DeSean Jackson is quietly having his finest season in the NFL.
The breathtaking plays have been few and far between, but that hasn't necessarily been the fault of the Pro Bowl wide receiver. The Eagles offense has sputtered for most of the first six games, partly because of a banged up offensive line, mostly because of Michael Vick and the unit's 17 turnovers, and entirely because there hasn't been cohesion.
Jackson said that he thinks the offense is poised to turn things around Sunday when the Eagles host the 6-0 Falcons.
"This year it's been an uphill battle. We've been shooting ourselves in the foot -- doing good, having so much success and then turning the ball over," Jackson told The Inquirer Friday. "This week after a bye week we usually come back and play well and go on a hot streak. Hopefully, all the bad stuff is out of us -- the turnovers and all the other nonsense."
The Eagles under Andy Reid are 13-0 the week after the bye. For most of those seasons, the coach had an explosive offense to rely on. The Eagles finished in the top 12 in scoring in ten of Reid's 13 previous seasons. This season, though, the Birds are averaging a third-worst-in-the-NFL 17.2 points a game.
Jackson has only one touchdown this season, but he's getting open and, most important, he's making the catches. He doesn't have one drop and has 29 catches for 465 yards, numbers that would project to a career-best 77 receptions for 1,240 yards.
"Honestly, I'm just on path to do what I neesd to do and continue to help this team anyway possible," Jackson said. "I think that's been a big focus for me this year, and, really, every year since I've been here. In regards to my stats, it's still disappointing to have a record of 3-3.
"I just try to carry over my energy and help the other guys on the team and let them feed off of that by making big plays. So I'm trying to be there when my number is called and even when my number is not called. That's just the biggest difference -- my mentality."
Jackson has been laying low for most of the season. Last season, he was a lightning rod when he let his contract situation distract him from the business at hand. He got his extension in the off-season, however -- five years, $51 million -- and appears to be playing with the right frame of mind.
Jackson could be tested Sunday against former teammate Asante Samuel. Does he expect to line up opposite the Falcons cornerback?
"I'm sure, I'm sure," said Jackson, who said he spoke with Samuel before the bye. "He knows me very well. He knows this offense very well having been here the past four years."
Jackson was reminded that the Eagles know Samuel's tendencies, as well.
"Hopefully, the coaches dial some things up to help us take advantage of the things he likes to do," Jackson said.