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Jackson Likely Done For Season...Eagles Secondary In A Bind

Jackson Tears Achilles Tendon...Secondary In A Bind

By Lance Epstein

One of the key off-season signings for the Philadelphia Eagles was Colts defensive back Marlin Jackson. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that Jackson will be able to contribute to the Eagles this season, as an MRI revealed that he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in his right leg.

While he has not been ruled out for the upcoming season by the team, this injury usually requires surgery and up to a year of rehab to fully recovery. Even if Jackson recovers, it does not mean he will ever be the same player.

On top of his ruptured Achilles tendon, Jackson was trying to comeback from two previously torn ACLs [both his right and left ACLs]. During the off-season, Jackson was rehabbing his torn left ACL at the Eagles team facility and looked to be returning to form. Sadly, this could be the last of Jackson in an Eagle uniform and possibly in the NFL.

The injury occurred as Jackson covered wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on a deep route. Jackson fell to the ground, sat on the turf and was in tears and visibly in pain. Eventually Jackson was helped up by teammates and then walked off the field under his own power. However, teammates and reporters could hear him yelling in frustration. Finally Jackson was carted from the practice bubble [practicing in there due to rain and thunderstorms] to the NovaCare facility.

Besides Jackson’s career being in jeopardy, the other horrifying aspect of this terrible situation is where this leaves the Eagles secondary. Earlier this off-season, head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott discussed using Jackson all over the field. Jackson’s versatility to play all three positions in the secondary gave the Eagles to a ton of flexibility with their defense.

Now, the Eagles have lost their starting free safety and a player who certainly would have helped the Eagles replace cornerback Sheldon Brown. With Jackson likely gone for the season, South Florida rookie and second-round pick Nate Allen will be pressed into action. Certainly Allen has the skills to be a good and even great safety in this league, but he is still just a rookie. Last year, the Eagles defense struggled against the pass due to inserting rookie Macho Harris into the starting free safety role.

If the Eagles do not wish to start a rookie at free safety again, they could pursue Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe [who became an unrestricted free agent today]. However a source close to the Eagles said that the club has no interest in Atogwe.

Besides going the free agent route, the Eagles could give Quintin Demps a chance to redeem himself for his porous 2009 season. Demps was supposed to be the replacement for All-Pro Brian Dawkins, but he quickly found himself in Reid's doghouse.

Another option for the club is to move Macho Harris back to safety. The Eagles had planned on using Harris at his natural cornerback position, but this injury opens the door for his return to safety. While Harris struggled in his rookie season, his experience will certainly help him entering his second season. In addition, Reid talked about the strides that Harris has made from the end of last year.

On the other hand, the free safety position is not the only problem that the Eagles defense will endure due to Jackson's injury. At last week's OTAs, Ellis Hobbs was unable to a complete a single practice. There were thoughts in the organization that Jackson could be a viable replacement for Hobbs, if Hobbs struggled or failed to be an adequate starter.

Currently, the Eagles only have three corners with significant NFL playing [Joselio Hanson, Asante Samuel and Hobbs]. Do not be surprised if the Eagles look to the free agent market for a veteran cornerback or even the recently released Shawn Springs.

Springs (6-0, 205) is very similar to Jackson, but has a lot more wear an tear on his frame [entering 15th season]. Like Jackson, Springs can play both safety positions and cornerback. Additionally, the Eagles were interested in his services last year before he signed with the New England Patriots.

Moreover, the team thought Jackson was a perfect fit as a Dime and Nickel package corner. Springs could excel in that type of role.

The Eagles ended the season in Dallas with huge question marks in the secondary. They believed with the additions of Jackson and Allen that they were ready to go and vastly improved. With the loss of Jackson, the questions about the Eagles secondary have resurfaced and the Eagles' plan appears to be ruptured as well.

5 comments:

  1. Really!?! How was signing a guy w/ two season ending injuries in two consecutive seasons a key offseason acquistion? Why draft a guy FS with the 37th pick if Marlin wasn't supposed to be anything more than a safety net (pardon the pun)?
    You must just be writing to get a reaction out of people because you're clueless when it comes to football. Take up posting about golf; that sport could use some excitement.

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  2. I shouldn't even bother responding to your comments but this one is far too moronic not to. Did you see Harris play free safety last year as a rookie? He was mediocre to bad. What makes you think Allen can be great as a rookie? Can he eventually be good yes, but usually rookies that play key positions in the secondary do not start flourishing until year two. There WAS A REASON JACKSON WAS STARTING. It was because Allen needs to learn the playbook and the Eagles coaching staff didn't want to start a rookie like last year because they saw teams punish them for it. So next time maybe you should learn more about the way of football before commenting.

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  3. Sports reporting, don't listen to this douchebag!! I always enjoy what you write and Jackson was a key addition considering our lack of depth. His loss will certainly hurt this team and the FO needs to address this situation ASAP! Keep up the good work.

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  4. Don't worry about that guy, he is just trying to get a rise out of you or writes for a competing blog and thinks being negative will help him. This is a loss, a bad loss at that. I still think this is something of a rebuilding year anyways otherwise I would be freaking out over it.

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  5. thanks I do it for the fans, but needed to let that guy have it. I agree the Eagles need to bring someone in at safety. I wouldn't trust demps to be a capable backup or starter if Allen struggles. I think Atogwe is not going to happen. Too much competition out there for him and he will want more than what the Eagles are willing to offer for his services. However Springs would be a nice addition. He can play corner and safety (did last year with the Pats). I expect Springs or a player released during training camp to be picked up by the Eagles.

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