Jeremy Maclin broke in to the league in 2009 as a first round pick, a year after the Eagles spent a 2nd round pick on DeSean Jackson. The two players have spent countless time together in the locker room, in practice, on the field during games, and in positional meeting rooms. In fact, there may not be another player on the roster who has spent more time with Jackson than Maclin.
At Todd Herremans' Hoops for Help charity event Thursday night, it was interesting to get Maclin's take on the mysterious situation that has played out with Jackson over the last month. Like Chip Kelly at the owners' meetings, Maclin praised Jackson, but his praise did not include a definitive declaration that he wants Jackson to return to the team for the 2014 season.
Maclin, who said he has not yet spoken with Jackson, was asked point blank if he wanted Jackson back. "I want to win games," Maclin replied, "and obviously DeSean is a very talented player. So I want to win games."
That's not exactly a resounding "yes."
Maclin was also asked if Jackson is part of the good culture the Eagles are trying to build. He responded, "I mean, I guess. Like I said, they’re trying to do whatever they’re trying to do, that’s what they’re trying to do, so I don’t know."
It has been beaten to death already that Jackson had his best season in 2013, catching 82 passes for 1332 yards and 9 TDs. It has also often been noted that Jackson's value to the offense goes beyond his statistics. With opposing defenses terrified of being beaten deep by a player with Jackson's elite speed, they are forced to keep a safety deep and shaded to Jackson's side of the field, which opens up opportunities in the Eagles' #1 ranked rushing attack.
Acknowledging that Jackson is a great player, Maclin noted, "He’s a playmaker. He’s a guy who can make plays when the ball is in his hands. Like I said there’s no denying that. When you have guys who can break open a game and score on any given play, it helps the offense."
"Guys don’t get double-teamed in this league," explained Maclin. "There’s one guy in the league that gets double-teamed, and that’s Calvin Johnson on the goal line. Guys don’t get double-teamed in this league. If you went out there and you weren’t able to make plays you wouldn’t be out there. To have him on the field and being able to make plays is a plus for the offense, but at the same time, anybody that’s out there is (capable of making plays)."
"I think my value is my value regardless of who I have playing around me. That’s kind of my mindset and how I approach the situation."
Summing up the situation, Maclin stated, "Anything is possible in this league. I think the organization is going to do what is best for the organization. Everybody knows that DeSean is a phenomenal talent. But at the end of the day, that’s not a decision the players get to make, or the city gets to make. That’s a decision the staff gets to make and I think that whatever they decide to do, with any decision, I think that’s what you have to believe in, that’s what you have to have faith in."
That is not a ringing endorsement from the player who has probably spent more time with Jackson than anyone on the team.
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