Eagles Notebook: Eagles' Jackson imitates Iverson, then Cruz

Posted: October 08, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In the early going against the Giants yesterday, it looked like more of the same for DeSean Jackson.

Stifled by man coverage plus a single high safety in losses to Kansas City and Denver, Jackson was double-covered and overthrown on the Eagles' first snap, then seemed to drop a pass that would have given the Birds a first down on third-and-11. His next opportunity also fell incomplete. Jackson didn't catch a pass until Michael Vick heaved a 56-yarder he hauled in with 9:06 left in the second quarter, helping set up LeSean McCoy's touchdown run. After that, though, things got considerably better, Jackson finishing the day with seven catches for 132 yards and the clincher touchdown, on an Iversonesque stop-and-go that left Prince Amukamara spinning in the synthetic MetLife dust.

LeSean McCoy's day got more complicated when Vick left in favor of Nick Foles just before halftime with a hamstring pull, but Jackson's got simpler. The Giants told reporters they didn't have to honor the read option with Nick Foles quarterbacking; McCoy had no running room. But Jackson, playing with a quarterback who maybe is less skittish about trusting his receiver to make a play, caught five passes for 72 yards after Vick left.

"Foles has come in and done a good job," Jackson said afterward. "Last year he had some opportunities to come in and do the same thing, when Vick went down. He's been in this position before, he knows what to do, he knows what to expect. He's able to go out there and really make a decision and just get the ball out fast. He did a great job of coming in and just giving us a chance to win today."

Jackson said the idea yesterday was to "not let teams play us like that," man-to-man with the single high safety. "Just take chances and take shots down the field . . . It's always a great thing when you can make teams pay for the way they're playing us."

After his touchdown, Jackson performed his version of Victor Cruz' salsa dance.

"I had one of my friends tell me to do that, who didn't really like the dance [Cruz] always does," Jackson said. "Me and [Cruz] are great friends, nothing towards him."

Jackson has at least seven catches in three games this season, the first time in his career he has managed that in a season.

The Giants, who entered the game 22nd in the NFL against the run, were surprisingly effective against McCoy, especially in the second half, when he lost 4 yards on seven carries. Not having to honor the read option after Vick left was one element, but Eagles offensive linemen also said New York did a lot of stunting and moving to shake up the blocking.

During the Giants' third-quarter rally, Foles handed the ball to McCoy on a third-and-2 from the Eagles' 46, which ought to have been money in the bank. Instead, former Eagle Mike Patterson zipped past Jason Kelce and tackled McCoy for a 6-yard loss.

"[The coaches] wanted us to get some movement up front, get us in the backfield so McCoy doesn't get on a roll, because you guys know how it is when he gets on a roll," Patterson said. "We were just trying to distract him a little bit. We wanted to get upfield, more than anything."

On that third-down play, Kelce said: "They were doing a lot of - we call it 'nut stunt,' with the nose [tackle] looping across my face on inside zone [blocking], or on zones, period. It's a tough block. I need to be able to make it. There's one or two things you can do. You can call the backside guard in, in case that happens, but on third-and-2, what that does is eliminate the double team on the backside, which is really what you want in a short-yardage situation. Yeah, he beat me across my face. He's a quicker guy. He's still got some juice to him."

Giants got nicked

As the Giants set out to salvage their season yesterday, their defensive plan had a lot to do with Michael Vick. Vick leaving the game just before halftime changed the equation, even if Eagles coach Chip Kelly insisted it didn't change his game plan.

"Him not being in there changes our game plan a little bit," Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger said. "I'm not going to say that a scrub came in and we should win - It's not so much if Vick goes out we should think we have the game in the bag. [Foles] was an efficient quarterback last season. He makes the right reads and the right calls."

Birdseed

Right after Chip Kelly touted the Eagles' sports-science ideas for limiting soft-tissue injuries, Michael Vick strained his hammy . . . The Eagles have won six of their last seven at the Giants, the only glitch being that awful end-of-the-Andy-Reid-era game that concluded the 2012 season . . . The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to pass for at least 1,200 yards and run for at least 875 in their first five games . . . The Eagles' 2,274 net yards is the highest total in franchise history through five games . . . Safety Patrick Chung was inactive with the shoulder injury that kept him out against Denver the week before . . . The Giants took 12 penalties for 136 yards . . . The Eagles outscored the Giants 14-0 in the fourth quarter, after being outscored 46-24 in their first four games. They were facing a team that has now been outscored 61-21 in the fourth.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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