DeSean Jackson is eager to Chip in
NEW ORLEANS - DeSean Jackson expects to be on the move in Chip Kelly's Eagles offense.
Jackson, who was making the Super Bowl media rounds Friday, doesn't have the whole picture, he said, from his phone conversations with his new Eagles coach, but he does have a basic idea of how he fits in, with an innovator known for his zone-read work at Oregon.
"Misdirections, man. Motion me around, keeping the defenses off-guard," Jackson said. "Talking on the phone with him, he's very excited to get his hands on me."
Jackson feels he has a prototype of sorts in Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas, whom Jackson knows from Los Angeles, where they both grew up. Thomas, also a track star, is a 5-9, 173-pound lightning bolt who opened the Fiesta Bowl last month with a kickoff-return touchdown.
"I think [Kelly's] offenses are very dynamic. De'Anthony Thomas, 'Black Mamba,' he's actually like a little brother," Jackson said. "He's been kind of telling me some things about how I should be excited, moving me around throughout the offense, get the ball in my hands . . . I'm very excited, and I'm ready for it."
Of course, one problem with using Jackson in a lot of different ways is that he weighs about 170 pounds, and in the NFL, that places limitations. Jackson suffered his season-ending chest injury in November when Andy Reid was trying to do something innovative, using Jackson on an end-around.
Jackson said Friday he is "98 percent healthy" and plans to start working out after the Super Bowl.
Jackson said Kelly told him he'd been "watching me play against him at Oregon [for Cal], watching my career throughout the process."
Jackson did not seem to be deep in mourning for the departure of Reid and Marty Mornhinweg.
"Honest, I'm excited for the change," he said. "Last year was a tough year for our team. I wish the best to coach Reid as well. At the same time, this is going to be a big year for us."
The month that has elapsed since the Birds' 4-12 season ended has not given him any more insight into how a talented team unraveled, Jackson said.
"In my career, I've never faced anything like that before. It was a tough situation," he said. Jackson said he felt "blessed to have the opportunity to start anew."
Jackson said he didn't have any inside information on the quarterbacking situation. When a reporter joked that Kelly might have Jackson run the zone read option, Jackson didn't seem to think that would be terribly outlandish. He said he could envision success with Michael Vick, should he be retained.
"With the style of offense Chip Kelly has, I think that would definitely suit him, but we have two good quarterbacks," Jackson said.
Normally, the opposing Super Bowl coaches do Friday news conferences, one after the other at the media center, the final media event with either team before the game on Sunday.
This Friday was different, and it highlighted the way in which this Super Bowl is different from any of the previous 46. Ravens coach John Harbaugh, in suit and tie, sat in a folding chair on a stage a few feet from his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who was dressed in 49ers practice gear. A table adorned with a Ravens helmet and a 49ers helmet sat in front of them. Beyond that were several hundred reporters.
One more time, the brothers discussed what they've been asked about all week, in their separate sessions - growing up together, how they're alike, how they're different. Their parents, Jack and Jackie, watched from the wings, along with a 97-year-old grandfather, Joe Cipiti.
They were funny and engaging. They did a little bit on questions asked of both of them in which one brother would answer at length, and the other would say, "I concur."
But underneath the banter, there was discomfort. As great a story as the first brother vs. brother-led Super Bowl is, both coaches would rather the game not be so much about the Harbaughs as about the players.
As John Harbaugh said, in answering a question about things the brothers have said to one another over the past few years that might have unwittingly provided one with an edge: "It's going to be the guys out there on the field, faces marred with blood and sweat and dust, those'll be the guys who will determine the outcome of this game; nothing that we talked about over the last couple of years is going to determine the outcome."
Before that, in response to a different question, Jim said: "The way the players have played, that's why we're here, not because of any coaching decisions, or what we did as kids."
They reminisced about building a hockey goal out of chicken wire and shooting the windows out of the garage, drawing their mother's ire, in talking about what they'd learned from her.
"She made it very clear we were to have each others' backs," John said.
"She's always believed in us," Jim said.
They ended up sharing the Saints' practice facility this week, after a converted Tulane baseball field with artificial turf didn't turn out to be satisfactory to the Ravens. The logistics of such a maneuver might have been hard to work out between coaches who weren't brothers.
They were asked if they thought they might ever work together, on the same staff.
"Definitely, I would work for him," Jim said.
"I concur," John joked, then gave a serious answer.
"No question about it, and we've had that conversation in the past. It just never worked out timingwise. I'd love to work for Jim, I'd love it. It would be the greatest thing in the world. We almost made it happen at Stanford at one time . . . You always try to get great coaches, and there are none better than Jim Harbaugh, and I mean that seriously."
They were asked about Jay Harbaugh, Jim's oldest of six children, who worked for the Ravens this season as a coaching intern, helping the strength coach.
"I'm really proud of what he's doing," Jim said. He said he had not spoken with Jay this week, to keep anyone from suggesting they were sharing information.
"I think that may well tip the scale, that might be our edge - Jay," John joked.