With the injury to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin that will keep him out for the season, the Philadelphia Eagles will need to find a way to replace him in the passing and return game. While Damaris Johnson handled punt return duties much of last year, the team was experimenting with Maclin as a punt returner during offseason workouts.
Johnson has done a respectable job as a punt return man for the team, but it looks like they are hoping for a bigger spark and they expect that to come from No. 1 wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who returned four punts for touchdowns during his first three years in the league.
According to Jackson, he is back as the team’s No. 1 punt returner and he is excited to get back in that role.
“I’m very excited about that,” Jackson said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Able to go out there once again, help the offense get in great field position and things like that. Something I’m looking forward to.”
You can’t question Jackson’s ability as a punt returner, but you can question the Eagles decision to make him their top option.
Without Maclin, Jackson’s role in the passing game will only increase, so it would be a bad move to put your top receiving threat in danger on special teams. Sure, the risk could be worth the reward, but if Jackson would be struck with an injury then the team would be stuck with Jason Avant and Riley Cooper as their starting wide receivers. That would obviously be a less than ideal scenario.
Will the Eagles use Jackson as the top return man during the season? We will have to wait and see. Something tells me that Eagles fans have to hope that will not be the case.