the ball to allow who he has left, to run under the ball. The result has been more than twice the interceptions in half the starts, compared to last year. You may say you don’t miss Jackson, but the numbers don’t lie. Nick Foles misses DeSean Jackson.
Let’s take drops out of the equation. Last year Riley Cooper averaged 17.8 yards per catch, and generally caught balls with lots of space around him. This year the coverage is tighter and he’s averaging a meager 8.3 yard per catch. I had a laugh when Chip Kelly said that aside from Calvin Johnson, no WR in the NFL sees double coverage. I’ll give Kelly the benefit of the doubt and say that instead of lying to make the loss of Jackson more palatable for fans, he merely doesn’t recognize bracket coverage when he sees it. Regardless of which one it is, Cooper is no longer the beneficiary of loose coverage. At this rate by season’s end, his new, over-inflated, NON-GUARANTEED contract won’t be commensurate with his play and will be expendable. I promise you, right about now DeSean Jackson is one n***** Cooper misses.
When the Free Safeties of most defenses you face, line up almost in the parking lot on most downs, it makes turning short runs into long runs much easier. On runs when LeSean McCoy can make it out of the backfield, he has plenty of those short runs to his credit. Problem is, there isn’t much space for him to create now. Now all the dancing around people loved about him last year, is getting him hemmed in most of the time this year. LeSean McCoy misses DeSean Jackson.
Getting rid of Jackson was one thing, but assuming that you didn’t have to replace his effect as a catalyst was outright foolish. But again, this is just to identify the problem. We don’t have a player on the roster who can do what Jackson did (try as Jeremy Maclin might). But there are things we can do to get us back on track, and what’s more, we can do it with guys we already have under contract.
And I’ll get into that, starting tomorrow.