In Defense of Jeremy Maclin

To say that Jeremy Maclin didn't live up to the expectations is putting it a little lightly. On draft day, the move to select him with the 19th pick (after the Eagles traded up 2 spots to get there), left many puzzled (including myself). However, after watching some Youtube highlights and reading many reports, people started to come around to the idea. Mainly because they loved the additional speed he brought to the offense opposite of DeSean Jackson. He was drawing comparisons to a Reggie Wayne styled guy. He lacked the route running, but made up for it with the speed. In what was considered a very skill player riddled draft (and the consensus wanting Knowshon Moreno for some odd reason), Maclin was one of 6 WRs taken in the first round of that 2009 NFL draft.

Following a plausible rookie year, Maclin looked to be on the brink of breaking out with a stellar sophomore campaign where he was 2nd on the team in receptions (70), 2nd on the team in receiving yards (964) yards, and 1st on the team in TD receptions (10). However, he suffered a serious lymphoma scare prior to the 2011 season that essentially set the tone for the Philadelphia Eagles season that year. He played as inconsistently as anyone on the team you could name last year.

This year, along with the rest of the Eagles, we expected him to bounce back from the blunders of that season and become the playmaker we all believed we saw in 2010, however, once again, he played as inconsistently as the rest of the Eagles. Showing flashes of brilliance in the Cleveland, Detroit, and Tampa Bay game, and disappearing in the 1st Giants game, Pittsburgh, New Orlenans, and 2nd Dallas game.

The general consensus wants Maclin traded or cut (for some stupid, snapped reaction-ed reason). I agree that Maclin hasn't lived up to expectations, but, I am one of the those who still stands in support of him. Reason being, he is one of many players who I believe epitomizes the philosophy of Andy Reid in not getting the most out of his players. Here are my reasons for wanting Maclin on the Eagles in 2013 season:

1) I've been echoing this tune for all year now, and that's that we keep using Maclin the wrong way.

Explosive threat after the catch ... Elusive in the open field and has elite agility ...... Versatile on WR screens and reverses

Incredible vision when he as the ball in his hands. Elusive and slippery. Maclin can stop and start to shake defenders and juke around them in the open field.

Jeremy Maclin - Explosive run after the catch. - Mike Mayock

Maclin is an interesting character. He's probably the most explosive athlete in the whole draft. There is no one in this draft(with respect to Percy Harvin) who operates in space like Maclin can. He's super agile

The general word, as you can see, was about Maclin's open field ability. He was thought to be one of the better possession receivers to come out of the draft based on his speed and elusiveness. In games we have watched, Maclin has shown signs of this. Such as here and here and here and here and here and here and here and finally here. However, based on Reid's (or is it Marty's?) style of offense, the knack seems to be for these slow developing plays with the starting QBs. That's not a play to Maclin's style (and to be honest, seems to do more harm than help to the offense especially with the QB). Playcalling changed when Foles came in and Maclin's stats have gone up.

In the first 7 games Maclin was averaging 4 catches per game and 7.1 targets per game (total 28 receptions and 50 targets).

In the last 5 games (minus the Redskins game where Maclin didn't play) he's averaging 5.8 catches per game and 9.2 targets per game.

That may not seem like much of a difference, but if you blow those numbers up over the course of a season:

4 rec. per game and 7.1 targets per game * 16 games = 64 receptions/113.6 targets

5.8 rec. per game and 9.2 targets per game * 16 games = 92.8 receptions/147.2 targets

In the 1st 7 games he was averaging 50.9 yards per game (total of 356 yards in the first 7 games). In last 5 games, he's averaging 72.6 yards per game (total of 363 yards in the first 7 games).

To put it all out, if Maclin were playing at pace he was in the last 5 games he's played, all season, he would finish the season (in theory) with 92-93 receptions for 1161-2 yards.

If he had those numbers, not a single person would complain about his play. But as we known, Reid has never been one to adapt to another's playing style.

