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DeSean Jackson’s explosive plays fed the Eagles’ offense last year

Apr 28, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

D-Jackson-vs-Redskins

The Eagles need to face facts; they are going to miss DeSean Jackson. Some interesting numbers crunched by my friend Jimmy Kempski on Philly.com detail why.

The 2013 Eagles were the most explosive offense in the NFL. Although the Broncos scored more touchdowns on offense (71) than the Eagles did (51), Philly scored its TD’s much more quickly than anyone else. Their average TD drive took just 2:08. The Vikings were second in the league, taking 2:32 on their touchdown drives. By comparison, the Redskins were 30th in the NFL burning an average of 3:45 to score their 33 offensive touchdowns.

Their ability to score quickly stemmed in part from Chip Kelly’s fast-paced no huddle offense but the real key to their success was their ability to eat up big chunks of yardage with explosive plays of 20 yards or more. The Eagles’ 99 plays that covered 20+ yards were the most in the NFL since the league began tracking such plays since 1991.

Jackson was responsible for 25 of those explosive plays, the most of the team. And Kempski digs in further to show that Jackson’s big plays didn’t just puff up the receiver’s stats. On every Eagles drive that contained a Jackson explosive play resulted in at least a field goal attempt. His 26 explosive plays (counting one in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Saints) came during drives that ended with 17 touchdowns, seven field goals and two missed field goals.

“Ever since he was cut, coping without DeSean Jackson has been framed in terms of replacing his 82 catches, 1332 yards, and 9 TDs,” said Kempski. “That may be replaced by another player or a combination of players in time, but there isn’t a receiving weapon on the roster, as currently constructed, who can come close to matching Jackson’s explosiveness.”

The Redskins had just 55 explosive plays last year and, of course, the hope is that Jackson will add to that total. There seems to be little question that the Jackson transaction helped the Redskins and hurt the Eagles. What we won’t know until September is how much the Jackson moving closes the gap between Washington and its division rival in Philadelphia.

  1. mauriceatwood - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    I believe Desean Jackson will be a huge addition for the Redskins. With Garcon on one side and Jackson on the other and Reed back healthy RG3 won’t have any shortages of big play receivers to look for. The Redskins did an outstanding job of overcoming no first round draft pick by picking up Jackson. Can’t wait to see him in a Redskins uniform.

  2. kenlinkins - Apr 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    IMO Chip Kelly is over due for a fall. The whole D Jackson affair just doesn’t make much sense to me unless you believe that Chip Kelly was trying to make a point about who is the BOSS (which never really works in the NFL like it does in college) or it was about money. To run the “Blur” offense you require speed and D Jackson has that. Philly just doesn’t seem as scary without him. Maybe Chip Kelly & Philly believe that coach Kelly can replace D. Jackson’s Big Plays by being such a great coach, but it wouldn’t be the first time a coach over estimated his own skill / talent and self worth after a few good years. After reading the above facts, if D. Jackson can help take the top of defenses, free up other WR’s and just produce half of the Big Plays he had last year, The Redskins will be a much improved team in 2014. I am looking forward to seeing just what coach Gruden has in mind once he and GM Allen get the roster set for training Camp.

  3. skinsfan2 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    The gap between the Skins and the Eagles was never that great to begin with. We seem to forget in 2012 these teams were in complete opposite positions. Going into 2014, both teams have big questions on defense. On offense, the Redskins would now appear to have an edge in skill position players. The Eagles have the better O-line. If RG3 returns to pre-knee brace form they should be better than the Eagles on offense. I think Foles is going to have a difficult time duplicating his 27/2 TD/Int ratio. More likely and impossible time duplicating it.

    If the Redskins special teams can at least approach league average it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see them finish better than Philadelphia. And a likely division title.

  4. jayovalentine - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Thank you Chip Kelly’s ego for handing us DJax ! HTTR !

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