Reid: Brutal hit will keep Eagles' Jackson out

Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson sits dazed after a violent hit by the Falcons' Dunta Robinson on Sunday. Jackson has had two concussions in the last 11 months.
Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson sits dazed after a violent hit by the Falcons' Dunta Robinson on Sunday. Jackson has had two concussions in the last 11 months.
Posted: October 19, 2010

If the brutal collision DeSean Jackson endured Sunday was really straight out of a Sylvester Stallone movie, as Eagles coach Andy Reid said Monday it appeared to be, the wide receiver would recover from his concussion in time for the next game, lead his team to a dramatic victory, solve the issue of helmet-to-helmet hits, negotiate the NFL labor dispute, and in the end bring about world peace.

But the wince-inducing blow that Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson dealt Jackson on the second play of the second quarter did not occur on a Hollywood soundstage. And the fact that both players lay motionless on the Lincoln Financial Field was not an act.

"This was like a Rocky movie," Reid said of the hit during his news conference, a day after the Eagles cruised past the Falcons, 31-17. "Very seldom do you see two guys collide, and then both of them are on the canvas."

Jackson's injury and the hangover of headaches and soreness are very real and will likely keep the all-pro receiver out of the lineup for an extended period, although Reid did not rule out a return for Sunday's game at the Tennessee Titans.

The Eagles' coach said that it would be a "real stretch" for Jackson to pass all the necessary tests and receive medical clearance in time to play against the Titans. His concussion is the fifth this season for the Eagles, with the previous four players each missing at least one game.

If Jackson were to sit out Sunday, he would have more than two weeks to recover for the following game against Indianapolis with a bye scheduled for the week after the Titans game. Asked Monday night on his radio show whether Jackson could play against the Colts, the coach said. "I think so."

Reid said that Jackson, sore "in his shoulder and neck area and so on," received treatment at the NovaCare Complex Monday. The 23-year-old was later seen leaving the facility, tapping away at his handheld device and hopping into the passenger seat of a waiting black BMW.

Jackson has suffered two concussions within the last 11 months, the first one coming Nov. 29 against the Washington Redskins. He missed one game and played the rest of the season without incident. This head injury, after Jackson had already scored rushing and receiving touchdowns, was much more brutal, however.

"It wasn't like amnesia set in," Reid said. "He remembered his touchdowns and all the things that happened. He didn't necessarily remember the hit when it took place."

The play was repeatedly broadcast across the country and was just one of several violent collisions that occurred on Sunday. Even though Robinson led with his shoulder when his helmet struck Johnson around the neck and chin, it was cited in reports after an NFL official said the league could soon start suspending players for dangerous helmet hits.

Typically, such hits draw a personal-foul penalty and later a fine. Robinson was called for a personal foul.

"The fundamentally old way of wrapping up and tackling seems to have faded away," Ray Anderson, the executive vice president of football operations, told the Associated Press. "A lot of the increase is from hits to blow guys up. That has become a more popular way of doing it."

Reid said that the league had already taken great strides in "removing the helmet out of the contact point, in particular around the chin or neck area."

"But some of these are bang-bang, [and] that was a bang-bang deal right there," he said of Robinson's tackling attempt. "That wasn't something this kid had planned. I mean, he wasn't going to go in and knock himself out."

Robinson, too, suffered a concussion, according to reports out of Atlanta.

The play occurred in the second quarter when the Eagles faced a third and 6 on the Atlanta 32. Quarterback Kevin Kolb was under pressure and, just as he was getting hit by two Falcons defensive linemen, he threw a pass to a crossing Jackson that the receiver had to leap up to grab.

Before Jackson even planted his second foot, the 5-foot-10, 182-pound Robinson had thrown his body at the 5-10, 175-pound receiver.

"Kevin's eyes were down the field and then came to DeSean as the underneath throw," Reid said. "Had he not had the pressure off of the right side, maybe he gets it to him a little bit sooner."

Despite Jackson's loss, the Eagles were able to execute their offense without missing a beat. Of Jeremy Maclin's seven catches for 159 yards, he caught five for 120 yards and two touchdowns after Jackson left. Last season, when Jackson was sidelined against the Falcons with his concussion, Maclin delivered four catches for 83 yards in an Eagles victory.

Still, Jackson is an irreplaceable talent.

"It affects us a lot - because, obviously, he's a game-breaker, and he's dynamic," Kolb said Monday on ESPN. "We need him out there as soon as possible. We also have confidence in the rest of the guys to pick up the slack, just like they did at the endĀ of the game yesterday. Whoever's out there we'll roll with."

With Maclin and Jason Avant, the Eagles have two experienced receivers. Reid said the team had no immediate plans to work out receivers. He said rookie Riley Cooper, who missed the last two games also with a concussion, would practice Wednesday. If he's cleared to play Sunday, he would be the No. 3 wideout. Chad Hall would be No. 4.


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.

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