DeSean Jackson would like a new contract. That much has been clear for quite some time, no more so than during his brief absence from training camp. But even though he's on pace for career highs in catches and receiving yards, Jackson hasn't made a peep about the contract since the season began and has approached the 2011 season as a consummate professional.
Thursday, 24 hours after his teammate Asante Samuel criticized the front office for reportedly considering a trade of the cornerback, statements he later apologized for, Jackson stood in contrast, humbly brushing aside any questions about discontent.
"At time it's been difficult," Jacksons said, "but I just try to stay focused on the (task at hand), which is playing football and just doing what I can to do my job to the best of my abilities. I'm trying not to get too worried about that.
"I think it will work out. It'll be good. Not to try to say too much, but things will work out good here."
During his weekly press conference, special teams coordinator Bobby April lauded Jackson's approach this season.
"I think he's more focused, and this is an observation, this is a judgment," April said. "I'm more pleased with his professionalism I think he's grown a little bit. And I 'm not comparing it to a negative, I'm just saying he's elevated his professionalism, I think he's elevated his overall ... maturity. Again, I'm not comparing it to a negative, I just think, you know, he's in a better place."
Meanwhile, Jackson and the Eagles prepare for a pivotal game against the hated Dallas Cowboys. It's general consensus in the locker room that the two most hated rivals are the Giants and Cowboys, though there's no agreement on how to rank the two. For Jackson, this is the matchup he most looks forward to.
"I like to play against both of them," he said, "but if I had to pick one, I'd probably pick Cowboys."
Those feelings are perhaps fueled by offseason comments from Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who said his team planned to, euphemistically speaking, kick the Eagles' tail. Though the Ryan brothers are known to trash talk, Jackson prefers the coaches to coach and leave the talking for the players on the field.
"It's harder for me to kind of respect that because a coach is not really out there playing," Jackson said. "He's doing a good job of calling plays, and putting his defense in right position to stop the offense. But as far as the defensive coordinator comments, that's kind of unheard of, uncalled for. It would be good if his players said that, then I could understand it, like we're out there on the field so I'd be able to get a shot at that player if he says something crazy. If it's a coach, it's not like I can run on the sideline and tackle a coach or go run past him and score a touchdown."
In 2009, when the Cowboys and Eagles met three times including the playoffs, Jackson was held to an average of fewer than 30 yards receiving in those games. But he busted out last season in his only game against the Cowboys for 210 receiving yards. Jackson attributed that success simply to opportunity and added that he plans to put on another show Sunday night. For their part, the Cowboys are sure to remember Jackson's plunge into the end zone after his 91-yard catch-and-run. But Jackson says that he's not afraid of whatever the Cowboys defense brings to Lincoln Financial Field Sunday night, as long as the offense takes care of their own business.
"As far as us in this locker room right here, we don't think anybody can stop us," he said. "That's just the mentality we have here."