It’s Up to Them

Posted: June 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 37 Comments »

Sheil Kapadia spoke to Jeremy Maclin over the weekend at LeSean McCoy’s charity softball game. The subject of Maclin’s future came up.  He is a free agent at the end of the year so the question is whether he’ll be an Eagle next year.

He told Sheil:

“This is the team and organization that drafted me. I don’t want to leave,” Maclin said. “But at the end of the day, that’s going to get brought up and come up when it’s time for it. All I can do is go out there and play ball, and I’m going to play to the best of my ability.”

What would Mike Florio read into that? Insert your own answer, with lots of conspiracy angles.

I think Mac is being straightforward. He does want to stay. If he gets solid money, this is a great city to live in and great organization to play for. Chip Kelly seems like an exciting coach to play for. A player could sure do a lot worse.

The Eagles are normally aggressive about getting young players re-signed. I think Mac is a guy they’re confused about. He has size, speed and skills. There are no character issues. His overall numbers are solid. Mac should be a guy the Eagles are dying to keep around.

I think there are two issues at hand. The first is toughness. From the first time we saw him on Special Teams, it was evident that Mac was not comfortable with 11 guys coming after him at full speed. Being a PR or KOR is hard. I’ll tell you right now that I couldn’t do it in a million years. I’m a wuss.

Last year Mac’s blocking ranged from non-existent to atrocious. Both are unacceptable from a 200-pound WR. This is purely a question of effort and toughness. If Danny Amendola can be a good run blocker, Jeremy Maclin sure as heck can. We also saw Mac shy from contact more than a few times. Some of you question when I bring this up. I am not asking Mac to turn into Earl Campbell and take on tackler after tackler. However, going down when players get within 3 yards of you and your team is losing and desperate for points is unacceptable. Torry Holt is the all-time king of going down to avoid contact, but he mastered it. Holt would go as far as possible and then slide. He turned it into an art form. Holt also willingly went over the middle on a regular basis. Mac’s first instinct is always to go for the sideline. He only heads to the middle when he’s got no choice.

Skill players have to pick and choose which battles to fight. They can’t sell out on every play, nor do I expect them to. Think of it this way. If Mac had played against the 2012 Eagles DBs, he’d have gone down when DRC and Nnamdi got near him. How many yards and/or TDs would that have saved us? You must take some chances and force DBs to make tackles. Most CBs don’t tackle well. By going down, you’re giving them the tackle. Make them earn it, at least from time to time.

The second issue is even harder to quantify. You could call this playing up to your potential. While Mac and Hakeem Nicks do have similar career stats, to me there is no question that Nicks is the guy who looks like a #1 receiver and can take over games. His big issue is staying healthy.  I don’t think Mac has come close to reaching his full potential. To put this in Eagles terms, he’s closer to Calvin Williams than he is Terrell Owens. And he shouldn’t be.

Mac has big time potential. I don’t know that he’ll ever be an elite player, but I think there is still serious upside with him. I think Mac has needed a coach to really push him. That didn’t happen with Andy Reid. Both men let good enough be good enough. Kelly is going to push Mac a bit more. I’m real curious to see how this works out. Mac could respond well and thrive or he could look at Kelly as if he’s crazy. The key here is going to be how Mac views himself. Does he think he’s had a great career so far? Does he think he’s done all he can? If so, I don’t think he and Kelly are going to fit together like PBR and Funyuns.

If Mac is hungry and wants to be special…if he lets Kelly really push him and responds the right way, I think Mac could have a terrific season in 2013. If he shows Kelly and the Eagles that he can be special, they’ll gladly pay him serious money.  This is all up to Mac.

* * * * *

DeSean Jackson is in a contract year because of the way his deal was structured. Nate Allen is in a contract year. Mike Vick is in a contract year. Brandon Graham could earn a new deal if he plays well. DeMeco Ryans is an expensive vet who could eliminate any salary discussion if he plays well. And so on.

