DeSean Jackson is coming off a couple of lackluster seasons. 2011 was largely affected by his obsession with a new deal (actually the lack of a new deal). His numbers in 2012 were actually hurt by the erratic play of Mike Vick. No matter how you slice it, Jackson wasn’t producing as hoped.
What can we expect in 2013? That is a big question, for DJax and the Eagles. At his best, Jackson can be an impact player. He has game-changing speed. The problem is that the guy we saw from 2008-2010 just hasn’t been around enough in the last 2 years. Instead of progressing, he flat-lined. I do think part of that was scheme. The coaches fell in love with deep routes and sent Jackson streaking down the field a lot.
Chip Kelly has high hopes for Jackson. That said, Jackson isn’t going to be given anything. Like everyone else on the roster, he must play well and earn his starting role. Recently Jackson found himself running with the 2nd and even 3rd team. This could have been a message from Kelly. More likely it was the doing of WRs coach Bob Bicknell. Whether Bicknell meant it as a message or was simply rewarding other players or experimenting with combinations is irrelevant. The move got Jackson’s attention.
He went and met with Kelly to discuss the situation. Tim McManus broke the story and got some good details from Jackson.
“I think one of the biggest reasons was the offense was kind of new to myself and I never really had to learn every position in the offense [under Andy Reid],” said Jackson. “At the beginning of the process I didn’t know the full offense and I didn’t know every play, so that probably had to do with why I was moved to different teams and things like that. Now I am all-in on the offense and I’m very familiar with the whole system. It’s a good thing that I am able to learn that and know what everyone is doing instead of one person.”
The 26-year-old admits that it’s been an adjustment going from Reid to Kelly. Jackson, a six-year veteran, said he is being asked to do certain things that he hasn’t done since college. From all the sports science to the radical tempo change, there is a new-wave approach that can take some getting used to.
If Jackson will truly embrace Kelly and the new offense, the results can be great. The offense was in a rut in previous years, which was partly tied to sending Jackson deep over and over. Kelly is going to be different. He wants quicker passes, with some deep throws mixed in. Jackson has the potential to thrive, but he must fully buy-in.
I do think it is a good sign that Jackson went and met with Kelly. He could have sulked. He could have complained to the media. Instead he took the right approach and dealt with the issue. Kelly isn’t going to coddle players, but I don’t get the feeling he’s going to be a Parcells type that plays mind games either. Chip says here is what is expected of you. Do this and you’ll be fine. DJax now knows what is expected of him and seems to be meeting the expectations.
DeSean has so much more potential than what we’ve seen in the last couple of years. It would be great to see him find a role that allows him to be a playmaker and not just a threat. As good as Jackson is, he has scored a total of 6 TDs in the last 2 seasons. In the previous 2 years, Jackson scored 20 TDs, as a runner, receiver and returner. We need that player to re-emerge.
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Reuben Frank has a story on Jackson that is a bit less fun to read. Jackson recently parted ways with agent Drew Rosenhaus. Now Rosenhaus is seeking more than $400,000 from Jackson. This is money that Rosenhaus loaned to Jackson.
Jackson has to deal with this and find a new agent. Hopefully these off-field issues won’t affect his play.
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Tim McManus wrote a very good article on Kenny Phillips and the situation with his knee. You can see from this piece just how difficult it is to deal with the situation.
Phillips is trying to be cautious so that he doesn’t hurt the knee. There is no injury or setback. He’s trying to prevent that from happening by resting at times.
The Eagles are being patient with Phillips, but also have to be bothered a bit. If you can’t count on the guy, how do you fit him in?
Oddly, the offseason is the worst. There are regular practices and workouts. During the season, things are more limited due to the grind of playing in full games. It is possible that if Phillips could get through the grind of the summer, he could be okay for the season.
Keep your fingers crossed, but don’t count on anything.
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• One thing I forgot to note yesterday during my post-practice recap was Antonio Dixon, who I had a chance to speak with yesterday. In previous recaps I had noted that Dixon looks far better than he did last year. Dixon said he currently weighs 326, and wants to be down to 322 by the start of training camp. He said that at this time last year, he was right around 350.
Dixon looks worlds better than the last 2 summers. I definitely can’t wait to see him with the pads on.