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Tag:DeSean Jackson
Posted on: November 8, 2011 9:45 pm
 

DeSean Jackson is struggling in 2011

JacksonPosted by Josh Katzowitz

DeSean Jackson had a brutal game Monday night. He fumbled a punt that the Bears recovered deep in Eagles territory. He dropped passes, and he only made two receptions for 16 yards. It’s the epitome of a 2011 season in which Jackson has been largely absent for the Eagles.

For a guy who has been so public about wanting a new contract the past two years, he’s been mostly irrelevant for much of the season, recording 29 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. Which is unfortunate for him as he makes $600,000 in his contract year.

As CSN Philly points out, “For a guy who over the last few years was one of the NFL’s most feared deep threats, the numbers are shocking.”

Jackson hasn’t been making many big plays down the field -- which, obviously, is a big part of his game and a big reason he was (and probably is) going to get paid millions of dollars for his next contract.

“At times, we’re able to go out there and get big plays and big throws down the field, but obviously a lot of teams are on to that and trying to do everything in their power to not let us run down the field and make the big plays that we’ve been doing the past couple years,” Jackson said, via CSN Philly. “We’ve got to find a way to make it happen and get through that.”

In his last three games, Jackson has combined for eight catches for 93 yards and zero touchdowns, and though he averaged 22.5 yards per catch last season, he’s only managing 17.3 this year. So, what’s going on?

“The defenses are trying to take away what we do best,” Jackson said. “We’ve got to be able to figure it out. Myself, at times, it’s frustrating, because I am used to making the big plays, scoring long touchdowns, things like that, but right now, it’s not really working. Defenses are not letting it happen. We’ve just got to figure it out.”

You also have to wonder if karma is screwing with Jackson. After all, Jackson was the one who declared in September that his health was his No. 1 priority.

“That’s the No. 1 priority is to stay healthy,” Jackson said then. “I wouldn’t be able to play the game if I wasn’t healthy. In my book, that’s the No. 1 priority. Winning is next in that category. As long as I’m healthy and we’re winning, regardless of my numbers, I think I’ll be very happy.”

Well, Jackson is healthy, but the Eagles aren’t winning and he’s not producing. I can’t imagine Jackson is too happy with that.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:24 am
 

Impressive Bears have turned around their season

B. Urlacher tackles L. McCoy (AP).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a second there, the Bears looked like they were in trouble. The Bears had dominated the early part of the game, taking a 10-point lead, and with Jay Cutler playing well and Matt Forte showing why he deserves to sign a large contract extension, Chicago was simply playing tougher than the Eagles.

But with Forte losing two fumbles -- he hadn’t put the ball on the ground in more than a calendar year -- the Eagles scored 14 points off those miscues, and though the Bears seemed tougher, Philadelphia took a touchdown lead after LeSean McCoy’s 33-yard rushing touchdown. Suddenly, Cutler was atrocious and the Bears couldn’t do anything right.

And yet …

And yet, the Bears 30-24 comeback victory showed us something important. That Chicago, in one of the toughest divisions in the league, is good enough to be a playoff team. That, when Cutler gets plenty of time to throw by his offensive line -- which allowed Cutler to get smashed repeatedly earlier this season but didn’t allow a sack tonight -- he perhaps can be one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. That, the Bears can compete with the Lions, Cowboys, Falcons and, yes, the Eagles to grab one of those NFC wild card spots.

In the NFC North this year, you tend to forget about the Bears, considering you’ve got the all-world Packers at 8-0 and the uprising Lions at 6-2. But after tonight’s win, the Bears are 5-3 and after pounding the Vikings and beating the Buccaneers in London, they're on a three-game winning streak. And showing plenty of toughness.

Chicago isn’t the most talented team in the division. Forte is one of the best backs around, but Cutler runs hot and cold and the receivers are less than stellar (except for Earl Bennett, who returned tonight after missing the past five games and caught five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown). The defense features Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. But it’s also ranked 25th in the league, and the Bears have allowed at least 24 points on four occasions this season.