This is all up to the players. The Eagles are glad to pay out big bucks to players who deserve ‘em. I’m sure Howie Roseman would love a scenario where he’s got too many good players and has to get creative with the salary cap to keep as many as possible.

I think the presence of Kelly will provide a jolt to some players. The new staff and systems will help others. Unfortunately, we know that some players will struggle, whether due to injury, adjusting to the changes or just having an off year. A lot of seemingly big decisions take care of themselves.

Kelly likes to talk about how the depth chart takes care of itself. Players earn starting jobs and playing time. That sentiment will also be true with contracts, for the most part. Play well and you should get your money. As long as they’re healthy, the players control their own destiny.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did a show last week. Forgot to link it here. We talked about the other 3 NFC East teams and how they have no chance to beat the juggernaut Eagles. That might be overstating things just a tad, but we did discuss the other NFCE teams. Good show. Always fun to keep up with the enemy.

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  • OregonDucker

    Football is a violent game. I played from Pop Warner through high school, OL and DL. Playing scared is not in the DNA of any qualified football player. (A QB has to suppress this desire and channel it through passionate play.)

    IMHO, Chip is looking for high football IQ, talent, and PASSION. If Mac looks like a “deer in the headlights” to Chip he will be cut. Just my two cents.

    • TommyLawlor

      Not cut. They would either trade him this summer or let him leave as a free agent next offseason.

      But I agree with your take on Chip wanting passionate players. He loves aggressive football. Do what it takes to succeed. Do what it takes to win. Give it your all.

      • GEagle

        If I’m Chip..I sick Cary Williams on Maclin all camp long and make Cary try to rough up Maclin for weeks and see how he responds. hopefully it toughens him up. Cary is far from an Elite corner, but he has size and plays Physical. if Maclin can learn to deal with Cary at the LOS and Block CDub on run plays, he should be fine against most CBs this season.
        ..
        Cary struggles once recievers get past him at the LOS, so as a trade off Cary will get to work on recovering and then his coverage against a pretty quality NFL WR in Maclin. I think those two can get a lot out of spending camp gong hard at each other. hopefully they can push and use each other to improve….I think Desean and Maclin are going to get a lot more out of fighting against Fletch and CDub, then they got from competing againt the aloof, complacent, soft DRC and NNamdi.

  • shah8

    A slot receiver delivering killer YAC (or outmuscling CBs) would change things alot for Maclin, who is most comfortable catching the ball when hitting empty spots in a zone. Maclin can do more of what he wants to do, and his weaknesses/disinclination are hidden a bit more.

    • TommyLawlor

      Could certainly help.

  • Mitchell

    I know Mac has had a good career this far but being drafted so high I’m always expecting more because I can see flashes of brilliance.

    • GEagle

      He teased us with some big time performances, but not as consistent as I would have liked. There have been some games that Maclin looked unstoppable, other times he leaves much to be desired, playing soft, uninspired football. I have a hard time reading Maclin and what level his game will plateau at. We keep thinking this will be the year he puts it all together, yet he is running out of chances. All the pressure is on Maclin now, he doesn’t have the comfort he had with Andy..I think it will be very telling How he responds this season. I’m anxious to find out…I do like that I don’t sense the same scenario that Desean went through. Maclin has been making first round money and has gotten fair compensation for his production. I don’t think he can afford to mail it in because he was grossly underpaid and doesnt want to risk injury the way Desean did and Maclin seems to know it. you could just tell that Deseans contract year wasn’t a real indication of the type of player he is, but I think this situation will be different and that we will find out exactly who Jeremy Maclin is…and Im excited to find out

      • Mitchell

        There is so much to be excited about this year! Suppose Maclin could improve in one area ie run blocking, special teams, etc. what would you pick?

        • GEagle

          Definitely blocking, and overall toughness on Offense. These past two drafts have brought us an infusion of young athletic talent. We should be fine on ST without Maclin, but he could really make us better if he gets the toughness, blocking, and staying healthy sorted out. Without an improvement in blocking he wont see the field as much. Cant help move the chains from the sidelines. I think its very important for his Eagles future to improve and make himself an asset or atleast not a liability in our run game. I also expect significant improvements on special teams with or without him because we certainly have the athletes for it…hopefully we have players with the tough mental makeup for it.

