Reports out of the Philadelphia Eagles OTA’s this week are that beleaguered wide receiver DeSean Jackson has shown up with a much different attitude. By all accounts, Jackson has put the distractions from last year behind him and has decided that it his responsibility to take on more of a leadership role.
Last year was filled with drama for Jackson, beginning with his contract dispute to start the year and progressing to him moping around, mouthing off to the media and quite apparently not going 100% all of the time. Coming into 2012, Jackson wants to have a leadership voice in the locker room and wants to produce on a more consistent basis. He finished last year with 58 receptions for 961 yards and 4 touchdowns. In comparison, in 2010 Jackson caught 47 balls for 1,056 yards and 6 touchdowns.
The talent that Jackson possesses is undeniable. His focus, however, has been called into question on many occasions, whether it be not going full speed or taking stupid penalties after plays have ended.
While it is certainly admirable that Jackson has taken it upon himself to adopt a leadership role, the Eagles could have used him in the capacity in 2010 on a team with many new faces, both veteran free agents and rookies who were expected to contribute.
Asked whether his new contract put pressure on him to become a leader, Jackson said: “The contract is good, but me being a leader has nothing to do with the contract. I just want to set an example out here for the guys. We’ve bonded as a team. I think everybody is really stepping up and being accountable for it.”
It also appears as if D Jax has realized that his actions, both on and off the field, have a direct impact on the rest of the team. He went on to say: “Being a leader honestly, carrying the guys along with me. Stepping up and being accountable — that’s the biggest thing this team needs. Myself, Michael Vick, [Jeremy] Maclin, [LeSean] McCoy, [Brent] Celek, these guys, as far as the offense, it starts there. We have to go out there and help our defense out by keeping them off the field and scoring as many points as possible.”
At this point, Jackson is saying all of the right things. The question remains, however, will he continue to take the high road and behave in a mature manner when things aren’t going well. Right now, every team in the NFL has a shot to win the Super Bowl. How will Jackson react when the team hits a patch of adversity? It’s bound to happen at some point…especially in Philadelphia.