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November 04, 2019

DeSean Jackson reportedly headed for surgery as Eagles weigh bringing in WR help

The veteran wideout will miss another 4-6 after not immediately opting for surgery back in Week 2

Eagles
14_11032019_EaglesvsBears_DeSean_Jackson_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson during warmups before a Week 9 game against the Chicago Bears.

UPDATE [3:35 p.m.] — According to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark, DeSean Jackson will have surgery on Tuesday morning to repair his injured abdomen, after previously opting for rehab, following a meeting with specialist Dr. William Meyers.

Jackson met with the specialist Monday afternoon and was told his core muscle injury is now worse than it was when it first happened in Week 2. His abdominal muscle is now completely torn off the bone after he tried to play Sunday against the Bears. It was a minimal tear when it first happened in Week 2. The injury occurred Sunday on the Eagles' opening drive when he was tackled after his only catch. It worsened on the third-down sack on that same drive.  [nbcsports.com]

This is obviously bad news for the Eagles, as Clark reports that Jackson is now expected to miss another 4-6 weeks, when he could've had the surgery back in Week 2 and been fully healed by now. 

But it may be worse than that as Adam Schefter is reporting that the injury will keep Jackson out a minimum of six weeks, putting his earliest possible return in Week 16.

And Ian Rapoport is reporting that the timing makes it unlikely Jackson plays again at all this season. 

Sure, Clark's suggested timeline points to a return for the end of the season (and the playoffs, if they make it), but as we've seen already, 4-6 weeks doesn't always mean 4-6 week. And the Eagles have been overly optimistic about return times in the past (see: DeSean Jackson, earlier this season).

Earlier on Monday, Pederson said he had no regrets after playing Jackson against the Bears, even though he only lasted the first drive. But now, with this new information about Jackson injuring himself further on Sunday, it's safe to assume he has a few. 

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the trade deadline passed last week without them adding much of anything at all, despite them being reportedly interested in guys like Jets WR Robby Anderson. They also passed on putting in a waiver claim on Josh Gordon, who could've given them a boost without costing them anything at all. Now, they're left with options like Jordan Matthews, who was released by the 49ers, and Donte Moncrief, who was recently released by the Steelers. [Montcrief was claimed by the Panthers Monday afternoon.] 

But none of the available players will have anywhere close to the impact on the offense that the Eagles were hoping to get out of Jackson this season. 

With two weeks left to figure out a way to revamp the offense — not to mention prepare for back-to-back games against the Patriots and Seahawks — it's safe to say Doug Pederson and the Eagles have their work cut out for them.

UPDATE [4:10 p.m.] — The Eagles have confirmed that Jackson is indeed headed for surgery.


FROM EARLIER

When DeSean Jackson will actually return in full to the Eagles offense is anybody's guess. 

On Sunday, the veteran wideout — sidelined since Week 2 when he suffered an abdominal injury — tried to give it a go after a "really good week" of practice but didn't even last through the first drive of the Eagles' 22-14 win over the Bears, leaving many to wonder when Jackson will be fully healthy again. 

Pederson didn't seem concerned about the 32-year-old receiver's early exit when he appeared on SportsRadio 94 WIP early Monday morning for his weekly spot with Angelo Cataldi, saying that the Eagles "fully expect him to be good in a couple weeks" when they host the Patriots. 

But by noon, his tune had changed considerably. 

"As I said after the game and on Angelo [Cataldi's show] this morning, he did feel some discomfort when he was in there," Pederson told reporters at the NovaCare Complex. "So we, really for precautionary measures, decided to keep him out, evaluate him. We are still gathering some information on him. And obviously, this is our bye week, so we're going to get all the information and see where we're at with him."

And when pressed about whether he stood by his other statement from Cataldi's show — the one about him being back in a couple weeks — Pederson flinched. 

"It's still a little — until we gather this information that we're going to get, I'm not going to speculate one way or the other right now," the coach said.

The information the team is waiting for will come in the form of second and third opinions from outside doctors as the team continues to do its due diligence. But the problem might really be the original decision to opt for rehab over a surgical solution that would've kept him out 4-6 weeks, meaning Jackson would've been healed by now. 

"That's not for me to answer," Pederson said when asked if DeSean should've just went ahead and had the surgery. 

So, who is it for to answer? Jackson? Team doctors? Howie Roseman? 

"Well, I would say DeSean," Pederson continued. "Like Corey [Clement], for instance. Corey elected to have some stuff [surgery] done, players elect to have stuff done. I think, ultimately, DeSean didn't want to have surgery when it happened. He rehabbed it and got himself in a position to play, so I can't put words in players' mouths or in doctors' mouths."

But did he really get himself into a position to play if he didn't last beyond the first drive before aggravating said injury?

In reality, he's still struggling to get back on the field despite how well the team says he's doing at practice. And, on top of that, there are multiple reports out there that even when Jackson is on the field going forward, he'll have to play through some discomfort because he didn't have the corrective surgery. 

"I think that with this injury — and with most injuries with players — yeah, sometimes you've got to just play through it and deal with it," Pederson said. "But at the same time, we've got to be smart and do what's right by the player as well."

So, that begs the question, with the Eagles off this week, did they do the smart thing by putting Jackson back out there when they could've instead had two more weeks for him to rehab? 

Pederson said he had no regrets about playing their veteran deep threat receiver against the Bears.

"Going into the game, going into his rehab, what he had been doing, he had really been busting his tail to get back out on the field," Pederson said. "He had a really good week in practice. We limited him in practice, but what he could do, he was feeling good. So I have no regrets about him being out there."

But just a few questions later, Pederson again seemed to backtrack slightly.  

"I mean, sitting here today, you go, 'Alright, maybe you should have [kept DeSean out],'" Pederson said when asked how reluctant he was to start Jackson on Sunday. "You're second guessing now, and we're in a business where we've got to play and play with the guys in uniform. Again, he busted his tail to put himself in a position to help us yesterday. He just felt that discomfort so we kept him out and that's where we are."

And "where we are" is not a pretty position. 

The Eagles struggles at wide receiver continued on Sunday with Alshon Jeffery joining the drop party with three of his own and Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside remained invisible. And with the trade deadline passing last week, it just got considerably harder for Roseman and Co. to improve their wide receiver depth going forward. 

"At this point, it's something we'll take a look at," Pederson said when asked about the possibility of bringing in a receiver. "We've got to take a look at it obviously. It's real. We're at sort of the halfway point — a game over the halfway point of our season — and we've got time this week to make these decisions. We'll take a look at it. But nothing right now."

The team reportedly had options at wideout, including speedy Jets WR Robby Anderson, but balked at the price tag. They also had a chance to claim Josh Gordon off waivers, but passed on him as well. Guys like Donte Moncrief and Jordan Matthews are still available, but they're not going to make anywhere near the kind of impact the Eagles were expecting from Jackson.

And that's kind of the whole problem here. 

The Eagles were banking on too much from an aging receiver with a history of soft muscle injuries and missing time. And when Jackson did inevitably get hurt, they didn't act. They let time pass, just believing that everything would work out instead of thinking proactively and making a move to fill that void. The minute Jackson decided on rehab over surgery, leaving a bigger question mark around his longterm health, the Eagles should've been in the market for a deep threat receiver.

Instead, they waited. And as Jackson's rehab lingered, and lingered, and then lingered some more, they continued to believe everything would be just fine. Sure, surgery seems like it would've been a no-brainer at this point, but as Pederson himself said, that was not the team's decision to make. 

Everything that happened after that decision, however, is on the Eagles. 


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