Philadelphia Eagles News

Maclin To Return Punts If Jackson Can't Play

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has had a lot thrust upon his plate this season.

The rookie has started every game since Week 2 due to Kevin Curtis' knee injury. He's responded with 42 catches for 540 yards and four touchdowns this season. He's second among all rookies in all three categories.

Now, with DeSean Jackson's status up in the air for this Sunday's game in Atlanta, Maclin may be forced into a larger role. If Jackson can't play due to the concussion he suffered last week against Washington, Maclin said that at the very least he will shoulder Jackson's punt returner duties.

"Anytime you lose somebody who is that valuable to your offense, it's no good but at the same time other guys have to step up and make plays," Maclin said. "I think there's an opportunity for guys to step up and do that. (Jackson is) definitely a big part of what we do."

Head coach Andy Reid said on Wednesday that if Jackson can't play then Reggie Brown and Jason Avant will split the reps at the flanker (Z-receiver) position.

Jackson was injured with seven minutes left in the third quarter last Sunday. Maclin finished the game with five catches for 63 yards including two pivotal receptions on the game-winning drive. Avant led the Eagles with 94 receiving yards on five catches including two on the game-tying drive.

The Eagles proved that they could put up points without Jackson in the lineup. But Maclin, with just 11 NFL games under his belt, knows there is a lot that remains to be learned.

"There's a lot of stuff that I haven't experienced yet," Maclin said. "I think as long as I can play in this league I think I'll learn something new every day."

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 6:17 p.m., December 2

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