When DeSean Jackson runs out of the tunnel Sunday taking on his former team, you can’t help but wonder if Jackson will think about what could have been.
Just a year ago Jackson was a free agent after spending three seasons in Washington. Even before the 2016 season ended, speculation arose that the former Eagle might be coming back to the city where he spent six seasons becoming one of the most dangerous deep threats in NFL history.
During the Eagles-Redskins week 16 match-up, an employee at Lincoln Financial Field asked Jackson “You coming home?” Jackson’s reply got Eagles fans everywhere excited about a possible reunion.
The moment I thought DeSean was coming back pic.twitter.com/dyhb9VpNbs
— Louie DiBiase (@DiBiaseLOE) September 15, 2018
Not only did Jackson comment on a potential comeback with the security guards, but he also told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he wanted to play for a great quarterback (praising Carson Wentz) and that coming back to the Eagles would be a “great story or ending I guess you could say.”
The pairing made perfect sense. In the three years that Jackson wasn’t with the Eagles, the team was unable to replace him at wide receiver, rolling through the likes of Dorial Green-Beckham, Josh Huff, Jordan Matthews, and Miles Austin.
They also couldn’t find anybody to cover Jackson who suddenly was playing the Eagles twice a year.
He went from being the most dangerous deep threat in Eagles history, to the most dangerous threat to go deep against the Eagles.
Jackson gave the Eagles fits as he exposed the mediocre groups of Carry Williams and Bradley Fletcher, Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll, followed by Carroll and Leodis McKelvin.
He was the kryptonite of the Eagles. They could not stop the once Giant, Cowboy, and Redskin killer that was now the biggest Eagle killer in the NFL.
Since 1983, DeSean Jackson has the most 50-yard catches for the Eagles and the most 50-yard catches against the Eagles.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) September 12, 2018
The Eagles finally had the opportunity to do right by Jackson who was cut unexpectedly by Chip Kelly after (or before) a story came out that Jackson had gang ties back in California. It was speculated that the Eagles leaked the story as a way to justify cutting a receiver who had a career year in 2013. Jackson who has never got in trouble off the field spoke on the matter often, saying he grew up with friends that did get involved with gangs but he had never been a part of it.
Now that Chip Kelly was out of the picture and the Eagles desperately needed weapons to surround Carson Wentz with, it seemed like DeSean Jackson could be coming home.
Jackson seemed to like the idea, the Eagles reportedly had interest, and even former teammates like Brandon Graham and LeSean McCoy were talking about the potential reunion.
“It’s an exciting feeling to get an Eagle back. I’m excited because he should have never left. Everybody knows that DeSean, yes, things were happening while he was here, but he’s a good guy. I used to be with him all the time.”
“I’m just happy because I kinda knew already. I’ve talked to him. I talked to him when Doug (Pederson) got hired. We have fun during the season. He’s like, ‘B.G. you know I’ll be back, man.’ But now that it’s official, as far as the season about to be over, I think you’ll be hearing a lot of noise about DeSean … I’m saying official as far as the end of season, now we’re gonna really see.”
Instagram live w/ Shady McCoy tonight was interesting. Called Kiko a bumb and said Desean told him he was going back. Whatever that means.
— Dan Hellie (@DanHellie) December 25, 2016
The comeback of a fan favorite never came to fruition. Jackson, in a free agent market where a lot of teams were willing to pay big money for weapons like him, cashed in with Tampa Bay.
The Eagles took the route of bringing in Alshon Jeffery on a one-year prove it deal, while bringing in Torrey Smith to be their new DeSean Jackson.
Smith struggled to make the deep plays down the field but signing Jeffery over Jackson seemed to pay off as the Eagles finally had a complete WR1 who scored 12 touchdowns on the year including three in the playoffs. Jeffery was one of the biggest reasons the offense opened up and the team never looked back winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Jackson has to think that potentially could have been him had he and the Eagles worked something out in free agency.
