Wrong Jackson Steals the Show Sunday
by D'Marco Farr
Jackson was a beast on Sunday! The problem was it was the wrong Jackson. DeSean Jackson made life absolutely miserable for the Rams' secondary in the Eagles' 31-13 victory over the weekend. While we're on the subject, could someone, anyone please tell me what the Philadelphia Eagles are waiting on? If DeSean Jackson isn't a No. 1 one receiver in the NFL then I don't know what one looks like. I say pay the man already because this is getting to be ridiculous. There should be no way they let this guy get to free agency because if they do it will come back to burn them.
Jackson's first catch on Sunday was a 41-yarder in the first quarter that should have been mission impossible. Rams cornerback Ron Bartell and safety Craig Dahl had Jackson bracketed so well that I was shocked that quarterback Michael Vick actually had the guts to throw the ball in his direction. There was good pressure in his face and he was backpedaling before he let the ball go.
While the ball was in flight, my first thought was that either Dahl or Bartell would come down with their first interception of the season. My second thought was the Rams offense would have pretty good field position to work with after the takeaway. What's the old saying about not counting your chickens before they hatch? How about don't count a turnover until the referee points in your direction.
Instead, it was Jackson doing the pointing. Much to my surprise, Jackson was the one who came down with the football. Surprise may be a bit mild. In fact I was in utter disbelief that a waif of a receiver could out fight two tough guys like Bartell and Dahl for the football in their house. Plays like that shouldn't happen at home. Bartell and Dahl broke the No. 1 Under Amour rule: They didn't protect the house. Plays like that define you as a player. In Jackson's case, he's making a huge statement to the Eagles' organization that he is worth a bigger and more lucrative contract.
As for Bartell and Dahl, well let me just say the eye in the sky doesn't lie. Game film travels for coast to coast and with it goes league-wide perceptions. Jackson was clearly Vick's favorite receiver on game day as he was targeted 12 times and yet the Rams couldn't keep him from making plays. Jackson finished with six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. And it really should have been much, much worse. He was open on several occasions and just flat out dropped the ball, including one that should have gone for an 80-yard touchdown with Bartell trailing by a step in coverage.
Now that Bartell is likely out for the season with two fractures in his neck, the question becomes beyond starting corners of Bradley Fletcher and Bartell do the Rams have anyone who will be able to step up and go head to head with other elite receivers that will be on the Rams' schedule? The Rams will have to deal with several this year including New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who had seven receptions for 122 yards against the Washington Redskins, including a 68-yard catch that set up the first Giants touchdown. He is a physical receiver that possesses excellent run-after-catch ability that is most effective versus zero coverage in blitzing situations. There's a chance Nicks won't play this week because of some sort of issue in his knee. He had an MRI recently and we're waiting on reports that will determine if this latest physical problem will turn into something more serious.
If the Rams aren't generating consistent pressure with the front four then an over reliance on blitzing has been the general approach in the past few seasons under Steve Spagnuolo. Without Bartell in the lineup you would have to think the Rams will bring more zone pressures and fire zones into the defensive mix.
Ex-Eagle and Packer Al Harris is 36 and it will be interesting to see how much he has left in the tank. He did not see much action on Sunday. You would have to think that will change come Monday night in New York. Justin King still has plenty of room for improvement due to his young age, and now it will be time for him to shed the image of never becoming anything more than a nickel corner in this league. I still believe he has the potential to be a solid cover corner, but he needs to see himself as a starter with Bartell potentially done for the year
Re: Wrong Jackson Steals the Show Sunday
Dahl or Bartell should've come up with that pick, the 41 yarder to DJAX. Just a ridiculous catch. Rams receivers need to watch the tape on his catching abilities along.
Deshean is definitely a Beast, and was a thorn in the sides of the Rams all day.