As the Eagles wrapped up the last of their offseason practices today, DeSean Jackson looked ahead to a season that will be critical for the future of the franchise and several of its players.
After adding significant talent each of the past two offseasons, expectations and hopes are high, but so could be the consequences if there is another disappointment after last season's 8-8 finish.
"As far as a team, coming together and working as one, I think that’s what the mindset is. It's a common goal that we all have and we know how crucial this year is for us," Jackson said. He didn't want to look back on last year but said, "we have to live with what’s in front of us and what’s at stake. I think everybody understands that."
Jackson and the rest of the Eagles are off until rookies report to training camp July 22, followed by veterans July 25. He said the team has already worked hard this offseason.
"As long as we’re doing that and I’m doing that ... I think at the end of the year we’ll be the last team standing," Jackson said. He later added, "I think it’s a special team for us this year."
Jackson was asked if he would be willing to return punts, and said he would if he is asked, though the team has several rookies they are looking at for the job, including fourth-round pick Brandon Boykin.
"Whatever it is that they need me to do, that’s what I’ll do," Jackson said.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the team's first round pick, was back after missing two practices while attending the funeral of his cousin, Melvin Baker, in Yazoo City, Miss. Baker, who was 21, grew up in the same city as Cox and the two were very close.
"We grew up and did everything together," Cox said. "When I ate, he ate."
Baker was killed Friday in a car accident. He had two children, Cox said.
"He touched a lot of people," he said.
Cox will now return to Mississippi to be with his family again, but said the day of practice helped take his mind off the sad events.
"Just being back out here with the team and everybody just smiling and just getting back in it, I’m a type of guy, I like to smile and I like to have a lot of fun. Even when I went around his mom, the first thing we did was just smile at each other."
Cox on contract: no problems
Cox, the only unsigned Eagles draft pick, said he hopes to have his contract ironed out "soon," but couldn't get more specific than that.
"It won't be a problem," he said when asked if he had any concern about being signed by training camp.
-- The Eagles spent much of the day working on their red zone plays. Mike Vick was sharp, zipping the ball in to tight windows and hitting a variety of targets.
-- Nnamdi Asomugha also looked quick, breaking off of his man several times to close in on a running back who had caught a short pass underneath him.
-- DeMeco Ryans broke up a Vick pass over the middle, then dropped for push-ups because he didn't intercept it.
-- Most of the reviews of rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks have been positive -- and with good reason -- but we saw one potential weakness exploited today. He had tight coverage on Brent Celek at the goal line but Vick threw a pass high and to the outside and the 6-4 tight end easily grabbed it in front of the 5-11 linebacker. Kendricks has been asked about his height repeatedly and has repeatedly said he is confident and that it shouldn't be a concern. But it remains something to watch for the player who looks like he is in line to start at SAM.
-- Defensive end Vinny Curry (ankle) was out again.