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Sunday November 13th, 2011

DeSean Jackson won't be in the lineup for Philly Sunday. (Howard Smith/US Presswire)

As the Eagles try to rebound from a loss to the Bears in Week 9 and continue to climb back into the playoff picture, they'll do so today against the Cardinals missing one of their most explosive offensive weapons in DeSean Jackson.

But it's not a sudden injury that will keep Jackson off the field. According to a report from the Philadelphia Daily News, the Eagles are making Jackson inactive for the contest because he missed a special teams meeting on Saturday.

This is the new low point in a disappointing season for the two-time Pro Bowler, who has been trying to get a new deal from the Eagles for two years to no avail, despite the fact that the team has given big deals to other players in that time and went on their infamous acquisition spree in the offseason. Jackson's playing under the last year of his rookie deal, which pays him about $600,000.

So far, the diminutive wideout just hasn't been the playmaker he's been in the past. He's on pace for just over 1,000 yards and four touchdowns, less than he produced last year in just 14 games. He is the best poster child for the utterly underwhelming 2011 Eagles, who seemed poised for a run after winning two in a row following a 1-4 start, only to see that momentum come to a halt against Chicago.

Coincidentally, given that a missed special teams meeting is what caused his benching, Jackson's biggest dropoff this year has been returning punts. After averaging 8.8, 15.2 and 11.6 yards per punt return in his first three years, Jackson earned the reputation for a being a game-breaker (if you don't believe me, just ask former Giants punter Matt Dodge). This year, though, he's only averaging 3.7 yards per return, and his fumbled return just before halftime Monday against the Bears led to a Chicago touchdown that put them up 17-10 at the time.

If frustration over the lack of a new deal is impacting Jackson's play (or led to him missing that meeting), all he's doing is shooting himself in the foot. His concussion history and attitude won't do anything to convince the typically stingy Eagles to cough up a substantial offer, especially with Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant waiting to rise on the depth chart.

And just in case Jackson is hoping that by sitting him, the Eagles will get a taste of what they're missing, he picked a bad week to be subordinate. The Cardinals have the 29th-ranked passing defense in the league and are allowing opposing quarterbacks to post an 87.7 rating against them. Steve Smith could take on a bigger role in Jackson's stead, and the Eagles' offense shouldn't miss a beat. -- Tom Mantzouranis

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