Hours before the Eagles and Cardinals kicked off at Lincoln Financial last season, news broke that Jackson had been told to stay home by Andy Reid after showing up late to multiple Saturday meetings. The sour attitude over his contract situation had finally caught up with him, and with the team. With the receiver out of the equation and Michael Vick playing with broken ribs, the Eagles fell 21-17. One more win that season and the Eagles would have won the division. There would be a different Super Bowl champ other than the Giants.
Jackson was contrite when meeting with reporters the following day.
“Everyone knows the situation, knows the case. As a professional and as a man, you just really have to handle things.” he said. “I can admit to some things that I’ve done, that I need to better, which I think everybody at a period of time in their life figures out what it is.”
Jackson’s attitude and game have both seemingly benefited from the $51 million deal he signed in the offseason, and he has has 11 grabs for 191 yards through two games in 2012. Now here come the Cardinals again, and as it just so happens, Jeremy Maclin will be sidelined with a hip injury. They could use a little something out of the 25-year-old this time around.
“I think this is a big game for him due to the fact that he didn’t play last year and under the circumstances of what happened,” said Vick. “But it’s just another game for DeSean. I’m pretty sure he’s pumped about it and ready to go.”
While Vick spoke of the weapons he still has at his disposal, there’s little doubt that Jackson will receive even more attention with the 5-8 rookie Damaris Johnson flanked opposite him instead of Maclin.
Will his teammates see an extra-motivated No. 10 on Sunday?
“Don’t know but I really, really hope so,” said Jason Avant. “DeSean is a competitor, so I know his competitive nature will come out no matter who we are playing. And he doesn’t like to look bad on tape. I think he wants to play well, yeah.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles surprised a lot of people (Ravens players included) by deploying the no-huddle last week. Sheil explores the benefit of keeping that wrinkle in the offense.
Brandon Graham continues to impress in limited reps but is having a tough time getting love from the coaches when it comes to both reps and praise. What’s the deal?
Peter King and the national pundits weigh in with their predictions for Eagles-Cards.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic predicts a 21-20 Cardinals win, and believes Kevin Kolb will be slinging the ball a little bit today.
The Cardinals played conservatively on offense last week. Their mantra was to take care of the ball and be patient. That will change this week. Not that the Cardinals will turn to a no-huddle, hurry-up attack the whole game, but they will be challenged in the passing game. The Eagles will play some man coverage, and quarterback Kevin Kolb is going to have to be on target.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network looks at the “heart and soul” of the Eagles defense, DeMeco Ryans.
“We add a guy like DeMeco Ryans, he’s a leader, man,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “He’s doing a lot of talking. If he sees people not really into it, he’ll slap them in the head, get people into it. I think he brought a new energy to the team. I can feel that.”
The player they call “DRC,” who mentioned Ryans has been putting everyone in the right position, isn’t alone. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo had a simple response when asked to quantify Ryans’ impact: “Leadership. I mean, heart and soul, man.”
Kickoff at 4:05 (et). Sheil and I will be chatting live in-game. Make sure you check in.