        • Tumtum

          Is it cheating to say toughness? That alone could take him to the next level.

  • aub32

    Tommy, do you know what the knocks on Crabtree were prior to last year? I didn’t follow the 9ers close, as I didn’t view them as a threat. Could Maclin have the same transformation with the right coach and scheme?

    • Neil

      First, Maclin has been a better player than Crabtree was before Harbaugh came along, if I’m not mistaken. Nontheless, Maclin absolutely could have a big jump. He has bigtime talent. Thing is the will to take pain to be a great player isn’t something you can just teach like technique. Kelly might find a way to break Maclin of that or he might not. I’m not sure what changed with Crabtree, but that’s what needs to change for Maclin.

    • TommyLawlor

      Crabtree was an immature guy and inconsistent player. I also think the erratic QB play hurt him. Harbaugh forced him to grow up and Crabtree responded the right way.

  • John Gurney

    I have always liked Maclin but I don’t know if that is going to cut it anymore. I could live with his lack of physicality if he was actually putting up stats. His potential is enough to keep him around for another year but he needs to have a breakout year, finally break that 1000 yard barrier to get a new contract.

  • barneygoogle

    There’s only one football. I have to think that Ertz and Casey will play a lot and catch the ball– what, 40 to Ertz and 30 Casey; that’s 70 catches, or more. That comes out of someone’s playing time and catches. It’s got to affect Maclin, Celek, and/or DeSean. One or two of these guys is gone in 2014.

    • TommyLawlor

      It really is going to be interesting to see how things are split up, in terms of touches.

    • GEagle

      Dont think Celek will make it past this season, and that doesnt neccessarily mean that both Desean and Maclins future is safe. Celek is slow(for our standards) and is just a standard in line TE. His body has also taken a pounding throughout the years..we are moving away from him IMO. I also am convinced we will really try to get Oregon’s Colt Lyeria next spring(assuming he comes out)…If Both desean and Maclin have big years and prove themselves to Chip, its possible that they are both brought back for 2014, but I think thats far from a guarentee. Guys will need to be sharp on and off the field, accountability is back jack!

      • Mitchell

        As Long as we have one huge TE on the roster I’m happy.

        • GEagle

          You should check out Dan Klausers article about our Future at WR/TE on bleedinggreennation..He predicts how Kelly will really cause an NFL evolution at TE/WR and how, come 2015 he expects as little as only 3 WR’s on our entire roster. Crazy concept, but it wouldnt surprise me if thats the direction we wind up heading.,It was an interesting read. Maybe not as little as 3, but 4 wouldnt surprise me

          • Mitchell

            Good stuff I would like that. Just a bunch of big monsters! Muhahahaha

    • Tumtum

      With 15-20 more snaps a game, if that is roughly the idea yeah? So 17.5. So 280 more snaps Let us just call the pass-run ratio 50-50. So 140 more passes. Of course you can’t forget to take some passes away for the 10% change over Andy’s 60-40 (generous?). I don’t want to take the time to break it down because I am lazy and stupid.

      You get the point though right? Should be plenty of balls to go around.

  • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

    Whenever I think of Mac, I think of the word “finesse”. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just always felt like he wants to be more Marvin Harrison than Anquan Boldin. Which also isn’t a bad thing. . .as long as you have your very own personal Peyton Manning taking advantage of those oh-so precise routes you run.

    I think Mac has suffered as much as anyone with the less than stellar QB play of late, but he’s got every chance to become more than the pretty darn good receiver he’s been up to this point in his career. He’s just going to be faced with a choice this year, and simple as it may be, I don’t think it goes much beyond; toughen up or move on.

    • TommyLawlor

      Great point about Mac being hurt by the QB play. Totally agree.

    • Mitchell

      But like Tommy said, he isn’t a small receiver, so maybe he should use those attributes to his advantage.

