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The trouble with... Hank Baskett

From reading the different message boards and talking to fans I know, I've noticed this thought that has cropped up about the progress(or lack thereof) of Hank Baskett. The prevailing thought is that he regressed from his rookie season to his sophomore season. My problem with that thought is that I think people have foggy memories as to what Baskett actually was in his rookie year.

Think of his most exciting play. It was that great 87 yard TD against Dallas where the corner blitzed and much maligned safety Patrick Watkins bit on a quick double move. Hank basically ran a straight fly pattern and was wide open thanks to blown coverage. After the game Hank told reporters that McNabb told him that the corner blitz was coming and to go deep if it did. Hank also broke a tackle as Watkins tried to haul him down from behind on that play.

All in all it was a great effort on Baskett's part and certainly one of the great highlights of the 06 season. But can anyone think of any other plays Hank made that year?

All in all, he caught 22 balls in his rookie season. He caught 16 this past year. That's just 6 less catches. He had 2 TDs last year, the one in the Dallas game and one in the final game of the year against the Falcons with all the reserves. If you remember, as soon as Andy Reid got the news that Dallas had lost earlier he pulled nearly all the Eagles starters. In fact, 7 of Hanks' 22 catches that year were in the final game where everyone had been pulled. I don't want to take anything away from him, because in the end it was still a real game and he did play really well... but I'm sure you can see the mitigating circumstances.

Other than that game Hank only caught more than 2 balls once. We also can't forget that part of Hank's "dropoff" in 07 was thanks to the growth of Jason Avant, whose 23 catches and 2 TDs were almost identical to Hank's numbers in 06.

Bottom line is that other than one really good game in the final week of the 06 season and one spectacular play against Dallas, Hank had virtually the same 07 as he did in 06. So while I really don't think Baskett regressed in 06, he certainly didn't take the next step either. 08 will be an important year for guys like Baskett, Avant, & Greg Lewis. I think it's pretty likely that the Eagles will bring in another receiver either through the draft, free agency, or trade... and there's not going to be room to get bumped down the roster. Last year those three pretty much only had to worry about where on the depth chart they'd land, this year I think there's a strong possibility that there won't be room on the roster for all 3.

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