And yet …

And yet, tonight the Bears made Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson -- who also fumbled a punt return that led to Bears points -- irrelevant, contained Michael Vick and only allowed 330 yards, a season low for the Eagles.

Four weeks ago, the Bears were going nowhere at 2-3, and some of us wondered if coach Lovie Smith’s job was in danger. But now they’re one of the hotter teams in the NFC, though not as hot as Green Bay, and they’ll get one more shot at the Lions and the Packers. Both squads beat Chicago earlier this season.

And yet …

And yet, this might be a different Bears team. A Bears team that has the playoffs squarely in its line of sight.

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Posted on: November 6, 2011 10:15 pm
 

McCoy has fired Drew Rosenhaus -- for 2nd time

Drew Rosenhaus has been fired by L. McCoy (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Earlier this year, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy decided to fire his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, but after filing his separation papers with the NFL Players Association, Rosenhaus convinced McCoy to take him back.

The reconciliation did not last long, as NFL.com reports that McCoy once again has decided to terminate his working relationship with Rosenhaus.

Rosenhaus also works for Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson who has been involved in a public (and so far, unsuccessful) argument with the Eagles as to why he deserves a contract extension.

We don’t know if that has anything to do with McCoy’s decision, but either way, McCoy is now looking for a new agent. He said in October when he reconciled with Rosenhaus that he wanted to stay in Philadelphia. But maybe he foreshadowed his flip-flop-flip when he talked about Jackson’s desire for a new deal.

“Let me be honest with you, I never want to be in that situation,” McCoy said. “Everybody’s situation is different. [An extension] would be a blessing if that happened because I don’t want to go anywhere else or play anywhere else. I love it here. I’m a Pennsylvania guy -- from high school to college to here.

Apparenlty, Rosenhaus is still trying to get in McCoy’s good graces. According to Philadelphia radio host Howard Eskin, Rosenhaus brought McCoy doughnuts last week, and he also tried to convince the guards at the Eagles facility to let him in so he could talk to McCoy.

Still, this is a risky move for McCoy. After all, without Rosenhaus, the NFL would fall apart, and there’s no telling what will happen now to McCoy’s career.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 7:04 pm
 

DeSean Jackson calls out Rob Ryan, Ryan responds

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan welcomes DeSean Jackson's attempts to tackle him. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Sunday night can't get here fast enough for the Eagles and Cowboys. The NFC East rivals have, to varying degrees, had disappointing starts to the season, but a win this week could go a long way toward a wild-card spot.

Helping to drum up interest in the matchup: the trash-talking back and forth between Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and anybody remotely associated with the Eagles. It all started in August, when Ryan called Philadelphia the "all-hype team" before promising to "beat their ass."

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said Wednesday in a radio interview that "Maybe we'll make him eat his words. I hope he backs it up. … Players, we're on the field, we're on the gridiron. Coach, you on the sideline coaching. I mean, you don't know what it's like to be in this battle."

Vick's teammate, DeSean Jackson, has some thoughts on the matter, too.

“For a coach to say that, it’s hard for me to. . . . I wouldn’t expect that from a coach because he’s not out there playing,” he said, via CSNPhilly.com. “He’s calling plays and putting his defense in the right position to stop the offense. But as far as a defensive coordinator, that’s kind of unheard of, uncalled for. “It [would] be good if his players said that," Jackson continued. "Then I could understand that, because we’re all out on the field with them so I’d be able to get a shot at that player who said something crazy. But for a coach, it ain’t like I can go run on the sideline and cut up the coach, run past them and score a touchdown.”

Normally, that would be the end of it. A coach, presumably with better things to do than rile up the opposition, would take the high road and move on. But this is Rob Ryan who always gets the last word.


This Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys will take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Which team has the advantage? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan joins Jason Horowitz to break down this upcoming game.

“I know that Jackson said it’s not right for me to comment, and he’s right about that, that I don’t play on Sunday,” Ryan said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Charean Williams. “I know he wishes I did. I mean, hell, he doesn’t have to worry about tackling me. If he does, he can tackle me. That’d be great, because I’m going to land on his shoulder and put him out. So that’ll be awesome. Hell, he can tackle me two or three times.”

