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He hasn’t had that season yet. That season.
That bust-out season everybody thinks Jeremy Maclin should have had by now.
He hasn’t had that 70-catch, 1,200-yard year that we all figured Maclin would have had as the 19th pick overall in 2009.
He hasn’t been to the Pro Bowl. Hasn’t been an all-pro. Hasn’t hit 1,000 yards.
What Maclin has been is consistent, productive and durable. Only one receiver drafted since 2009 –- Hakeem Nicks of the Giants –- has more yards over the past four years (273 more), and Maclin’s 26 TD catches since 2009 are only one fewer than Nicks and Dez Bryant, who have the most among receivers drafted over the past five years.
Now we go into a new era in Eagles football, and Maclin believes that things could be different this fall. Will be different.
Where DeSean Jackson was generally the No. 1 option for whoever was at quarterback under former coaches Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, Maclin believes the offense will be more balanced now that Chip Kelly has replaced Reid and Pat Shurmur has returned to Philly as offensive coordinator.
“I’m going to be honest, the last offense was geared to the position that D-Jack played,” Maclin said. “That’s just what it was. That’s just what it was. So the fact that I was able to personally accomplish what I accomplished, I think as far as the position I was playing, I think that’s above what that guy normally does.
“D-Jack and I were able to complement each other, and it worked well. But that’s just how the offense was tailored.”
Jackson, playing almost exclusively flanker and occasionally in the slot, averaged over 1,000 yards a year from 2008 through 2011 before missing a third of last season.
Maclin, playing split end most of the time, has averaged 863 yards per year in his four pro seasons.
“There’s two ways you can run the West Coast Offense,” Maclin said. “You can run it where the flanker position, you can put him in the slot, put him in motion, or you can tailor it around a single receiver who’s always by himself. And when Marty was here, we tailored it around the flanker position. That’s just how it was.”
So while Maclin is one of just 10 wideouts with at least 750 yards in each of the last four seasons, he still hasn’t hit 1,000 yards in a season. The closest he came was 964 in 2010.
Nobody else in the NFL has as many yards as Maclin since 2009 without a 1,000-yard season.
Maclin does have more receiving touchdowns than Jackson since 2009 (27 to 21) and more first downs (158 to 140).
Over the past three years, Maclin has nearly twice as many TD catches (22) as Jackson (12).
“Everybody uses that 1,000-yard benchmark, but at the same time, if you have a guy who has 850-plus yards and eight touchdowns or a guy who has 1,000 yards but two touchdowns, which guy do you really want?” Maclin said.
“A guy who has X amount of catches for first downs as opposed to a guy who has this and that?”
None of this is a knock on Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl pick and one of the league’s most exciting players when healthy.
It’s just that Maclin believes he’s done exactly what’s been asked of him over the past few years, and now that it appears the offense will be more balanced, he thinks he’s capable of a true bust-out year.
Adding to the equation is that Maclin is in a contract year, unsigned after this season. A big 2013 means Maclin will be due a huge contract, either from the Eagles or as a free agent.
All that said, Maclin insists he doesn’t get wrapped up in the numbers and doesn’t dwell on the fact that he’s the best receiver in the league without a 1,000-yard season.
“My thing is I’m one of the veteran guys, one of the guys who has done some good things in this league, so I understand I’m going to be one of the guys that’s going to help this team win,” he said.
“And as long as we’re winning, the stats are going to come. As long as we’re winning, man, I’m going to continue to just be available and if that means I’ve got 1,200 yards, that’s 1,200 yards. If that means I have another 900-yard season, then that’s what it is. I’m not going worry about all that.”
The Eagles open their first training camp under Kelly next week at the NovaCare Complex.
It will be the first time since 1998 somebody other than Reid is running the show. After just 12 wins the last two years, change was needed.
Maclin is confident his size and versatility, his ability to play inside and out and his consistency catching the ball will make him a key part of what Kelly does this fall.
“All change is not bad change,” Maclin said. “I’m excited to see this develop into something that I believe can be special, as far as the energy, the scheme, everything that he’s bringing to the table.
“I’m excited, and if we get 100 percent buy-in -– which I think we have so far –- and guys put everything they have into this, we’ll get back to where we need to be, and that’s in the playoffs.”