A major question for the Eagles moving forward, now that they have locked up DeSean Jackson long-term, is whether the receiver looked squeamish going over the middle last year because of his contract situation, or because he is permanently scarred from the Dunta Robinson hit.
The guess here is a little bit of both. There was a sequence during OTAs when Jackson seemed to instinctively dive down when a pass came into the vicinity of a defender; mind you, these were non-contact drills. Something tells me the newfound financial comfort will not be a cure-all.
Wide receivers coach David Culley disagrees.
“I have not seen that,” said Culley. “The things that happened with him last year was more due to him trying not to get hurt as opposed to being scared to go across the middle. I never saw that for 2 ½ years.”
Either way, a more invested Jackson will give Culley a major weapon back. Same goes for Jeremy Maclin now that he is past his health scare. Culley believes there is a third name to add to that list.
“Riley Cooper,” he said. “Usually between your first and second year there is a big jump in the offseason – Riley didn’t have an offseason because of the lockout. This offseason I saw what I thought would have seen from Riley last offseason.”
Some other takeaways from our session with the rest of the offensive coaches on Monday:
— QB coach Doug Pederson was high on Nick Foles and said he is exactly where he should be, and maybe even ahead of schedule. He also addressed Michael Vick’s recent comments to Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic where he vowed to change his ways and limit the hits that he takes.
“Mike understands what he needs to do. It’s kind of a fine line. Are you going to take his aggression away? No, you want him to stay aggressive and attack defenses,” said Pederson. “He also understands that he has to be available for the entire season…I think he’s on the right track.”
— Howard Mudd cleared up how Vick and Jason Kelce will split up making calls at the line:
“Jason is probably taking on more than he had before. I think Mike trusts that more than he did last year,” said Mudd. “ By that I am saying Jason now understands the scheme so he goes up and says something to declare the pattern we are going to use. Then Mike may even be thinking about something else and will ask Kelce or he will change it. The synergy is way better now because of trust. Kelce has now gone through the war and now Mike knows that Kelce is doing something now only to help us. I think that is a big deal.”
— LeSean McCoy just turned 24. Dion Lewis and Bryce Brown are 21. Chris Polk is 22. That’s a whole lot of youth handed to 68-year-old running backs coach Ted Williams.
“That might be the most unique coach in the NFL, coaching no one over the age of ,” he said. “But I understand that and because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t be good. Because you’re young, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be mentally acute to what we’re doing. Knowing that and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each kid, I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far of keeping them abreast to what’s going on.”
You can follow Tim McManus on Twitter and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.