Whatever illness came over Jeremy Maclin in 2011 certainly affected his performance early in the season, but it did not affect the Philadelphia Eagles. They were just a square peg in a round hole mess from the beginning. This only added to the early season issues for Maclin. Outside of a big performance in Week 2 against Atlanta, he was limited to 33 catches for 441 yards and just two touchdowns over eight games before getting hurt in Week 10 against Arizona.
However, Maclin was a catalyst in the Eagles’ four-game winning streak to end the season, and I expect him (and the Eagles) to take over from where they left off in 2011. The expectations entering last season were over the top and unfounded based on a few big free agent signings. It’s what caused me to cautiously avoid the Eagles last year. Football is the ultimate team sport, so it takes time to build chemistry. The 2011 Eagles were a walking disaster, but the 2012 Eagles will grow from that experience. There’s a lot of potential buy-low candidates on this squad, but Maclin stands out from the rest.
LeSean McCoy gets the most fantasy buzz, Michael Vick gets the most talk among all of them, and DeSean Jackson’s antics keep him in the headlines over Maclin. While a bounceback for Jackson is a realistic possibility, it will only benefit Maclin. Jackson is the home run threat defensive coordinators don’t want beating them, McCoy is the focal point of the offense, and that doesn’t even account for Vick. Maclin becomes the beneficiary of the ‘you cannot cover everybody’ theory while also serving as a more reliable bailout for Vick. That developing 1,000-yard 10-touchdown receiver you saw in Maclin in 2010? He’s still there, and this is the year to get him.