2) As much as people complain about his play, in comparison to the other 1st round WRs of that draft, he's been no less than the 3rd best so far.

















































As of today, (12/20/2012), you can see that in comparison to the other WRs that were drafted in the first round that year, Maclin is T-1st in games played, 4th in receptions, 4th in targets, 2nd in receiving yards, 2nd in receiving TDs, and T-3rd in first downs. So as you can see, receiving wise, he's been just as good as the rest with only Hakeem Nicks being the best overall.

Now if you interpret this list or what I've said as an example for how mediocre this WR draft was, that's completely your prerogative. My point of the above was to state that while Maclin hasn't stood out above the rest, he hassn't been worse than any of those guys.

Percy Harvin seems to be the thought as second best. While I like Harvin as a gadget player, I think he makes for an average receiver. If Maclin's return skills had lived up to what they were in college at least somewhat, he and Percy would be much more identical. Because the offense is designed to get the ball into Harvin's hands any way possible (when it's not in Peterson's), he has a bit of an advantage. But as far as just pass catching, I don't see him better than Maclin because their best statistical seasons are very comparable.

Harvin's best receiving season: 2011 = 87 receptions, 967 yards, 6 touchdowns

Maclin's best receiving season: 2010 = 70 receptions, 964 yards, 10 touchdowns

3) I'm not gonna say that Maclin is the best receiver on the team, because I believe Jackson is. However, Maclin just as steady a pass catching threat as Jackson and is no worse than the 2nd best pass catcher on this team.

As of the beginning of the 2012 season since entering the league in 2009, Maclin has 304 targets and 2596 career receiving yards, second only to Jackson in both categories (318 and 3173 respectively).

But Maclin leads the team in receptions since 2009 with 189 with Celek coming in 2nd (180) and Jackson coming in 3rd (167).

Prior to the start of the season, Maclin was tied with Jackson since the 2009 season in receiving TDs with 19. If we were to take into account every game starting from Jackson's rookie debut against the Rams all the way to the last Eagles game played (12/13 against the Bengals), Maclin actually has more receiving TDs (24) than Jackson (23) in less of a time frame than Jackson.

And to top it all of, Maclin leads all active Eagles in career receiving TDs.

Now obviously, Maclin hasn't lived up to what's been wanted. I have my own pet peeves with Maclin. More along the lines of being injured every time he comes off the field and the fact he can get tackled by the wind. Other than a torn ACL in college in 2006, injuries were never much of an issue during his college career. So the fact that after every game I have to read about something being wrong with him does make me rub my temples to a point that they have become sore.

As far as the tackled by the thought of it, that was an issue even in college. He was noted for being able to be easily tackled. He could run by you, juke you, make you miss, however, if you managed to get a hand on his shoe lace or get close enough to touch him, he would go down. Now there is some hyperbole in that last paragraph, but honestly not much.

Like the rest of the team, I'm anxious to see what Maclin can do with a new coach and scheme. Unlike the masses, I don't believe in going an getting Dwyane Bowe. Not that I don't like him, but word is he wants an arm and a leg for his services. I've done work by looking over reports and thoughts about Bowe from the KC fans and it seems they wouldn't be too sad to see him go. They state a lack of effort as well as garbage time stats from him. I give him a bit of benefit of the doubt though because the KC QBs are....insulting. Also, that team isn't worth the talent that it is equipped with. And honestly outside of Jennings (who will turn 30 in the beginning of the season), no other guys from this FA tickle my fancy.

The draft could thought to be another place to find a Maclin pusher/replacement. However, this isn't a very strong receiver draft. The only WR I see as truly first round worthy is Keenan Allen. Also, add in the fact that Luke Joeckel seems to be the BGN favorite (though maybe not the FO favorite), and its very possible that the entire secondary will be overhauled (Allen benched, Coleman is Coleman, Anderson isn't consistent starting material, DRC will test FA, and Nnamdi maybe cut or restructured), WR just isn't a spot that can be looked upon as of yet, at least I don't think, because of the vast amount of other issues.

So because of that, Maclin gets a pass through this offseason and into next season. However, if Maclin does not pan out early into the season, remember, the trade deadline was moved to week 8 and their are some teams with young QBs who could use veteran player for them to throw to (other than our QB of course).

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