Benching Jackson One Way To Go

DeSean Jackson (US Presswire)

Eagles coach Andy Reid had seen enough, and sat DeSean Jackson down On Sunday. Was it the right move? It may be the only way to get through to the kid who doesn't get why he's hurting his team.

Jackson benched Sunday; status for Thursday unknown

   This was supposed to be the season that would lead to a set-for-life contract for DeSean Jackson. Instead, it's turning into a season that could be the Pro Bowl wide receiver's last with the Eagles.

   Two weeks after being suspended for a game for missing a team meeting, Jackson was benched for the entire fourth quarter of Sunday's ugly 38-20 loss to the New England Patriots after dropping three passes, including two would-be touchdowns.

   Jackson, who feels he is one of the league's top receivers and wants to be paid in that neighborhood, came into the game with just 35 receptions and two touchdown catches. He had four catches for 73 yards against the Patriots, but the two dropped touchdowns earned him a seat on the bench.

   On a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line in the second quarter, he came across the middle for a Vince Young pass, but seemed to take his eyes off the ball as Patriots linebacker Tracy White closed in on him. The ball went off his hands.

   On a red-zone possession in the third quarter, Jackson, who has just one red-zone reception the entire season (in Week 1), wasn't even on the field in either two- or three-wide receiver sets.

   After dropping a potential touchdown pass down the middle late in the third quarter, he never returned to the game, watching the entire fourth quarter from the sideline.

   "It was a decision that was made," Jackson said. "As a player, I just have to live with it. It happened and I have to keep coming to work, give my best effort and play hard. Come next week, I am going to make those plays."

   Jackson acknowledged after he was benched two weeks ago that his contract situation - he'll be a free agent at the end of the season and has been rebuffed in his attempts to get a new deal - has weighed heavy on his mind and may be affecting his play.

   When asked after the game why Jackson didn't play in the fourth quarter, coach Andy Reid said, "I just wanted to give the other guys an opportunity. I just wanted to give them a chance to make a play."

   Asked about Jackson's performance, Reid said, "He has to do a better job."

   The Eagles, who fell to 4-7 and all but out of the playoff hunt, have a short week. They have to fly to Seattle for a Thursday night game against the Seahawks. It remains to be seen whether Jackson will start.

   Running back LeSean McCoy said he was aware that Jackson was benched. "We talked about it," he said.

   McCoy said he doesn't think Jackson's contract situation is the reason he played poorly against the Patriots.

   "He's a good player," McCoy said. "He just had a bad game, which everybody has. Nobody's perfect. He didn't play good today. You just gotta fight through it. I don't think the contract (situation) had anything to do with it."

LINEUP WATCH: Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was benched in the fourth quarter Sunday after dropping two potential touchdown passes. He's already been benched for a game this season for missing a meeting. Coach Andy Reid may be down enough on him to not start him Thursday night against Seattle. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 24 - Eagles quarterbacks have just 24 red-zone completions this season in 50 attempts.

PLAYER NOTES
   --LB Moise Fokou injured his ankle in Sunday's game against the Patriots. He isn't expected to play Thursday against Seattle.
   --QB Mike Vick is questionable for Thursday's game against Seattle. He missed his second straight game Sunday with fractured ribs.
   --WR Jeremy Maclin missed his second straight game with shoulder and hamstring injuries. He aggravated the hamstring injury in practice on Wednesday. It's uncertain whether he'll be able to play Thursday against Seattle.
   --WR DeSean Jackson was benched for the entire fourth quarter Sunday after dropping two potential touchdown passes.
   --DT Cullen Jenkins injured his thumb in the first half Sunday, but returned to the game and played with the injury.


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