Part 1 of a 10 Part Series
The Philadelphia Eagles record setting scoring output this past season featured a few strong individual contributions. Consequently, it had me looking for some historical perspective to see how those stat lines compared with other Eagles players through the years.
Specifically, Brent Celek followed up a strong finish in 2008 with a breakout year in 2009. Although he remains the subject of hot debate and speculation about his future, Donovan McNabb compiled some impressive numbers in an injury abbreviated season. And, second year receiver DeSean Jackson burst into the national spotlight with a highlight filled campaign.
In order to provide some backdrop to better appreciate the 2009 performance of these players, I took a look through the archives at other noteworthy seasonal feats by Eagles players. I have picked out the very best individual seasons and ranked them in order.
Knowing my audience here, I limited this review to the "Gen X" period, which roughly coincides with the Super Bowl era. This time frame seems to provide the best measuring stick due to rules comparability, equipment likeness, economic equivalency and the overall similarities in style of play....plus it simply stays within the confines of most readers' memory banks.
With no offense intended for those who beckon back to the days of "Concrete Charlie" and Norm Van Brocklin, here is this author's "Top 10 Individual Offensive Seasons" in the "Gen X" period:
10 DeSean Jackson 2009/ Ricky Watters 1996 (Tie)
Several Eagles players had seasons worthy of the no. 10 spot in my rankings, but these two players share the honor due to their multi-dimensional skills. DeSean Jackson showed flashes of his great potential in his 2008 rookie campaign, but raised his game to an entirely different level in his sophomore season.
Jackson grabbed 63 passes for a total of 1,167 yards– and an NFC best 18.5 yards per catch. The electrifying receiver was also handed the ball 11 times, which paid off in 137 rushing yards, including a 67-yard touchdown sprint. DeSean also led the NFC in punt returns with a 15.2 average and two additional TD's to give him a total of 12.
Before "for who, for what-ing" his way out of town after the 1997 season, Ricky Watters contributed three impressive seasons in an Eagles uniform. Unfortunately, part of the impression was that of a player less concerned about the team than himself.
Whether there is basis to that perception or not, few can deny that Watters also made large contributions as a dual offensive threat. He was a work horse running back (who never got the ball enough in his own estimation) as well as a solid receiver out of the backfield.
In 1996, Ricky racked up 1,411 yards rushing and another 444 yards receiving on his way to crossing the goal line 13 times. His combined total of 1,855 yards ranks 5th all-time in Eagles history.
Jackson Rushing: 11-137 yards, 12.5 Avg, 1 TD
Receiving: 63-1,167 yards, 18.5 Avg, 9 TD
Scrimmage Yards: 1,304 yards, 10 TD
Punt Returns: 29-441, 15.2 Avg, 2 TD
Watters Rushing: 353-1,411 yards, 4.0 Avg, 13 TD
Receiving: 51-444 yards, 8.7 Avg, 0 TD
Scrimmage Yards: 1,855 yards, 13 TD