We still don’t know if Washington’s injured receiver DeSean Jackson will play against his old team in Philadelphia on Sunday, but we do know this: Coach Jay Gruden doesn’t see much point in Jackson taking the field if he’s not at full speed.
Gruden said on ESPN 980 that Jackson needs to be close to 100 percent if he’s going to play.
“He did a little bit today,” Gruden said. “I think he’s gonna be a game-day type deal. He wants to go really bad — obviously he’s going back to Philly. But if he’s not 100 percent — if he’s 60-70 percent — he’s really not that good to us.”
When ESPN 980’s Brian Mitchell, the longtime NFL running back and return man, pointed out that NFL players are rarely 100 percent, Gruden made the wise crack about Jackson that everyone has been quoting today.
“I know, but he’s already 160 pounds,” Gruden said. “He’s already a very terrible blocker. We’ll see. I think he wants to play. He’s a tough guy. He is allowed to wear shoulder pads, so he might be all right.”
As Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post notes, Gruden sounded like he was kind of joking when he made the “terrible blocker” comment.
But only kind of: Gruden is right that a player like Jackson provides his value with the ball in his hands. If his injured shoulder makes him struggle to catch the ball or struggle to run full speed with the ball, there’s not much use in having him out there. No matter how much he wants to play in Philadelphia.