Jeremy Maclin might have hit the rookie wall a bit by the end of his first season in Philadelphia, but it was otherwise an unquestioned success. Although many people believed that he might need a "redshirt" season of sorts, biding his time as the third or fourth option as a rookie while learning how to run NFL routes, Maclin entered the starting lineup for good in Week Two and became a great complement to DeSean Jackson, helping draw away double coverage.
Maclin told PFW he thought the whole argument about him not being able to adjust from Missouri's spread offense to the Eagles' West Coast system was a lot of hogwash.
"You can't fault somebody for not playing in a pro-style offense," Maclin said. "I think the thing you can say is, he just hasn't done it, not that he can't do it. And it's the job of the receiver to go out there and prove the (doubters) wrong."
That he did, showing very good consistency throughout the season, even as he battled a few injuries. And though Maclin said he wore down a little bit by season's end, his play didn't drop off noticeably, catching a 72-yard TD pass early in the playoff loss to the Cowboys.
"I (hit the wall) a little bit, man, but I was sitting at home watching those playoffs games, and I would much rather be playing than sitting at home," Maclin said.
He has entered the offseason program trying to maintain his conditioning and strength better, which was partly to blame, but he thinks the aggressiveness of the Eagles' program will be a big benefit.
Maclin exited his rookie season not thinking he had to improve one element of his game more than another. He merely hopes to improve every element — running crisper routes, understanding defenses, learning how to set up defenders and plenty more — heading into Year Two.
One part of his game that could get more work is on special teams. A standout returner at Mizzou, Maclin had only six punt returns and seven kickoffs, but he thinks he'll have a chance to do more in that area. Certainly, he wants that opportunity.
"It's definitely something that, I think, makes me, me," Maclin said. "I think I can definitely help in the return game. You know, though, DeSean Jackson probably is the best punt returner in the league. You can't argue with that. All I can do is sit there and whenever the opportunity arises, I just go out there and do my thing. I had a few good punt returns last year, so I hope to get the chance to do it more."
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