November 5, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) is unable to hold on to a pass in the endzone as New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (21) defends during the third quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Easgles 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
There has been plenty of talk lately about the ongoing contract negotiations between the Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. However, not much attention has been placed on what he has done on the field recently, and how he factors into Chip Kelly’s system.
Maclin has quietly become the most reliable target on the Eagles offense — last year he led the team with 69 catches for 857 yards and seven touchdowns. Many pundits will consider these lesser-than-expected numbers due to Maclin’s former first-round pedigree. However, in the dismal 2012 Eagles offense, Maclin showed his true colors and tenacity.
A knock on Maclin has been his tendency to miss football games due to injury. This could not be further from the truth.
Maclin has missed a total of five games over the past four seasons despite his lymphoma scare in 2011 which forced him to miss the entire preseason.
Recently, Maclin was interviewed on the Eagles official website about learning the new offensive system under Chip Kelly.
"I look at it as a way to showcase all of my skills as far as being able to be in so many different spots in this offense. I really am looking forward to it.I was one of the guys who picked up on it pretty fast. Now, it’s my job to continue to go out there and stay on top of it and do what they ask me to do."
It sounds as though Maclin is rather confident in his role in this new-look offense.
Maclin may end up being more of an option than most would expect heading into the new season. Most pundits have focused on the increased use of the tight ends and the use of DeSean Jackson‘s versatility around the offense. Maclin, however, is the one to watch in 2013.
One of the largest Eagles wide receivers — standing at 6-0, weighing 198 pounds — Maclin has already been a consistent threat in the red zone. Of his 26 career receiving touchdowns, 15 of them came come from within the red zone.
With the majority of teams buying into the scheme of Chip Kelly being a run-first offense that heavily features tight ends along with the versatility of Jackson as he is moved around the field this season, Maclin may be the receiver that finds himself with the best opportunities.
He is in a contract year and wants to continue proving that he is a worthy piece in this Eagles system. Maclin had a recent interview with NFL.com in which he expressed his desire to stay with the team.
"This is a big year for me personally with my contract coming up and everything. So I’m just looking forward to it. … I think that I can only get better. So I think it’ll be good for me to go out there and just play ball and let everything else take care of itself.This is the team and organization that drafted me. I don’t want to leave."
Watch for Maclin to continue to prove himself in a big way for the Eagles in 2013.