Wentz-DeSean Jackson connection receiving hype


Offseason workouts in shorts can lead to a trove of overhyped reactions on players who will be warming benches come winter. In some cases, however, they can spotlight a budding relationship to monitor as the months warm to a crescendo and fall towards football.

One example is DeSean Jackson's return to Philadelphia. Early in OTAs, the speedy receiver's connection with quarterback Carson Wentz is sparking bubbling optimism from the local reporter heard.

Let's take a gander at some headlines from one of this country's most skeptical cities:

Philly Daily News: "Eagles' Carson Wentz-to-DeSean Jackson connection is strong during OTAs"
The Athletic: "Eagles practice observations: DeSean Jackson dominates OTA, as he should"
PhillyVoice: "Eagles OTA observations: Carson Wentz quickly developing rapport with DeSean Jackson"
Eagles official website: "The right fit: Jackson, teammates revel with No. 10 on field"
Bleeding Green Nation: "Eagles OTA Practice Notes: The Carson Wentz to DeSean Jackson connection is looking good"

A slight headline creativity might need to be injected into the elixir in Eastern Pennsylvania, but the bluntness hits you in the face: The Jackson-Wentz connection has the chance to be explosive in 2019.

Wentz is the perfect quarterback for Jackson's skill set, with the ability to drive the ball deep and fit it into tight sideline windows. We saw early last season in Tampa Bay when Ryan Fitzpatrick showed that Jackson can still be a threat with a quarterback willing and able to hit him in stride.

Jackson not only brings a needed field-stretching element to the Eagles' offense that was missing last season, he's also more mature and wiser than his previous iteration in Philly.

"It's good to be an addition to what they've already got," Jackson said, via the team's official website. "I'm just happy to be an addition to whatever it is that they need or that I need. Let's make it happen. I'm ready to get back into it ... When I was here, I was young the first time around. Leaving and really stepping up and being a pro and taking my job seriously -- not to say I didn't take it seriously before -- but it took time to grow and just to learn. And where I'm at now, I'm seen a lot, I've been through a lot, so I have a lot to give back to the young guys. I have a lot to offer."

Eagles teammates see how much the speedy veteran can bring to the offense.

"D-Jack makes the quarterback's job easy," tight end Zach Ertz said. "He's a special, special player. We haven't had a player like him since he left six years ago. I couldn't tell you how excited I am to have him back. I couldn't tell you how much he's changed too in the past six years, just his approach to the game. He's such a good player. He can do anything he wants at the receiver position. There's no route he can't run, no play you don't want to get him involved in. Defenses just have to know where he is every play or it's going to be a 70-yard touchdown. He just makes everyone else's job so much easier. I couldn't be more thrilled to have him back.

"He's so complementary to my game. I'm the guy that's living between the numbers and he's the guy that's taking the top off the defense. I feel like we complement each other really well. The safeties, they cannot focus on me every snap like they typically do. If they do, DeSean's going to take a 75-yard touchdown pass. He's not a guy that needs the ball each and every play. He's a guy that the defense has to respect each and every play. If you don't respect DeSean, he's going to go off for 200 yards on three catches."

Jackson's ability to go off, even at 32, will keep defenses honest deep and open the underneath routes for the rest of the offense. It was an element Philly struggled to replicate last season. So far, the early returns on bringing D-Jax back to Philly seems to be going swimmingly.