DeSean Jackson will practice on Wednesday for the first time in about a month and a half and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is “optimistic” Jackson will return on Sunday against the Bears.
Jackson, 32, has now missed six straight games after suffering an abdominal injury early in the Eagles’ Week 2 loss in Atlanta.
The Eagles’ speedy receiver opted against surgery, but the injury hasn’t been quick to heal. Even when he returns, Jackson is not expected to be 100 percent again this season.
“DeSean’s been looking really good, he’s been working hard through his rehab,” Pederson said Wednesday morning. “I expect to get him into practice a little bit today and see where he’s at physically. I’m optimistic, obviously, but we’ll take it day by day.”
And, yeah, Jackson was practicing. He was a limited participant.
DeSean is indeed practicing. #Eagles pic.twitter.com/T6fTIURqTD— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) October 30, 2019
And so were a few other key Eagles.
Wednesday Injury Report pic.twitter.com/b6zYQYHUCc— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 30, 2019
Back to Jackson: He is a 32-year-old speed receiver with an abdominal injury that has lingered, so the obvious question is: Why not just hold him out this week before the Week 10 bye? That would give him extra time to heal without forcing the issue.
That seems like it would make some sense, especially for an injury that might not heal completely this season. But Pederson made it pretty clear that if Jackson — or any other injured player — can play, he will.
“[The bye week] factors in a little bit,” he said, “but if these guys are healthy and can play and can help us on game day, without risking anything further, then we’ll see if we can get them out there.”
Without Jackson, the Eagles have really missed his deep threat and his production. In his absence, Mack Hollins has been filling in at the Z receiver position and his production has been pretty awful. Hollins, despite playing 141 snaps in October, failed to record a catch.
Sure, Hollins isn’t playing as much as Jackson would have because the Eagles are using other personnel groupings more, but check out their season production:
Jackson in 62 snaps: 8 catches on 10 targets, 154 yards, 2 touchdowns
Hollins in 337 snaps: 10 catches on 21 targets, 125 yards
Obviously, Hollins isn’t as talented as Jackson, but this drop-off in production has killed the Eagles. And the lack of a downfield threat like Jackson has, at times, made this offense very stagnant. Getting No. 10 back would be huge this week … or whenever it happens.
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