We love the visual of Ryan chasing Jackson around the field like a grizzly bear in hot pursuit of a rabbit. We also find it hysterical that Ryan uses the word "awesome" to describe belly-flopping on Jackson's shoulder.

Ryan did admit that his initial comments about the Eagles being "all hype" were "unfortunate."

"I thought that it was provoked by the media," he said Friday. "I’m an emotional guy. Who are we kidding? I’m not some guy [who] just can handle coach speak and be boring. I’m going to be emotional at times, and unfortunately that was one of my times, and I found out everybody listens in this town, which is good, unlike Cleveland. So I got in a little trouble there."

The takeaway: the Browns can't escape criticism even when the story has nothing to do with them.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 5:39 pm
 

Rosenhaus says TO ready to play, but will he?

OwensPosted by Josh Katzowitz

For a player who’s getting over knee surgery and who might be (involuntarily) retired, Terrell Owens makes a ton of news.

One week, he’s telling Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, who wants more money from Philadelphia, not to play, and the next week, he’s flying to Korea to get stem cell treatment. Or he’s getting sent to the hospital or he’s having money problems.

But now Drew Rosenhaus, Owen’s agent, has a serious announcement to make: Owens has been cleared to play.

That’s the word from Rosenhaus himself, who tweeted, “I just watched Terrell go through a full football workout and he looked awesome! He is 100% healthy & ready to play right now! I will be contacting the teams today to inform them that (he) is immediately available to visit and work out for them. He could play this Sunday!”

Which immediately led to this response from CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman: “Rosenhaus is playing the media. Again.”

And yes, it is difficult to believe most things that emerge from Rosenhaus’ mouth. You’ll recall that he said the NFL would fall apart if he wasn’t around and he proclaimed Terrelle Pryor a first-round pick in the supplemental draft when, as we all knew, Pryor was nowhere near that.

Owens' offseason
So, when Rosenhaus says Owens is ready to go (and willing to listen to offers), you have to check the BS meter, because it’ s probably pretty high.

But …

There’s a decent enough chance Owens still can play. He’s not a No. 1 receiver any more -- although he was the best Bengals receiver last season --– but he can probably fill out a roster’s depth. Hell, he probably is still good enough to start.

The problem is that Owens is such a clubhouse downer that it might not make sense for anybody to bring him in as a 10-game stand-in.

Think about it. Which teams need receiver help? The Rams, though Brandon Lloyd was a decent enough pick-up. What about the Broncos, who don’t have a ton of help for Tim Tebow any more? What about the Jaguars, who are so thin at receiver they had to resort to picking up Mike Sims-Walker again?

Those teams could benefit from Owens’ talent. But would those organizations want young quarterbacks like Sam Bradford, Tebow or Blaine Gabbert, respectively, having to deal with a presence like Owens? I think we all know the answer to that. And if it’s true that Owens really is cleared to play -- and, as much of Twitter pointed out, who exactly is clearing him? -- Rosenhaus shouldn’t expect to have Owens signed fast enough where Owens could actually play anytime soon.

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Posted on: October 16, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 3:40 pm
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Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:30 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 9:43 am
 

Film Room: Bears vs. Vikings preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Few people are excited about this week’s Sunday Night game. The 1-4 Vikings and 2-3 Bears look like non-contenders in an NFC North division housing a pair of 5-0 clubs. This Film Room post is not about the Bears-Vikings game. We’ll touch on the matchup towards the end simply because it’d be weird not to. But the main point here is to examine why the Tampa 2 defense – which both these teams run – is on its death bed.



1. Tampa 2: What it is
The Tampa 2 (aka Cover 2) is a classic zone scheme. Four pass-rushers up front; three linebackers underneath; a left and right cornerback outside; and, as the "2" refers to, two safeties over the top.

Against the pass, as the illustration to the right (click to enlarge) shows, the safeties each cover half the field deep. The linebackers and cornerbacks each cover 1/5th of the field underneath. The middle linebacker is responsible for any vertical routes inside. Up front, the linemen shoot the gaps. There’s no blitzing.