With DeSean instead of Jeffery, Wentz would still have plenty of weapons on offense to take the MVP-caliber step he took in year two.
He commented on the Eagles winning the Super Bowl in an appearance on “Undisputed”, and how he and players like McCoy or Jeremy Maclin could have been with that Super Bowl team had Chip Kelly kept them around.
But DeSean’s situation is different from that of McCoy and Maclin. The Eagles were interested in bringing Jackson back. Had he asked for less money, perhaps the Eagles bring him home and he is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the Eagles.
What a story it could have been.
Instead, Jackson will be looking to once again be a problem for the Eagles secondary this Sunday. This time with a journeyman quarterback and a team that despite being 1-0, has a lot of question marks for this season and the future.
Gotta wonder if Jackson would do it differently if he could go back to 2017 free agency.
It was Avonte Maddox Mania around Eagles Nation after the 30-23 upset victory in LA. The rookie was a main reason the Eagles season is still alive. Who else is trending upward after LA? Who’s stock took a hit?
Louie dives into how the Eagles can do damage in a surprisingly underwhelming NFC conference, where Maddox will lineup in the secondary next year, and brings you our weekly “Stock Up, Stock Down” segment on the Locked on Eagles podcast!
From dog masks to ski masks
With the season on the line, on the road, against one of the best teams in the NFL, Nick Foles and the Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a 30-23 victory against the Rams.
How was Jim Schwartz able to hold one of the top offenses in the league to 23 points?
How does Nick Foles keep pulling off the impossible?
Will he be the guy the rest of the reason including perhaps playoffs?
Louie and Gino break down the memorable victory over the Rams.
No easy way out
By Lars Lewis
The term ‘No Easy Way Out’ refers to a song by Robert Tepper from a famous movie involving a couple key factors that relate to what was witnessed Sunday night in Los Angeles.
One factor, a fighter from Philadelphia whose back is against the wall and senses the walls closing in as he encounters the other factor, a cyborg-like monster who has wiped out essentially any sort of defense that’s faced him.
Yes, there was a lot of Rocky IV in this game and I’ll explain why.
It seemed the Eagles, who had once again called upon their Rocky Balboa in Nick Foles, longed for one more puncher’s chance against a foe that could certainly put away their faint playoff hopes for good.
We’re not indestructible,
Baby better get that straight
I think it’s unbelievable
How you give into the hands of fate
So you figured out the first piece of the puzzle, but what about that certain monster who loomed so large over Rocky physically but also mentally?
Yeah, that was Ivan Drago, and Sean McVay fits him to a tee.
I mean think about it. Blonde, spiky hair, blue eyes, chiseled face, and a borderline unfair amount of gifts both possess(ed). Drago’s superhuman power and technique coincides with McVay’s absurd memory that teeters between scary and let’s face it, rather annoying.
Doug Pederson, following the highest of highs last season when he beat Lord Palpa…err I mean Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl, has never faced the kind of scrutiny the way he’s had this year and especially leading into the game Sunday.
I see all the angry faces
Afraid that could be you and me
Talkin about what might have been
I’m thinkin about what I used to be
When it got to game time in the L.A. Coliseum, just like Rocky when he walked to the ring in Moscow, the Eagles knew they were fueled by a burning desire set ablaze through a heartbreaking defeat in Dallas coinciding with Rocky’s loss of Apollo in the film.
Foles throughout the first three quarters resembled the Foles we all saw on that fateful February night, hitting Alshon Jeffrey for big gains, moving it up and down the field and consistently getting into the red-zone to allow his trio of running backs to do their damage.
“You see he’s not a machine! He’s a man!” Tony “Duke” Evers
The Rams as the Chicago Bears proved last week, are indeed human and Foles, along with a sterling performance from Jim Schwartz’ defense for most of the night, has assured Rocko one more round as they play Houston and then close the season in D.C for maybe, just maybe, a second shot at the title.
There’s no easy way out there’s no shortcut home