What Does Marlin Jackson Signing Mean for Eagles?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jackson will immediately become the starter at FS.



Earlier today, the Eagles and defensive back Marlin Jackson agreed on a two-year deal. Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but it's probably somewhere around $7-8 million. I'd be surprised if the Birds shelled out any more than that.

Jackson will immediately be penciled in as the starter at free safety (regardless of what the Eagles say) and will only lose his job if he's absolutely atrocious. Sean McDermott saw what Macho Harris and Quintin Demps can do, and it's not a whole lot.

Many Eagles fans and outsiders alike wonder about this move, but it makes perfect sense from where I'm sitting. He played free safety during his junior year at Michigan and started about half the season as a free safety during his second season in Indianapolis.

He has had some issues with his knees, and is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL, but that actually just makes the decision to move him to safety even better.

The injuries will slow him down, but they will slow him down to the speed of a safety. Pair that with the cover abilities of a cornerback and you have exactly what the Birds are looking for.

They have wanted a guy who can play "center field," if you will, for a few years now. Brian Dawkins was never that guy, and it's the reason why Demps was drafted and why Harris was given a shot to take the job.

McDermott's defense calls for someone who can go sideline to sideline, if need be, and be able to tackle in the open field. That wasn't Demps or Harris, but it could be Jackson.

Jackson's best season came in 2007 when he started all 16 games, had half a sack, one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, five passes defended, and 112 total tackles -- 76 solo.

The number of tackles is the most impressive because it shows that he can make a tackle in the open field when he needs to. He's an instinctive and tough guy who is used to winning and will carry that mentality into a team also familiar with winning.

Jackon is certainly not the marquee name that fans were looking for, but his presence could have a significant ripple effect.

Quintin Mikell will not longer feel like he must play two positions, which will allow him to roam around the box and make plays around the line of scrimmage -- something he was unable to do last season. Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel will also feel more confident in breaking on a pattern because they known Jackson is back there to clean up any mess they leave.

The Birds still need a left defensive end who can rush the passer on a consistent basis, but signing Jackson is certainly a move in the right direction for this defense and for this team.

At the very least he adds great depth to this secondary, so it's a signing that has very little risk involved and certainly looks to pay off in the end.


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