Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson’s finger highlight why depth matters

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

While DeSean Jackson’s broken ring finger shouldn’t affect his season, it’s a sobering reminder of just how important depth is for a perennial contender like the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bad news: DeSean Jackson has a broken finger.

Good news: It’s his left ring finger and shouldn’t affect his ability to play in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ Week 1 bout against the Washington Redskins on September 8th.

However, Jackson’s injury highlights just how quickly a team’s fortunes can change, and why maintaining quality depth across a 53 man roster is paramount to a team’s ability to remain in contention season after season, year after year.

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Depth is practically Howie Roseman‘s mantra at this point.

You see, the Eagles had been trying to replace Jackson’s speed on the outside since, well, pretty much since Jackson was unceremoniously released by Chip Kelly due to ‘gang affiliations’ that have aged about as well as the current UCLA head coach’s tenure in the NFL.

And believe me; they’ve tried.

From Bryce Treggs, to Shelton Gibson, to Chris Givens, T.J. Graham, Torrey Smith, and about a half-dozen other players that would make this list laborious, Philly wasted countless rosterspots on players they hoped could take the top off of opposing defenses, with the ultimate solution being to bring back the very player they initially released all of those years ago.

But on any given snap, the team could lose the player they’ve pined after for six seasons indefinitely.

However, had Jackson’s injury been a bit more severe – resulting in a trip to IR, or an extended absence from the field – the Eagles are finally in a solid position to replace him in a variety of different ways.

Sure, any team would struggle to replace Jackson’s 4.3 speed directly, as the 32-year-old is virtually in a class of his own as a field-stretching burner, but unlike seasons prior where the Eagles really only had two or three legitimate NFL-caliber receivers, this year’s team is deep.

Not only are the Eagles deep – so deep, in fact, that at least one ore two of their released receiver may land on another team – but their receiving corp can get the job done in a variety of different ways.

Whether the team wants to win with size (Alshon Jeffery), physicality (JJ Arcega-Whiteside), or shiftyness (Nelson Agholor), the Eagles have a player with the prototypical traits for the job.

Factor in a pair of starting-caliber tight ends in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert and a collection of versatile running backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield like Miles Sanders, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, and even Jordan Howard, and the Eagles could have as many as a dozen different players catch a pass in any given game – a nightmare scenario for opposing defensive coordinators.

Really, the only limit to the Eagles’ ultimate potential in 2019 is their own creativity, a kind of legitimate concern when you consider just how much the scheme’s variability suffered when Mike Groh took the reigns from now-Colts head coach Frank Reich.

But I digress.

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Fortunately for fans in the 215, we don’t have to prepare for a disaster scenario of being without DeSean Jackson for an entire season, as he should be on the field and raring to go against his former club in Week 1. However, it is comforting to know that had a receiver, running back, or tight end suffered a serious injury, Howie Roseman has set the Philadelphia Eagles up to succeed with a slew of quality offensive weapons.