DeSean Jackson: How Eagles Can Recover from WR's Season-Ending Rib Injury
Well, the short version is that the Eagles can't recover. Not in 2012.
But here's the long version.
When wide receiver DeSean Jackson suffered multiple rib fractures on Monday, the team placed him on injured reserve, according to the Associated Press—which is just typical of the way Philadelphia's season is going at this point.
It would lose its leading wide receiver in the first season after he signs a five-year, $47 million deal with the team. That's the way its luck has been this season.
It has become increasingly evident over the last seven weeks that the Eagles are headed nowhere fast. It was clear even before Michael Vick went down with a concussion. The Eagles needed a lot more than a decent Michael Vick to get through this season alive, and now, they're without him and another key offensive piece of this team.
In the long run, what does this mean for the Eagles? Mostly that changes have to be coming at this point. Jackson's injury was the last straw. According to Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith, Jackson's offseason shouldn't be affected by the rib injury suffered during Monday's loss to Carolina. And that's a good thing, because Jackson may be one of the only bright spots for the Eagles this offseason.
In him, Philadelphia at least has a capable offensive asset. In his two best seasons with the Eagles from 2009-10, Jackson accumulated a total of 2,464 yards and 17 touchdowns. He, at least, gives them something to build off with this offense, and the Eagles are lucky for that; at least they're not starting from zero.
They have big decisions to make with regards to the two people who are arguably the most important to the team. Will Andy Reid be the coach of this team? And will Michael Vick be the quarterback?
Jackson's injury was the final nail in the coffin for the Eagles this season and will force management to think about these things a lot sooner than they wanted to.
It seems unlikely that Reid, for one, will be in Philadelphia next year. After 14 years with the Eagles, his time is likely up, considering that management was already unhappy with an 8-8 finish in 2011. Imagine how it's going to feel about this year's pathetic campaign. While no decisions have been made—yet—owner Jeffrey Lurie told the Associated Press' Rob Maaddi that there must be "substantial improvements" before 2013.
And that could mean Vick's tenure with the Eagles is over as well. Perhaps Philly jumped the gun by signing him to a massive six-year, $100 million deal after a decent 10-6 campaign in 2010; now, the Eagles are likely going to have to find a way to get out of it. Vick has led this team absolutely nowhere over the last two seasons, and at 32, he's no spring chicken anymore. It may be time to start over, especially if the Eagles are bringing in a new coach, too.
But at least Jackson gives them somewhere positive to start. At least Jackson offers them some continuity as they head into what promises to be a tumultuous offseason.
And hopefully, Jackson's pre-2012 prophecy won't continue to jinx this team. Upon signing his new contract with the Eagles, Jackson told the Eagles' official website:
I have five bright years to look for. In one of those years, I’m going to guarantee a Super Bowl because we’ve been close the past four years that I’ve been here. Last year, with it being a tough year, just the way we caught on fire towards the end of the year, I see this team as the sky being the limit.
Forget a Super Bowl. Right now, the Eagles would settle for a winning record.
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