Last week, DeSean Jackson caught just two passes for 24 yards. The week prior, he had 3 catches for 19 yards. In contrast, he started the year on fire going over 100 yards twice in three games and catching 2 TDs. So people have started to wonder what's up?
The various theories have ranged from the interesting to the ridiculous. Some have said that Kevin Kolb and DeSean aren't capable of connecting, but that's pretty silly considering that two of Jackson's biggest games last season came when Kolb was the starter. We know they're more than capable of hooking for big plays, they just haven't done it.
Marty Mornhinweg attributes it to a number of things, the first of which is the coverage he's attracting now that Marty compares to Jackson's mentor.
"Well, a couple teams have really done everything in their power. He's getting the [Hall of Fame WR] Jerry Rice treatment right now - back in Jerry Rice's prime. So, he has to deal with those types of things. And [WR] Jeremy's [Maclin] played very well, and [TE] Brent [Celek], and then our backs have been able to get the ball quite a bit because of that; a little bit more, even, because of that. And so, we have to do some damage there and get some of those double [coverages] and roll coverages off of him just a little bit, and then move him around. It's my responsibility to get him the ball and I take that seriously. And so, we'll see what happens here."
On TV it's hard to tell how often a guy is getting double teamed in coverage, but it was notable that Jeremy Maclin always seemed to be in single coverage last week. He burned the 49ers pretty nicely with 6 catches for 95 yards. The fact that he was always so open could imply that Jackson the coverage was shading toward DeSean's side. What Mornhinweg is seeing on tape is telling him the same thing.
In the end, it's obviously important to find ways to get DeSean the ball because he's the teams' best playmaker. However, I would have to think that these things kind of work themselves out. If the Eagles make the opposition pay for overcommitting to DeSean, then they'll stop doing it. Marty says teams are absolutely gunning for him now.
"Oh yeah. I mean, I would if I was playing him, absolutely. Now it's been pretty strong. They've gone out of their way; I mean many plays were like a gunner on a punt getting doubled off the line. So they're doing everything in their power in many cases to do that. Now, some teams will and some teams won't. Some teams will just roll and some teams will work with what they have within their system to do that."