Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thoughts On DeSean Jackson As A Redskin

(Fly, Eagle Fly on the road to D.C.! Image via.)
Back in 2010 I wrote an article about my thoughts on the Redskins trading for another Eagle (Donovan McNabb) and pretty much hit you with every emotion I was feeling at the time.

I'm going to do the same thing here about DeSean Jackson today. More or less, you're getting a why I like the move, why I don't like the move and some concerns I have for the future of the team with DJax on it.

This isn't a doom and gloom post, nor is it a "Redskins finally got the missing piece - Superbowl!!!!" article either. Just some thoughts from a guy who's seen the Redskins make plenty of these big moves over the years and (sadly) get burned by many of them.

Let me be frank and honest here about Jackson: as a football personality, I'm not a big fan. I don't like his attitude on the field and the personality traits shown by the media (contract demands, stories of being late to meetings, threats of holding out and rumored to be just a general pain in the ass at times in the locker room).

But that's me and that's okay. I never was a fan of the crap pulled by guys like Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens, Deion Sanders and Michale Irvin (Ironically, I like T.O., Sanders and Irvin much more now that they aren't playing than I did when they were). But I respected their skills and I'm the same way about Jackson. Jackson has driven me nuts as a opposing fan for years and I'm hoping that now he can drive Eagle fans nuts for the next three seasons. I just won't be buying his jersey -- big deal.

The Pros of Jackson to DC

(Making it look too easy. Image via.)
It's pretty good. Eagle fans will tell you that he's not much and that it's Chip Kelly's scheme that made him so dangerous last year (and Andy Reid in previous years). They'll also tell you the same stuff I mentioned above and that's something that the Redskins will have to deal with.

That said, Jackson can just fly. But it's not straight lined speed. He can run amazingly crisp routes and seem to cut on a dime to either fool the DB as he goes underneath, gives a double move or avoids getting tackled.

Corners have to give him the patented "Carlos Rogers ten yard cushion" because he is such a deep threat, that they and their defensive coordinators don't want to look like fools on TV (see what he did against LaRon Landry and the Redskins secondary a few years back as an example).

Jackson is a #1 WR just like Santana Moss and Steve Smith were in their primes and defenses have to adjust their schemes accordingly to try and limit the damage he does. So what does that mean for a defense that is playing both Jackson and Pierre Garcon (another underrated but true #1 in my opinion, you don't have to be 6'3" and play like Calvin Johnson to be a #1 in the modern NFL.)?

It's going to be a long day.

Play a single deep safety and where do you shade him? Take away Jackson and you have Garcon.  Double both of them and you have Andre Roberts, Santana Moss (if he makes the team) or Jordan Reed burn you down the middle. And every once in a while Aldrick Robinson will go deep if you forgot about him and focus on everybody else.

So let's say teams get smart and stick in dime coverage. Well, then the Redskins run the ball down their throats with Alfred Morris, Roy Helu or RGIII all day.

On paper, the Redskins should be able to score points and Jay Gruden and Sean McVay are smart enough to find ways to get their playmakers the ball.

The Cons (and possibly missed opportunities)

Details on Jackson's contract is out and overall it's not bad. 3 years, 24 million with 16 million guaranteed. Jackson will get paid the 16 million as soon as he signs his contract. That's the only thing I don't like. I really don't like paying a player up front and "locking him in" so to speak. Update: per Mike Jones of The Washington Post, the breakdown of the contract is eight million per year with year one and two being fully guaranteed. This contract means that no matter what happens, it's a guarantee that Jackson will be a Redskin for the next three years.

If Jackson plays close to what he did in 2013, then the deal is fine. But there are major concerns about character. If he pulls an Albert Haynesworth, then the Redskins will be screwed through 2016. This type of deal brings back my mantra of "Same as it ever was" with the Redskins and that is also a concern of the Bruce Allen era. We haven't seen this really during his tenure and I know media will bring up the words "Snyder" and "involvement" (they already have).
(David Byrne you are truly a Zen master.)

So of course you're now going to see media articles claiming Snyder is back to running the show. While I can't confirm or deny this, it bothers me slightly.

What also bothers me is the Why. Why did the Eagles release Jackson? Why did Andy Reid and the Chiefs pass on him? Why didn't the Raiders, 49ers and other teams try to make a bigger play to get him?

Was Chip Kelly's ego too much to deal with a malcontent? I don't believe the gang ties BS. It sounds like garbage to me based on a few people I have talked with on the subject. So why do you let a guy with this talent go so easily? That is a concern.

One last thing. This draft has a ton of WR talent. It looks like The Redskins could have got a starter at #34 with some serious upside and cheap. With two free agent WRs signed plus the re-signing of Moss makes you think that WR is not a priority and the Redskins may not look at one of the deepest areas of the draft to find talent.

Did The Redskins Make The Right Move?

On paper, the early indication is yes. Of course the Redskins tend to overspend in free agency so don't be surprised to hear every media report saying it's a bad deal on the Redskins side. That doesn't bother me anymore.

Of course the Redskins have won this award again, which I hate seeing.
(Great logo lovingly borrowed from Mr. Irrelevant.)
Either way I'm giving a thumbs up on this move. The Redskins were in need of somebody who could be alongside Pierre Garcon. They found that piece in Jackson, who now will put Andre Roberts back in his natural slot role. So the Redskins have shored up the starting WR. corp.

Let's face it, the 'Skins have problems on defense. At this point the offense is going to have to score to keep the team in the game. By adding DeSean Jackson they have made that scenario much easier than it would have been before he was signed.

And..... in the process they weaken the NFCE champion Eagles by grabbing one of their best offensive weapons without blowing draft picks or spending monies that will put them in cap hell.

I'm so glad that we won't have to see this twice a year and instead inflict this on other teams each and every week.