Let’s talk a bit more about DeSean. He really is a complex subject.
Jimmy Johnson had a wild bunch of players with his Cowboy teams. Those guy celebrated on the field, wallowed in cocaine and hookers off the field, and represented all that is wrong with humanity. But they showed up on Sunday and kicked your ass.
Dallas was built on talent, but not guys with potential. These were players who delivered. They made critical plays. They were at their best in big games. Those teams had an ultra-competitive drive that Johnson fueled. They wanted to celebrate and have fun, but knew that only happened after they reached into your body and pulled your still-beating heart out. Emmitt did that to us. Irvin. Troy. Deion. Leon Lett. Charles Haley. And so on.
The Cowboys understood that the icing came after the cake was baked. DeSean is ready to put the icing on when he holds the box of cake mix in his hands.
Jimmy Johnson let his players do a lot of crazy stuff, but that was because they delivered on the field. DeSean makes some big plays, but he’s not a cold hearted assassin like the Cowboys were. On 3rd/15 you knew the ball was going to Irvin. You had trouble stopping him. On 3rd/2 you knew the ball was going to Emmitt. You had trouble stopping him. Does anyone think of DeSean as a great 3rd down receiver? Does anyone think of him as a clutch 4th Qtr receiver?
DeSean is a special playmaker. For my money, he’s the fastest offensive player in the NFL and maybe the fastest overall. That gives DeSean the potential to be the most dynamic weapon in the league, but he’s not. DeSean has 19 TD catches in 3 1/2 years. James Thrash had 15 TD catches in 3 years as an Eagle. DeSean has 3 rushing TDs and averages 7.2 yards per carry. Thrash ran for 2 TDs and averaged 8.1 yards per carry. Thrash didn’t have half the talent that DeSean does. He wasn’t as fast, skilled, or athletic.
I think DeSean lacks the focus and understanding that it takes to be a great player. Truly great players have a combination of physical, mental, and emotional gifts. They get better in clutch situations. They overcome adversity. They find a way to make things happen. Great players are able to focus in and understand all that is going on around them.
Right now DeSean is closer to James Thrash than he is Michael Irvin. Speed is good. Big plays are good. But that isn’t how you win consistently in this league. DeSean needs to become the guy that can deliver on 3rd downs and in the 4th Qtr. That’s when most games are won and lost.
There is hope. DeSean made a critical play in the TD drive on Sunday night. He caught a pass on 3rd down and then fought off a tackler to get the 1st down. That helped to set up the TD pass. That little play was every bit as important as DeSean’s long punt return. When DeSean starts to understand that, he might be able to become a more complete player and a truly great player. I would love to see that happen. It would be great for him and the Eagles.
Back to the Cowboys for a second. As much as I hated them and their antics (and trust me…it was boiling rage hatred), the swagger they had was built on the union of their play and their attitude. I understand that some teams and some players need to express themselves to be at their best. It isn’t a matter of poor sportsmanship. That’s just how they get into the right mindset.
Last night we saw the Patriots score a late TD instead of going down on a knee. That’s not poor sportmanship. That’s their mindset. No surrender, no let up. It works for them.
TO was the ultimate celebrator when he was here. TO scored, TO celebrated. His antics didn’t bug me as much because he was a clutch player who delivered on 3rd downs and in the 4th Qtr. He found a way to get open and make the plays that the team needed.
I’ll care a lot less about DeSean and his celebrations when I see him make the transition from guy with great potential to being an actually great player. There is a huge difference in the two things. DeSean is a young guy and he can absolutely become a great player, but he’s got to mature mentally and emotionally.
Before the year I thought he was a 100 percent lock to get re-signed. Now I put that down at 75 percent. Reid still loves DeSean. That’s important. DeSean must show some growth in the last 6 games. The 4th Qtr grab on Sunday night was a good starting point. Let’s hope he builds off that.
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Akeem Jordan played pretty well on Sunday night. I hated him at SAM last year, but that was when he was up on the LOS. Now he’s playing off and is able to go attack the ball. We’ve slowly gotten better at LB.
There are no long term solutions in place, but I am happy to see the progress. That’s important.
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Somebody asked about Jason Babin yesterday. He got pressure and hits a few times before the last hustle sack. He also had chip blocks to deal with. Jason is playing well.
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One thing that does scare me is that some of the young guys keep talking about what a “good” or “great” team we are. Uhhh, that would be no, we’re not a good or great team. The Eagles are loaded with talent, but are also 4-6.
The talent makes us dangerous to our opponents. The 4-6 proves that we’re dangerous to ourselves.
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I’m still working on the DGR. Feels good to be able to enjoy a game once again.