Jeremy Maclin Leading Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receivers
Sep 15, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (18) dives in to score the tying touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Philadelphia defeats Indianapolis 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
While last Monday night’s come from behind win probably wasn’t the way head coach Chip Kelly drew up his game plan, it’s impossible to dispute that this Philadelphia Eagles team is loaded with offensive weapons. Everyone is talking about NFC Offensive Player of the Week Darren Sproles’ spectacular touchdown and 203 total yards (25 punt return/26 rushing/152 receiving) game against the Indianapolis Colts, but in my mind it’s wide receiver Jeremy Maclin leading the Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers corps who needs to have some of the attention.
If you look at his stats from a fantasy football perspective, Maclin didn’t have a great showing against the Colts. His line was 4 receptions on 11 targets for 45 yards one touchdown and an 11.3 yards-per-catch average. Jeremy was better in the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars netting 4 receptions on 11 targets for 94 yards one touchdown and a 24.3 yards-per-catch average. Maclin’s receptions to targets ratio must improve, and he admitted as much this week to reporters saying,
"“I had opportunities on the outside, I think I had eleven targets, but we just didn’t hit, and obviously I need to get that fixed,” said Maclin. “Me and Nick (QB Foles) will continue to work on that.”"
Fifteen weeks ago, with the departure of former Eagles top wide receiver DeSean Jackson, I asked can Jeremy Maclin lead the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver corps? On the field, Jackson’s speed forced opponents to give him extra attention, thus drawing defenders away from his teammates. I wasn’t in any type of panic mode as some were, but it was silly to dismiss Jackson’s impact on the Eagles offense. It wasn’t just the plays DeSean made himself, but the fact that offensive coordinators had to game-plan for him which added an extra level of preparation Eagles opponents were forced to contend with.
While Maclin certainly isn’t as fast as Jackson, Jeremy is dangerous in the open field and has proven in the past that he’s able to stretch the field. The 68-yard touchdown bomb he caught from QB Nick Foles in the fourth quarter against the Jaguars is further proof that he still has breakaway speed and his 2013 ACL injury is a thing of the past. Remember that in 2012 Maclin led the Eagles with 857 yards on 69 catches and seven touchdowns. He is just the eighth receiver in NFL history to record at least 55 catches and 750 yards in his first four seasons.
I believe Maclin is a very good receiver, and I think he will fix the targets-to-receptions ratio challenge he’s had with Foles in the first couple games. I also think Maclin’s mental toughness and the work ethic he exhibited during his rehab makes him a special player. His comments to the media exhibited both an understanding of the on-field challenges while he accepted the responsibility to fix them which shows that he is leading with both his words and actions.
Don’t think for one second that both Eagles rookie wide receivers, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews and Oregon’s Josh Huff aren’t paying attention to how Maclin is conducting himself. Maclin is modeling to these two young men what it means to be a professional football player and how to correctly deal with adversity. Maclin worked hard to get back into playing form this offseason, and he continues to exhibit the right mental attitude to lead the Eagles wide receiver corps, making Philadelphia one of the NFL’s top offenses again in 2014, while also giving the Washington Redskins secondary fits this Sunday.