Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson is building on his dominant rookie season.
Les Bowen, Daily News Staff Writer
DeSean Jackson came to camp this season with very little to prove.
Yet, he's probably been the best player on the field, certainly the most noticeable, in the first week-and-a-half at Lehigh.
Quarterback Kevin Kolb talked Wednesday about how Jackson's desire to be one of the league's best propels the skinny little wideout, who seems to relish facing off 1-on-1 with Pro Bowl corner Asante Samuel. Samuel and Jackson jaw at one another constantly, taunting and baiting.
Jackson caught 62 passes for 912 yards last season. Conventional wisdom holds that the way the Eagles like to spread the ball around, and throw to their running backs, it's hard for a wideout to really put up big numbers. Only one guy has done that, in the Andy Reid era, and that receiver's tenure here ended abruptly in November 2005. He lives in Buffalo now.
Jackson might be good enough to make the Birds bend the offense his way a little.
"I'm not calling the plays and I'm not scheming anything up, but as many balls come my way, that's as many balls as I'm going to catch," Jackson said Thursday. "The biggest thing is being consistent. That's what I'm doing through this camp ... working hard, putting the work in. There's no substitute for the hard work you put in."
One of the reasons Jackson was available with the 49th pick in the 2008 draft was that scouting reports did not emphasize hard work as his forte. Either those reports were wrong, or Jackson has grown up a lot since becoming a pro.
"People have their opinions on certain things. That's something I can't control," Jackson said. "I'm very comfortable and confident in my work ethic."
(a compilation of hits and a few misses from Thursday's morning session.)
*Play of the day had to be safety Sean Jones' end zone pick. One play after breaking up a two-minute-drill goalline pass from Donovan McNabb to Kevin Curtis, Jones was covering Jason Avant. McNabb -- who looks very sharp -- threaded the ball through bodies to Avant, who seemed to juggle it briefly. Jones took it off Avant's pads for a drive-killing end zone interception.
"It was a good play. he did like a little slant on me," Jones said. "The ball was kind of in there first, but I kind of knocked it out, when I was up in the air there. We needed it; that was a big play for us, ending the two-minute drill."
Jones said the defenders checked out of a blitz that would have left Avant uncovered. "I came out of (the blitz) because of the personnel that were in," he said.
*Earlier, the offense won a ball that could have gone to the defense -- in 7-on-7, Joe Mays had a McNabb pass on his fingertips, but Avant snatched it and took off.
*Another figtht today, defensive tackle Willie Williams vs. offensive lineman Mike Gibson. Not surprisingly, the prime antagonists always seem to be guys scrapping for roster spots.
*Mays chased down and smothered LeSean McCoy on a dumpoff, then a screen, one to each side of the field, on back-to-back plays.
*With his fellow defenders yelling "Watch that screen!" Darren Howard snuffed a screen to Lorenzo Booker, catching Booker from behind just after he caught the ball.
*Kevin Kolb hung up a bomb to Jeremy Maclin, allowing Quintin Demps to get under it, outjump Maclin and knock the ball away.