DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin

Is it possible that at some point this season the Eagles could be playing without Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, their top two wide receivers?  Hopefully it won’t happen but a bad thought just dawned on me today.

The Eagles’ depth at wide receiver could be tested this season.

This could be considered far-fetched and maybe it is, well, at least I honestly hope it is.  But, here’s how I could see the likes of Riley Cooper and Jason Avant end up starting for the Eagles at one point or another this year:

Jeremy Maclin has been battling a mystery illness.  He was said to have had mononucleosis back in February and was recovering in April.  He reportedly lost about 15 lbs as a result of the illness, most of which he supposedly has gained back.

Well, it’s August and he’s still “recovering”.  By my account, that means he’s been battling with this for six months, much longer than typical mono.

According to MedicineNet, physical symptoms usually subside after about three weeks and fatigue can last for months in some cases.  Of course, that is assuming what Maclin had back in February was actually mono.  Reports back then actually stated “mono-like symptoms“.

And we don’t know what symptoms he may still be experiencing.  The Eagles and Maclin have kept this thing quiet.  Though Maclin, as Jeff McLane reported recently, at least offered some reassurance when he stated that reports about a serious or life/career-threatening illness we’re “crazy”.

The Eagles are painting the picture that they expect Maclin to be fine and he should be in the starting lineup come opening day.

But the fact of the matter is, he’s been dealing with some type of illness that either hasn’t been diagnosed yet or they simply aren’t making it public.  It’s been going on since February and tests are still being run.

Tests are still being run?  Six months after his illness set in?  Maybe it’s time he sees Dr. House.

If it’s something that keeps recurring or is more serious than they’re letting on, it’s entirely possible Maclin could miss some time this season.

As far as DeSean Jackson is concerned, he finally arrived at camp and said all of the right things during his interview.  Here is an excellent transcript of his press conference yesterday, courtesy of Philadelphia Daily Sports.

I know that, given what he has said, all things should be hunky-dory going forward.  No distractions whatsoever regarding his contract situation, right?

Call me skeptical, and admittedly I am, but will he really be the “good soldier” all season if he doesn’t have his contract redone?  Is he only saying the right things now because he thinks that’s what the Eagles want to hear in order to start negotiating?

Let’s go over a few things we know about DeSean.  He’s an explosive play-maker and is a young star in the NFL. He plays a position that is perpetually known for players being prima donnas.  He has the uber flashy, attention propagating, and controversial agent in Drew Rosenhaus.

Part of the reason why Jackson dropped in the draft to the second round was because of his reputation for being a showboat, egotistical, immature, and yes…a prima donna in the making.

Over all, he’s been pretty good for the most part since his arrival in Philadelphia.  I think he’s worked hard to build a professional image and not come off as some egotistical wide receiver that only cares about himself.

But now he’s looking to get paid.  Jackson is still young and has shown signs of immaturity.  I’m sure Rosenhaus has his ear and is filling his head with “things” that are pumping him up.  If the Eagles don’t start negotiating to his liking, I’m not so sure Jackson can keep his composure all season.

I can foresee this becoming a distraction one way or another.  Either Jackson starts making his displeasure known publicly, or more possibly, gets a case of “the hammies”.  As in, he keeps mysteriously keeps getting little hard-to-medically-prove injuries that keep him out of games.

Rosenhaus and Jackson know they’re going to get paid big money.  If the Eagles don’t negotiate in the ballpark they’re looking for, they could start looking towards next year when he becomes a free agent.

If they do, they could start either purposely, or even subconsciously, “protecting their asset”.  Meaning, they will want to lessen the risk of serious injury so he doesn’t lose value and thus exaggerate any little injury to keep him off the field.

Of course, in doing so they take a chance on that hurting his value anyway — if the perception is there that he dogged it in order to avoid injury.

If either or both of these scenarios play out, that means the Eagles will have to rely on Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, and whomever ends up as the 5th receiver (Sinorice Moss, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Chad Hall).

Obviously, neither of these scenarios could play out and hopefully they won’t.  I’m not trying to make a big ado about nothing here, just bringing up another point of view albeit a skeptical one.

I sincerely hope Maclin’s illness is nothing to be concerned about, but until he starts practicing 100% and/or makes it clear what he’s dealing with, I’ll remain a little concerned.

And let’s hope DeSean remains true to the words he just stated yesterday in that he’s here to play football and won’t let his contract become a distraction.  Or better yet, hopefully he and the Eagles agree on a new deal.

I’m not interested in seeing Cooper and Avant as our top two WRs at any point this season.  I might be able to handle needing one of them to step into a starting role, but not both!

 


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