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Contract cloud hangs over Eagles’ Jackson
December 2 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“DeSean Jackson is worried about getting a contract extension and allowing the situation to be a distraction, according to sources close to the Eagles wide receiver.
Jackson’s preoccupation with negotiating a new deal and getting paid has been spurred by his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, the sources said. One of the manifestations of that, they say, is that Jackson spends an inordinate amount of time texting with Rosenhaus during the Eagles‘ workday.
The Eagles say they are aware of Jackson’s increasing anxiety and have attempted to manage the unhappy receiver. Coach Andy Reid has said he is pleased with Jackson’s work ethic and performance and considers him a key part of the team’s future.
But the disconnect between player and team was brought into focus Sunday in Chicago when Jackson declined to field practice punts before the game against the Bears, and Reid disciplined the 24-year-old after the bitter loss.
Jackson, who has avoided questions about his finances for most of the season, was asked on Tuesday if his contract had anything to do with his recent state of mind.
“That has nothing to do with anything,” he said.
Sources close to Jackson, however, paint a different picture – one of a young star receiver who believes he has outperformed his original contract and is increasingly under the sway of the controversial Rosenhaus. The agent, one source said, has continually stressed to Jackson the importance of padding his receiving statistics, pointing out that lower numbers will be used against him in negotiations with the Eagles.
Jason Rosenhaus, Drew’s brother and business partner, said that neither he nor the agent would comment on the issue.
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December 2 Camden Courier-Post:
“DeSean Jackson isn’t causing disturbances around the NovaCare Complex, two sources said Wednesday in refuting another published report.
Jackson is hoping for a new deal but has said that he understands that the uncapped season has complicated extensions, especially for players who aren’t first-round picks. Tuesday, he told reporters that his contract situation isn’t the source of any frustration.
There is no new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place between the owners and the players’ association and there is uncertainty of an NFL season taking place in 2011.
One team source said the Eagles haven’t made any decisions about the star receiver’s future except that now isn’t the best time for negotiations.
Jackson, a 2008 second-round pick, is in the third year of a four-year deal worth $3.46 million.
After Sunday’s 31-26 loss to Chicago at Soldier Field, Jackson was visibly upset in the locker room and was consoled by several teammates. He was targeted by head coach Andy Reid in a post-game tirade but has said since that he and Reid are fine.”
Eagles’ run-pass ratio remains an issue
December 2 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The Eagles spent the short work week running from practice to meeting back to practice and, well, back to meeting again in the short span between Sunday’s loss to the Bears and Thursday’s game against Houston.
All that scurrying around at the NovaCare Complex was enough to make one think that Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg would formulate a game plan that favors the run.
Insert obligatory Eagles run-pass ratio joke here.
OK, so Reid and his offensive coordinator are unlikely to serve a steady stream of Power-I against the second-to-worst pass defense in the NFL. The Eagles pass to get ahead and then, only with a comfortable margin, do they attempt to drain the clock and run the football down a defense’s esophagus.
It’s worked pretty well to this point. The Eagles are 7-4 and have the No. 2-ranked offense in the NFL.
But if they fall behind early, as they did against Chicago, then even the best-laid run schemes will go awry. The Eagles actually intended to establish the run on their first two plays from scrimmage against the Bears.
“Coach was like, ‘OK, we’re going to smack them in the mouth,’ ” Eagles guard Todd Herremans said. “But as soon as we came out . . . after that first series and we didn’t get the production that I wanted to on those first two plays I was thinking, ‘Man, I hope we stick to it because I know that we can get it right.’ ”
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December 2 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch:
“CONSIDERING THAT his defense gave up 31 points to a Bears offense that had been averaging 19, and considering that it managed to make Jay Cutler look like the second coming of Joe Montana, some of you might have been a little taken aback by the fact that Andy Reid spent most of his postgame news conference Sunday bemoaning his offense’s inept performance in the red zone in the Eagles‘ 31-26 loss to the Bears.
Some of that, a lot of that, is the fact that Reid is an offensive coach, and like most offensive coaches, he tends to see most games through offensive eyes. Whether the final score is 7-6 or 65-64, he’s usually going to feel that the reason his team lost was because it didn’t score enough points.
He never has felt more strongly about that, though, than this year. With a young, unpredictable defense that leads the league in takeaways, but also has been gashed for 27 or more points five times in 11 games, Reid knows that if the Eagles are going to get to the playoffs this season, his offense is going to have to lead the way.
Which means maximizing every scoring opportunity. Which means a lot more touchdowns and a lot less David Akers.
The Eagles are tied for second in the league in scoring through 11 games. They’re currently averaging 28.2 points per game, which is 4.0 points a game more than they averaged in 2004 when they went to the Super Bowl. They’re on pace to score 451 points this season, which would be a franchise record, but that still might not be enough to get them to the playoffs if Sean McDermott’s defense doesn’t stop playing Santa Claus.
December 2 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Les Bowen:
“DEVASTATING late-November loss, huge controversy erupting over the head coach embarrassing a star player. Lots of fallout and off-field drama, while the Eagles tried to regroup for another game in just 4 days, which they would play without top corner Asante Samuel.
That was the situation a little more than 2 years ago, when the Birds welcomed the Arizona Cardinals to Lincoln Financial Field, the last time before tonight that the Eagles played a Thursday night game. What happened? Why, a 48-20 victory, of course, over a team that would later beat the Birds in the NFC Championship Game.
“We had an attitude after we got our butts whipped” 36-7 in Baltimore, with Donovan McNabb benched at halftime, strong safety Quintin Mikell recalled this week as he and his teammates prepared for tonight’s game against the Houston Texans. “It’s really crazy how this week, it really feels almost the same as what happened that week.”
Of course, McNabb is gone now; wideout DeSean Jackson is the guy in the spotlight, Andy Reid’s target after Sunday’s loss in Chicago, the man being asked uncomfortable questions about his treatment and his role in the offense. If Jackson responds the way McNabb responded back then, all will be well; McNabb, who had authored seven turnovers in his previous seven quarters of play, committed none that night while going 27-for-39 for 260 yards, four touchdowns and a 121.7 passer rating.
December 2 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Ford:
“The number on the board at the meetings for the Eagles‘ defense is always the same. It is the number Jim Johnson put up there, and it is the number Sean McDermott still circles for his players to consider.
The number is 17, and it has been an elusive one for the Eagles‘ defense to master this season. Hold the opposition to 17 or fewer points and you’ve done the job. Give up more than that and, regardless of what the Eagles‘ offense is doing that day, the team has been put in jeopardy of losing.
On Sunday, when the defense dragged itself into the Soldier Field locker room at halftime, having just allowed an emotion-sapping touchdown to give Chicago a 21-13 lead, the number was still on the greaseboard, and it sneered at them.
“We knew we’d failed already, and that’s not a good reflection on what we’re trying to build as a defense,” defensive end Brandon Graham said. “That was a setback, but now we’re going to rebuild for this week.”
The rebuilding was done by a construction crew working overtime to prepare for Thursday night’s NFL Network special against the Houston Texans. It was done with only minimal help from cornerback Asante Samuel, whose injured knee makes him questionable for service against Houston.
If the Eagles are without Samuel, the defensive job gets a lot tougher, but there have been issues all season regardless of who is on the field and regardless of the opponent. The three times the Eagles have allowed 30 or more points, the opposition quarterbacks were Shaun Hill, Kerry Collins, and Jay Cutler. Two of their more successful efforts came against Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning. So, for this season, it isn’t whom they play, but how they play.
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