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How To Replace 1300 Yards

 
How To Replace 1300 Yards

Wow. Someone retweeted that to me this morning, and I can't even take credit for it. 

Two-plus years later the only rationale I can think of to explain it, is that the always responsible Redskins were the suckers who took McNabb off the Eagles hands then, so they might attempting another theft

Jackson is a divisive topic. 

Many of my Eagle-fan friends loathe the decision to cut him. 

Fiery criticism of ownership and management decrying them as arrogant as they've ever been. 

Superficially speaking, it's difficult to see why the Eagles decided to release Jackson, who was coming off a career campaign and a 16 game sequence where he was one of the league's best receivers. 

82 catches, 1332 yards, 9 scores. He also started 16 games for the first time in his 7 year career. 

Why would the Eagles sack that production? 

My first inclination was that this was done because Jackson one a was route receiver. 

As a speedy but diminutive receiver Jackson wasn't a threat to go over the middle, especially after Dunta Robinson clobbered the wings off his helmet a few years ago.

Jackson wasn't a slant guy. He obviously wasn't tall enough to be a fade option in the red-zone. He wasn't going to battle through tackles for yards and first downs. 

Whether it was a deep fade or a post, Jackson's strength as a receiver came from his run-past-you speed, which was maybe the fleetest in the game. 

Jackson is exceptional at what he does, but he doesn't do much. I suppose if there was ever an antithetical Joker maxim, that would be it. 

The Eagles didn't need the cap flexibility, but why should Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie sign a check in 2014 for roughly $650,000 a game to a receiver who, lethal or not, was so one dimensional. Part of what makes Josh Gordon, Calvin, AJ Green and so many top receivers so special is that they excel at almost all facets of the position. 

Jackson ran about a 4.35 40 way-back-when. Let's say he's slowed just a bit seven years later. And again, WAS MAKING OVER TEN MILLION DOLLARS JUST TO RUN STRAIGHT, and yes, I realize I'm really oversimplifying Jackson's abilities and the threat he was. 

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I'll assume you're aware that thanks to talent and so many underclassmen participating in this year's draft, it's one of the deepest in years. Much of that expected depth comes from the wide receiver position. 

There are 12 receivers that ran a 4.45 forty or better at this year's combine. 

There are 14 receivers ranked in the top 100 overall prospects in this post

To simply make a financial comparison, in 2013, third round pick from Baylor, Cowboys rookie Terrance Williams was the lowest paid player on the roster. He made $405,000, or the POINT in Jackson's '14 salary. 

Doubters believe Chip Kelly's Oregon philosophy of interchangeable pieces on offense will fail at the NFL level. We'll find out next year. 

There may not be a better scientist of dissecting the game than Greg Cosell and here's who he believes will make sense for the Eagles in the draft. 

All these words later, my second thought on the Jackson saga was far beyond the visceral fan's emotion of 'Jackson MADE Riley Cooper, and Jeremy Maclin won't be the same after knee surgery.'

There's validity to both of those. 

Kelly may harshly realize that the pieces in the NFL aren't so malleable, but the Eagles are still arguably 'loaded' on offense, even with just Nick Foles firing from the quarterback position. 

Cooper. Maclin. 

Said likely rookie wide receiver draft within the first few rounds.

Lesean McCoy the best dual threat back in the league...who should be fresher than ever late in the year - which is foundational to Kelly's beliefs - thanks to the arrival of Darren Sproles, who MAY be more receiver than running back. Not just in stats, but where he lines up for the majority of his play. Think of the Jimmy Graham conundrum. Is he a receiver or a tight end? Is Sproles a back or a receiver? 

The Eagles tight ends, steady Brent Celek and 2nd round rookie Zach Ertz, combined for 68 catches, 971 yards and 6 scores last year. Expect Ertz to be a more integral piece in this year's attack as well. 

The steady stick moving skills of Jason Avant will need to be replaced. It was a money decision, but I was disappointed to see him go. The Eagles may actually regret that more than moving on from Jackson. 

Just because Jackson is now gone, doesn't put the Eagles offense in neutral. 

By now you've read or heard of Jackson's possible affiliations with the infamous Crips, thanks to an exhaustive NJ.com foray

Jackson also supposedly clashed with Kelly. 

There was also a mysterious robbery, which was recently corrected. 

Jackson's Instagram at times has looked like a photo gallery that would make Suge Knight jealous of his associations. 

He threw gang signs at DeAngelo Hall too?

The Cooper comparisons are inanely shortsighted. Cooper had an isolated (we hope and think) incident. Michael Vick served his debt to society, and continues to do so. Jackson chooses to be part of a lifestyle that has some degree of connection to criminal activity. 

Even after the murderous epic of Aaron Hernandez, the Eagles could've chosen to keep Jackson thinking even if he did wind up becoming directly involved in something similarly sordid and insidious they could somewhat ignorantly claim, 'hey, his behavior at work doesn't affect the team (and we won).' 

I believe the Eagles will find a way to win as many games without Jackson in '14, as they were going to with him. 

Even if it was just a financial decision tied to skill set, I'd be satisfied with moving on from Jackson, but I do have one doubt that has lingered throughout this bizarre episode.

I'm as pro-Chip as one can get. He singlehandledly reanimated my interest in the team that's always coursed through my DNA. But I hope this isn't Kelly applying the actions of a dictatorial college head coach who believes he's more vital than just about anyone. Great head coaches in the NFL CAN be worth wins, but that's not an attitude that Kelly needs to be mimicking from Belichick after just one year in the league.

Secondarily I question booting Jackson with little more than circumstantial (public) evidence, as I wonder if the locker room culture Kelly has constructed isn't strong enough to maintain a player like Jackson.

I worry that Kelly may take on the attitude that anytime a player misbehaves to a certain extent, they're just going to make that player a former Eagle. 

In fact, if it meant overpaying a player like Avant aT his advanced NFL age just to keep Jackson from ruining the team, and possibly his career and life, I would have done it. 

Someone let me know what I'm going to prophetically tweet next!

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