During offseason workouts, the Eagles experimented with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin as a punt returner.
With Maclin lost for the season on Saturday with a torn ACL, he obviously won’t be fielding any kicks. The team has Damaris Johnson, who did the job for much of last season, but they appear to be reaching further back into the past for a returner this season.
DeSean Jackson, who returned four punts for touchdowns in his first three seasons, said Saturday that he’s back on the top of the punt return depth chart after returning just one kick last season.
“I’m very excited about that,” Jackson said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Able to go out there once again, help the offense get in great field position and things like that. Something I’m looking forward to.”
While Jackson’s dynamism as a punt returner can’t be denied, it’s worth watching to see if Maclin’s injury winds up changing the Eagles’ plans at all. Jackson’s likely to be an even bigger focus of the passing game with Maclin out of the lineup and the additional workload (and risk of injury) could lead the Eagles to pick and choose their spots with Jackson more than they might have planned.