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Shurmur isn't discouraged after the Eagles' loss to the Cowboys
DeSean Jackson had his worst outing of the year with just three catches for 21 yards Sunday. (AP)
He was thoughtful after practice. A bit poetic, too.
“There’s going to be sunny days and there’s going to be cloudy, rainy days,” DeSean Jackson said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. “It just happened to be a cloudy, rainy day for us.”
For the Eagles. For their best wide receiver, too.
Jackson was talking about the Eagles' 17-3 loss to the Cowboys over the weekend, a game in which almost nothing went according to plan. Jackson had just three catches on eight targets for 21 yards.
It was the second-fewest catches for Jackson in a game this season. It was his fewest receiving yards. And his 7.0 yards-per-catch average was also his worst output of the year.
Jackson wasn’t happy about any of it, nor should he have been. At various points, the TV broadcast caught shots of Jackson in moments where he appeared to be fairly frustrated. But if anyone thought that the wide receiver was pouting or scowling at a teammate rather than himself, Jackson insisted that wasn’t the case.
“The energy I expect out of myself and being that guy to spark this team, that’s more of my frustration,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t in particular to anybody else. It was about getting those opportunities to make big plays to help my team to win games. It’s not a selfish thing where I’m not getting the ball. It’s doing what I’m allowed to do and plays I’m able to make.”
About the big plays: Jackson has made quite a few this season. Jackson is fourth in the NFL with 610 receiving yards, 12th in yards per catch (16.5) and 13th in yards after the catch (213). But only one other player, Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, has more long receptions. Smith has 14 catches that have gone for 20 or more yards. Jackson has 12.
Against the Cowboys, Jackson’s longest play was 16 yards. That also marked a season low. So what happened? Why couldn’t the Eagles get the ball to Jackson against a Dallas defense that ranked 30th overall entering the game?
“There were times where DeSean was open and we just didn't get him the football, and there were other times he probably could have done a better job of getting open,” Chip Kelly said. “Sometimes it's the quarterback, sometimes it's the receiver.”
Nick Foles, and later Matt Barkley, had obvious troubles throwing the ball against the Cowboys. Foles completed 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards and a 46.2 quarterback rating. Barkley connected on 11 of 20 passes for 129 yards and a 35.2 quarterback rating. Barkley also threw three interceptions in about nine minutes. Together, Foles and Barkley averaged just 4.0 yards per completion.
How much of Jackson’s struggles were intertwined with the quarterbacks’ struggles? And how much was owed to the way the Cowboys defended the Eagles’ speedy wide receiver?
“There’s going to be games when I do good and there’s going to be games when guys do good against me,” Jackson said. “That’s part of being a professional athlete. As far as anything else, I have to do what I have to do to go out there and work hard and do what I need to do to get open. I felt I was able to get open throughout the course of the game. Sometimes it goes in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t.”