Eagles veterans like to say you never know what to expect in the Chip Kelly offense. Actually, you do. Unless Kelly reinvents his system one of the new wrinkles will be wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the king of the go route, getting some looks in the read option at running back. “There might be plays where DeSean is in the backfield, you never know,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “I mean every time we come out here it’s always something different. It’s always a surprise. So you don’t know what to look forward to.” It’s almost guaranteed DJax will spend time in the backfield just as explosive hybrid receiver De’Anthony Thomas did for Kelly at Oregon. Conceptually putting the ball in Jackson’s hands is brilliant provided he’s in space. You don’t want the 175-pounder running between the tackles. In his Eagles career Jackson has 54 rushes for 371 yards (6.9 average) and three touchdowns, including one 67-yard dash for a score. Jackson is all for the extra touches. “Right now that’s the big thing because we’re able to motion from both sides, motion from side to side,” Jackson said. “Go behind the quarterback. Go in front of the quarterback. Things like that. “There’s just so many different options. That’s the biggest thing I can say is this offense really doesn’t have any limits. There’s plenty of options regardless of how the defense is playing.” It doesn’t take an Xs and Os guru to recognize Jackson would be a back coming across the field in the read option. The read option is the epitome of misdirection. Kelly’s offense is so full of misdirection defenders were bumping into each other at the first open practice earlier in the week. (Well, at least it seemed to be caused by misdirection). How much the Eagles would benefit with Jackson (5-10, 175) in such a role is debatable largely due to the potential for injury. Jackson has started 70 of 71 games for the Eagles, catching 274 passes for 4,785 yards (17.5 average) and 23 TDs. His longest grab was 91 yards. Defenses roll a safety to the side of the field where he lines up, leaving them short a defender against the run. The opposition would rather keep Jackson in front of them and give up a run than vice versa. Jackson has averaged four catches per game in his five-year career. If he’s going to take hits in traffic, you have to wonder about durability. Jackson certainly doesn’t seek out contact, or enjoy going over the middle. While he is unlikely to rack up 700 rushing yards, you have to wonder how much versatility he has. There are veteran Eagles who, before Kelly was hired, doubted Jackson or other NFL wide receivers would be viable components in the Oregon offense because of the threat of injuries.
Eagles' Chip Kelly envisions DeSean Jackson at running back, too
Delaware County Times | May 18