The advantages are that all pass defenders have straightforward responsibilities and the action (for the most part) always takes place in front of them. As for the disadvantage ...

2. Run Defense
In football there are two traditional ways to stop the run: have a defensive line that wins battles in the trenches or have a strong-tackling safety drop down as an eighth man in the box. A Cover 2 naturally misses on both of these. The defensive linemen are instructed to rush the passer first and play the run if it’s convenient along the way.

Defensive line penetration is great for stopping the run, but it can be hit or miss (especially if the offense knows that the defensive linemen are trying to penetrate on every play). The safeties must stay back and cover deep. If they step forward, they run the risk of biting on play-action (which is a great way to get beat deep).

Because of this, Tampa 2 defenses rely on their linebackers and cornerbacks (yes, cornerbacks) to stop the run. More on this in item 4.
Worth noting is that not all Tampa 2 defenses are bad against the run. In fact, the Vikings and Bears have been spectacular in run defense over the years. That’s a product of phenomenal personnel.

The Vikings have had the Williams Wall at tackle (and Pat Williams actually played a nose tackle role, which is a twist on a traditional Cover 2 front) and the Bears have had star linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But Tampa 2 teams without top-echelon run-stuffers (like the Colts) are very susceptible to the run.

3. Tampa 2 vulnerabilities
Cover 2 defenses are vanilla by nature. That was fine in the late 90s and early 2000s when the scheme was still new and offenses weren’t spreading the field every down. But complex, motion-oriented offenses have an easy time creating mismatches against a Cover 2.

Heck, even basic offensive formations can create mismatches. For example, something the Eagles do against a Cover 2 is line up their speedy receivers in minus splits (close to the formation).

Because Cover 2 cornerbacks always line up outside, this formation dictates that DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin run their routes against linebackers and safeties. Talk about a mismatch.

There are other avenues for mismatches. For a long time, Cover 2 defenses did not have No. 1 and No. 2 corners, but instead, left and right corners. If the left corner stunk, offenses would simply align their best receiver over there. Mercifully, most Cover 2 defenses (the Bears and Vikings included) have recently shown a willingness to at least move their corners from one side to the other based on where they expect certain receivers to be.

That still doesn’t mean a defense will get the corner-on-receiver matchup it desires. This past Monday, Calvin Johnson ran what amounted to a slant-and-go against the Bears’ Cover 2. Charles Tillman stayed with Johnson for about 15 yards. He should have jammed Johnson in an effort to reroute him. Instead, he played the basic Cover 2 technique, which meant he let Johnson go once Johnson went inside towards safety Chris Harris’ deep zone. That left the most athletic wideout in the world matched up on a strong safety. The result was a 73-yard touchdown.

Besides matchup issues, there are natural voids in the Cover 2 that everyone knows about. The gaps 15-20 yards downfield outside the numbers are the main ones, though the voids behind the linebackers in the seams can be enticing too. Really, Cover 2 is the new Prevent Defense. And because the Cover 2 became such a popular defense in the early 2000s, every offense in the NFL has a special chapter in its playbook specifically designed for beating it.

4. Stringent personnel needs
Obviously, a Cover 2 is not a completely hapless defense. If it were, nobody would run it. With the right personnel, the scheme can be quite viable. A great defensive line can sometimes be enough; look at the 2011 Lions or previous years’ Colts, for example (But keep in mind, great defensive lines are going to make any scheme look good.)

Because of the Cover 2’s simplicity and NFL offense’s familiarity with it, the “right personnel” has gone from being “strongly recommended” to “absolutely required”. And the bar for the “right personnel” has risen considerably.

In a Cover 2, you must generate a pass-rush with only four defensive linemen. Thus, you need top-notch speed rushers and defensive tackles with outstanding initial quickness. Those types of players are usually found only in the first rounds.
 
