On just the second offensive series of the season for the Washington Redskins, star receiver DeSean Jackson came up lame with a pulled hamstring while sprinting for a deep pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins. After a tumultuous off-season for the Redskins, during which intense media coverage surrounded a concussion suffered by former starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, with subsequent speculation regarding Griffin’s relationship with coach Jay Gruden, an injury to the star wide receiver was an unfortunate development.
According to Vegas Insider, the Redskins were already a four-point underdog going into their home opener against the Miami Dolphins. Losing their biggest deep threat in Jackson dealt a serious blow to Washington, who ultimately lost 17-10 to Miami in the week one contest.
In his post-game comments, coach Jay Gruden stated that not only was the loss of DeSean Jackson problematic due to his game-breaking speed, but also because the Redskins had drafted a game plan heavily based on targeting Jackson in one-on-one situations downfield.
“Any time you lose a guy that runs a 4.25 40, it damages some of your play-action game,” Gruden said. “The first one we threw to him, he had a step [on the corner] and I believe he would have caught it if he didn’t pull his hammy.
“It’s a great throw by Kirk, and that’s the last we saw of him — and we had another seven or eight [plays] built in to clear out and get DeSean across the field. It was a big loss for us.”
After a stellar collegiate career at the University of California, former Golden Bear DeSean Jackson surprisingly dropped to the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft amid concerns over his size and durability. Nonetheless, through his first five seasons in the NFL, Jackson out-produced every other receiver in his draft class, including players such as Jordy Nelson, Eddie Royal, and Jerome Simpson.
After what was statistically the best season of his career, DeSean Jackson was shockingly released by the Eagles in March of 2014. The release came amid speculation of alleged gang ties between Jackson and friends from his Los Angeles neighborhood, in addition to rumors of a rift with coach Chip Kelly.
After yet another 1,000 yard season with the Redskins in 2014, Jackson, who spent much of the preseason recovering from a grade 2 shoulder separation, was expected to be a focal point of the Washington passing game in 2015. Following this unfortunate setback in his team’s opening game, DeSean Jackson and Redskins fans will be forced to await the results of an MRI to know his status going into next week.
Following a nightmare off-season full of quarterback controversy and multiple season-ending injuries, a prolonged absence of DeSean Jackson may deal a huge blow to Washington’s already dim playoff hopes.
[Image Credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport]