A disastrously disappointing season for the Philadelphia Eagles and star wide receiver DeSean Jackson may have hit bottom Sunday, when Jackson was benched in the fourth quarter following two dropped touchdown passes. Eagles coach Andy Reid confirmed to reporters after the game that he held Jackson out of the game late because he "wanted to give the other guys an opportunity." Per the Philadelphia Daily News:
Asked if Jackson was benched, Reid said, "I wanted to give the other guys a chance to make a play."
Asked later if he was satisfied with how Jackson played, Reid said, "You didn't ask me that last week. If we have bad game, you feel comfortable asking. We have to do a better job all the way around."
Jackson, when speaking to reporters at his locker, said, "It was the decision that was made. As a player, I just have to live with it."
Jackson, on the two drops: "Things happen sometimes. It wasn’t one of my best games as far as a couple of plays I could have had ... At the end of the day, I didn’t come up with any … No excuses behind that."
Jackson was on the Eagles' inactive list for the game two weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals after missing a team meeting the day before the game. The following week, he apologized to his teammates and spoke about how difficult this season has been for him due to his desire for a new, long-term contract.
The problem Jackson is having is that the best way to get that long-term contract would have been to go out and have a monster season. Instead, he's having one of the least productive years of his career and can't seem to get out of his own way. Last week against the Giants, he was flagged for a post-catch taunting penalty that cost the team 50 yards of field position. This week, he dropped two balls that hit him in the hands in the end zone. With leading receiver Jeremy Maclin out with shoulder and hamstring injuries, the Eagles needed Jackson to elevate his play this week. Instead, he seemed to go in the other direction.
As this lost Eagles season limps toward the finish line, we're left to wonder how much Jackson will factor into it at all. The contract extension ship appears to have sailed, and I imagine the Eagles are much closer to just cutting ties with Jackson after this season than they ever have been. I wonder if Jackson will even have a chance to do much auditioning for his next deal over these final five games, or whether Reid will continue to want to give his opportunities to all of those "other guys."