Because the cornerbacks only defend the first 10-15 yards outside, and because the safeties are aligned so deep, Cover 2 cornerbacks are counted on as part of the run defense. Thus, they need to be good tacklers. This is why Antoine Winfield is so potent in Minnesota’s D. Or why, in part, Ronde Barber has stuck around for so long in Tampa Bay. Or why Indianapolis always brings in firm-tackling corners.

It’s also why you’re always hearing about Tampa 2 teams needing fast linebackers. Yes, the linebackers need speed in order to play the pass (especially the middle linebacker, who must run with any targets running vertically between the numbers). But really, Tampa 2 linebacker speed is needed for stopping the run. With the cornerbacks lined up along the front, the defensive linemen are told to shoot the gaps and force runners to that help outside. It’s up to the linebackers to chase them down along the way.

Finding quality Cover 2 type players is certainly not impossible. Problem is, if you don’t have the right guy in every spot, offenses can easily punish you. If a team like the Packers has a weak spot on D, they can use disguises and zone blitz concepts to cover it. If a team like the Bears or Vikings have a weak spot, they can only hope that their defensive ends reach the quarterback before the quarterback exploits it.  

5. Studs and Duds
The star defensive players for both teams have lived up to their end of the deal. For the Bears, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has moved with more quickness and fluidity than in any of the past three seasons. Monday night’s game aside, Lance Briggs has been the fierce hitter he always is. Julius Peppers has only two sacks, but he’s been a force in bits, if not chunks. Opposite him, Israel Idonije, who has great movement skills and a real feel for executing moves based on the situation, remains one of the most underrated ends in the game.

For the Vikings, Jared Allen has recaptured his 2008/2009 form. End Brian Robison has been fast and tenacious. In fact, he’s having a much better season than Ray Edwards is having in Atlanta. As usual, defensive tackle Kevin Williams has shown his uncommon mobility/power combination. Cornerback Cedric Griffin has been stout in coverage, and E.J. Henderson, while not always great versus the pass, remains a smart, assertive downhill force against the run.
 
The problem is both teams have had a propensity to give up big plays, in part due to iffy play at safety. It’s worse with the Bear than the Vikings. But, on the flip side, the Vikings’ offense has been worse than the Bears’. We could write a thousand posts explaining what’s wrong with both offenses. In short, neither has a good line nor the receivers necessary for their respective systems.

Perhaps this is the week that these offenses find their rhythms through the air. After all, both will be facing plenty of Cover 2 looks.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 6 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Drew Rosenhaus clarifies comments on '60 Minutes'

Posted by Will Brinson

Super-agent Drew Rosenhaus caused quite a stir leading up to Sunday night's showing of 60 Minutes, stating that the NFL would "fall apart" without him.

Rosenhaus also flashed his sale pitch Sunday night, which was again on display Monday morning when he took to Twitter to clarify his remarks about the NFL collapsing without agents being around.

"I want to clarify a comment from 60 Minutes," Rosenhaus tweeted Monday. "I believe the NFL would fall apart without the contributions of the sports agent profession. Agents as a whole play an important role in the infrastructure of the NFL. Agents help to keep the business of the NFL running smoothly."

Honestly, that's kind of a difficult point to argue.

[VIDEO: Rosenhaus' full 60 Minutes interview]

Agents are a pain for teams, sure, because they want more money for their players. But what would happen if players actually negotiated for themselves or -- gasp -- used the union as a negotiating tool?

Well, the power of the individual player would be severely dampened, of course. Willis McGahee came off a serious knee injury in college and somehow managed to get drafted in the first round anyway. That was all Rosenhaus.

Terrell Owens -- though he may be lacking work in the coming months -- has been able to consistently find a job with teams. It's not because he's a locker-room charmer. It's because of Rosenhaus.

And perhaps the best example in recent memory: DeSean Jackson. While Jackson doesn't have a contract, do you think he'd be playing by the rules and suiting up for the Eagles if he didn't have Rosenhaus (who learned from a previous mistake with Philly and the aforementioned Owens) advising him? Probably not.

Agents might not get the greatest reputation in the world, and they're certainly a downfall for the college game at the moment, but they're an inevitable part of the evolution of professional sports. And an ultimately necessary piece of the process.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com