Playing without a speed dimension on the outside restricted the Eagles offense last year. After importing Jackson back to where his career started, Philly now boasts a threat that will put defenses in a pickle.
"We haven't had a player like him since he left," veteran tight end Zach Ertz said, via the Associated Press. "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."
According to both Jackson and Wentz, their connection is off to a great start.
"He knows when I'm going to break or when he's dropping back, I know where the ball is going to be," Jackson said. "And we spent a lot of time back in the spring just trying to get together, connect and just working out, just bonding off the field. That's important as well, too. We spend so much time here, but as long as you can get off the field sometimes and not have the playbook involved, just having conversations about life and in general just to try to build."
Added Wentz of their chemistry: "Every day, it grows. Whether it's on the field and you can actually see it with live reps or after practice, off the side in between reps and team drills, we're talking, watching film. Chemistry grows in a million different ways, so to get those opportunities on the field, you see it and it's exciting."
Jackson returned to Philly after spending his first six years with the Eagles -- at which point then-coach Chip Kelly unceremoniously dumped the speedy wideout. Jackson's speed can change how defenses approach blanketing the Eagles. Of his 53 career TD catches, 29 have gone for 50-plus-yards (only Jerry Rice has more 50-plus yard TDs with 36). Last season in Tampa Bay, Jackson averaged 19.1 air yards per target, most in the NFL (min. 50 targets), per Next Gen Stats.
"It's different playing with a guy like him and it's definitely exciting at the same time and that's why it just takes a lot of communication," Wentz said. "But I feel really good. I feel in a really good spot with him and I think we're just going to keep building.
As we press toward preseason, when games actually start counting, the rapport between Wentz and Jackson should continue to coalesce. In an offense that boasts plenty of playmakers at every level, the home run-hitting Jackson could be Wentz's biggest weapon of all in 2019.