Ray Didinger on DeSean Jackson's Shortcoming: Route Running

Ray Didinger on DeSean Jackson's Shortcoming: Route Running
January 4, 2011, 6:40 am
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After the Vikings game, I chatted with Kulp about Mike Vick not really being on the same page with DeSean Jackson in that ugly loss. We also discussed DeSean's seemingly lackadaisical approach to going after passes thrown his way. It was not an encouraging day for everyone's favorite Cali receiver. Turns out, someone asked Ray Didinger about this shortcoming.

From Didinger's mailbag:

Q. I watched the (Minnesota) game on TV and every pass thrown to (DeSean) Jackson except the deep ones, he showed no effort to get open. The replays exposed a disinterested wide receiver. I bet Tommy McDonald had to restrain himself from throwing a bottle through his TV. (Jackson’s) no-effort night made (Mike) Vick look worse than he really was.

Bill Jose

A. “Disinterested” may be a little harsh. I thought there was one play on which Jackson gave less than a full effort. He was coasting and not even looking for the ball when Vick threw it his way. The Eagles were lucky because the defender, Frank Walker, dropped a sure interception. It was one of several plays on which Vick and Jackson were out of sync that night.

As good as Jackson is, he does run some lazy patterns, especially the hook routes. When a receiver runs a hook, he is supposed to come back to the ball. Jackson doesn’t do it and as a result the defender behind him has a better chance to break up the pass. It happened on at least two occasions in the Minnesota game.

It is easy to see how Jackson could fall into this habit. He is so explosive cornerbacks give him an enormous cushion, so if he hooks up he usually has all the room he needs to make the catch. He doesn’t feel the need to work back to the ball because the threat of his speed creates that separation. But he still should get in the habit of running the pattern the right way. It just makes an easier throw for the quarterback.

For as exciting as DeSean is, he could be even better if he ran harder, crisper routes.

Read more of Ray's thoughts on DeSean Jackson, a team with a ton of rookies making the Super Bowl, on whether or not McNabb is a Hall of Famer, and many other topics in Diddy's mailbag.

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