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December 17 Philadelphia Daily News:
DeSean Jackson practiced yesterday depends on how you define “practice.” Officially, Jackson didn’t work 11-on-11, so he went down on the Eagles’ report to the NFL as not having practiced, even though reporters saw him run patterns (seven-on-seven) and catch Michael Vick passes from formations for more than half an hour.
Before practice, Jackson said he will play Sunday against the Giants despite the foot injury he suffered in Dallas.
“I’ll be ready for Sunday,” Jackson said. “Can’t let my team go out there without me.”
The practice situation was much harder to decipher than Jackson’s message to people who have criticized his backward plunge into the Dallas end zone, which drew a 15-yard penalty. Jackson said he doesn’t agree with the criticism or the call – even if one of the critics was quarterback Michael Vick, who said after the game he thought the dive was “unnecessary.”
“Everybody’s not going to like it,” Jackson said. “I could care less about who likes it and who doesn’t. I do it because it’s entertainment. That’s the type of business we’re in, entertainment. The fans like it. Everybody else, like I say, you wanna talk bad about it, that’s your opinion, I could care less. That’s his own opinion. He’s his own man. I’m my own man. I coulda just wished I didn’t get penalized for it, to hurt my team, but as far as me doing my celebrations, doing my entertainment, that’s going to be me and I’ll still do that.”
Jackson said he didn’t think he should have been penalized, since players routinely perform forward dives into the end zone without drawing flags.
Jackson was asked if it is hard to put his desire for a new contract aside during the season.
“Not necessarily,” he said. “I know what I’m worth . . . it’s not going to get in the way of anything. At times, things get in the way, but as a professional, you have to put that aside and just go out there and play football. That’s what I’m going to do. But at the end of the day I’m just going to be myself and I’m not going to change for no one.”
December 17 Camden Courier-Post:
“The rocky rookie season of Brandon Graham was cut short when the No. 1 pick suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Eagles‘ 30-27 win at Dallas Sunday.
Graham, who earned a starting job at left defensive end on opening day but was replaced after a month on the first unit, will go under the knife Tuesday.
On Thursday, standing with crutches outside the locker room, Graham said he never had a major injury before and is confident he will be ready for the 2011 campaign.
“I know I will be back before the start of next season,” Graham said.
The Eagles were very high on the former University of Michigan second-team All-American, trading up 11 spots in the draft to choose the 6-foot-2, 268-pound pass-rushing specialist with the 13th overall pick.
Graham didn’t disappoint early and joined safety Nate Allen to become the first pair of rookies to start opening day on defense since safety Wes Hopkins and linebacker Jody Schutz in 1983.
However, veteran Juqua Parker replaced Graham in the starting lineup in Week 5.
Despite the uneven performance this season, Graham was optimistic for a strong finish.
“I just had a meeting with coaches before the game and they were telling me I had to turn it up a bit for the playoffs because they are going to need me,” Graham said about the Dallas game. “The coaches made me feel a whole lot better.”
December 17 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch:
“LIKE MOST college tight ends in this age of spread formations, Clay Harbor wasn’t asked to block a whole lot during his career at Missouri State.
“I can honestly say I had never pass-blocked [before getting drafted by the Eagles],” the rookie fourth-rounder said. “I was the team’s leading receiver and never, ever, throughout my 4 years, was on any kind of pass-block. I didn’t start working on it until I got here.”
The guy has turned out to be a pretty quick learner. Because there he was Sunday night, playing a key role in the Eagles‘ 30-27 win over the Cowboys, not with his pass-catching – he didn’t have any receptions in the game and has only three all season – but with his blocking.
He became Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware’s worst nightmare on the Eagles‘ final two possessions as they scored to take a 10-point lead, then played keep-away for the game’s final 4 1/2 minutes.
The Eagles spent most of those two possessions essentially running the same play – a zone run with running back LeSean McCoy out of a one-back, two-tight end set.
Harbor would line up on a wing on the same side of the formation as the Eagles‘ other tight end, Brent Celek, about 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage, come across the formation after the ball was snapped and take out Ware, one of the best pass-rushers in the game. While he was doing that, the tackle and guard would block down on the end, creating a hole for McCoy.
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