      • GEagle

        I agree…but if he wants to continue to be a finesse reciever, I wish he would seek out Marvin Harrison and pick his brain on route running, attacking zones, avoiding big hits. If he hasnt seeked out that type of tutoring from a former NFL great by now, he probably never will

  • ICDogg

    There is a Youtube vid of the Eagles playing basketball against some high school kids, that was put up on BGN. The Eagles dominated these kids, who looked like the Washington Generals. It was interesting to see the similarities in Maclin’s basketball game to his football.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Rv2m1sr-iVY

  • A_T_G

    Florio-esque interpretation:

    MACLIN CLAIMS CHIP RUNNING HIM OUT OF TOWN, HITLER STYLE

    Receiver Jeremy Maclin doesn’t believe he will be an Eagle after this season, and insinuates who is at fault for that. “This is the TEAM and he ORGANIZATION that drafted me,” Maclin said, highlighting that the coaching staff is what changed since the team traded up in the first round to make him an Eagle just a few years ago.

    Some people believe that Chip happened upon Jeremy singing show tunes in the shower, leading Chip to question Maclin’s toughness. A love of show tunes shouldn’t be an indication of character, ““But at the end of the day, that’s going to get brought up…” Maclin admitted in the interview, referring to his contract negotiations on the horizon.

    Clearly Maclin is concerned that Chip’s allegedly prejudicial view of show tune singing athletes has spread to the rest of the organization. In a comment that sounds disturbingly reminiscent of German Jews during the early days of the Nazi rise to power, Maclin pleads, “I don’t want to leave.”

    • Tumtum

      You’re giving Florio too much credit. He does not know and would not take the time before posting to figure out that we traded up for Maclin. I still read his website 500x a day. What does that say about me?

      • GEagle

        I spend more time reading the comments on his site bashing him, then I actually do florio’s work

    • TommyLawlor

      ATG…I should have known you would bring your A-game.

    • John Gurney

      That might be the greatest Florio anyone has ever done!

  • Ark87

    Mac isn’t particularly tough but he is not nearly as soft as everyone makes him out to be. 2011 he came in way underweight and frail due to a mysterious illness. 2012 he was battling through a hip flexor that continuously reaggrivated. Very hard to block upright with any core injury, excruciating (hip flexors connect the front of your hip to the top of your leg, its what keeps you from bending backwards when you block). It isn’t very tough but it isn’t unusual for a player to play soft to avoid aggravating an injury and suffering a setback.

    Aside from that, Mac has a nasty side. He’s not afraid to mix it up. when wr’s and cb’s get into it in camp, chances are it involves Cooper or Maclin. There is def something that Chip can harness there besides talent.

    • A_T_G

      Those things are true, and good points, but what about the reports I read somewhere that he sings show tune in the shower and, if I’m remembering correctly, he prefers cat-sized dogs?

      (Fox News cycled and spiraled!)

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  • eagleyankfan

    That’s what makes 2013 a great Eagle year to watch. You have the young kids who have yet to establish themselves on the field. You have players, like Maclin, who need to show they are ready for the next level (aka — good year to step up/contract year) if they want to be here in 2014. I think Celek falls into this category as well. Soft players that AR kept are being evaluated and won’t be here in 2014(maybe not even 2013). Then you have the veterans(like Peters/Ryans) who need to show they can handle the changes.
    Going to be fun to watch to see who makes the cut and who doesn’t. That brings me to players like Cooper. Seems like the majority has him off the team already. I like Cooper. I like his size and heart. He’s NOT afraid of contact. He needs to catch more balls. If he can show that, I think he makes the team….

  • Wilbert M.

    Maclin’s career stats are actually better than Michael Crabtree’s, which is a little surprising. Both 1st rounders in 2009 with similar physical attributes and both have played an identical amount of games. The difference is Crabtree has shown constant improvement while Maclin’s growth has been flat. Hopefully, Maclin can put his past injuries and illness behind him and live up to his potential. But – I still don’t get why he can’t return punts after the success he had in college.

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