Philadelphia Eagles: Is Jeremy Maclin Underappreciated?

Mike WassersonContributor IIJuly 7, 2011

Do we have any Lost fans in here?!

I’ll keep my point short and sweet considering it does have a relevance to my topic. Plus, performing a root canal on yourself would probably be easier to describe the premise of this show to you.

The series’ main character went by the name of Jack Sheppard and we learned a lot about Jack, especially throughout the first several seasons of the show. In his pre-stuck on an island life, Jack was a hot-shot doctor and that director mentality translated to his role as leader on the island among the survivors.  

However, anyone that invested a lot of their time into the show like I did knows that the character John Locke is the glue that held the show together. He was the most compelling character and had the most intriguing storyline, as well. He was the one who held interest for viewers entering the final seasons of the show.

In my opinion, he was almost like an unsung hero for the series.

Ipso facto, DeSean Jackson equals Jack Sheppard while Jeremy Maclin equals John Locke. Keep reading, it will make more sense.

Jackson is the definition of a playmaker in its rawest form. He’s a home run threat every time he breaks from the line of scrimmage and looks to turn on the boosters against an opposing cornerback.

Jackson took it personal by being drafted not until the second round of the 2008 draft by the Eagles. It wasn’t anything against the Eagles considering that they were the ones who took a shot on him, but rather a metaphorical middle finger to the rest of the 31 other teams that passed him up.

He would go on to break the record for most touchdowns over 50 yards with a total of eight during the 2009 season.

Not bad for a guy who was deemed too small and undersized to be a successful threat in the league coming out of college at Cal.

I can go on and on about how Jackson wows us every Sunday afternoon or Monday night. I’m sure anyone reading this article is informed enough to know what the guy is capable of.

However, what I’m about to say isn’t necessarily a knock on Jackson. He is the biggest threat on the team and there is no way the offense will be able to gel without him. Especially considering how predicated the offense is on the passing game.

In the long run, Jeremy Maclin will be the more consistent receiver for this team. Yeah, I said it!

He’ll never be as explosive as Jackson is, but when looking at the comprehensive picture of what exactly a wide receiver’s responsibilities are, I believe Maclin is the overall better fit.

First and foremost, it’s a pleasure to post this up as a debate. The fact that the Eagles have two young, stud receivers both entering their prime is a privilege. It’s something that would have been unimaginable if you wanted to flashback six or seven years ago when the receiver spots were occupied by Todd Pinkston, James Thrash and Freddie Mitchell.

Heck, I’m not even bringing up Jason Avant in this article, and he is arguably one of the top slot receivers in the game.

Maclin, to me, is a complete package at the receiver position who will only continue to flourish with the team. He’s bigger than Jackson, plays at a more physical pace, has the ability to catch balls in traffic at a more significant rate than Jackson does, excels at blocking in the run game and is a legitimate threat in the red zone.

If there is any knock on Jackson, it’s his lack of production in the red zone. It’s like trapping a cheetah in a five-by-five room with nowhere to run. Its speed is useless if there is no room to operate.

Arguing about who is more significant between Maclin and Jackson is a debatable topic, however, the following statement is not considering it is backed up by statistical evidence: Maclin was the best red zone target for the team last year with seven of his nine total scores coming inside the 20-yard line.

It’s actually kind of scary looking at that table and realizing that Jackson had just as many touchdowns in the red zone as offensive lineman Todd Herremans!

At the same time though, I think this is why Maclin and Jackson complement each other so well. They’re the thunder to each other’s lightning if you want to put it that way.

Jackson is highly efficient in operating in space from one 20-yard line to another, while Maclin excels inside of it. However, Maclin gives you the full package that Jackson doesn’t necessarily do, considering he’s able to perform well anywhere on the field.

In fact, I think the most impressive touchdown pass of the season came against Washington in Week 10 when Michael Vick connected with Maclin for a 48-yard score in the right corner of the end zone.

There probably aren’t three quarterbacks in the league who could have made that throw given Vick’s positioning (essentially flat-footed), while at the same time there probably aren’t a lot of receivers who could have made that grab like Maclin did either. That play epitomized the talent that this offense has.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, the purpose of this write-up wasn’t necessarily to knock Jackson. I realize that if he isn’t on this team, there really isn’t anyone to stretch the defense like him and open up other options on the team such as Maclin, Brent Celek or LeSean McCoy.

My point was more along the lines of giving credit where credit is due. All of us are capable of watching ESPN’s top plays and seeing Jackson haul in a go-route for an 80-yard score or watch him take a punt to the house against the Giants.

However, it’s been a pleasure watching Maclin pick up on the intricacies of this offense. He thrives where Jackson does not, and it happens to be in one of the most important places on the field in the red zone.

I’m looking forward to watching Maclin, along with Jackson, grow in this offense in the upcoming season and future ones as well.

The James Thrash and Todd Pinkston days are long gone. Welcome to the new era.



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