Just two years ago, DeSean Jackson's draft stock was hurt by perceived attitude problems. One national writer even attempted to further propagate that notion even after the Eagles selected Jackson in the second round.
Jackson has proven to be every bit the professional on and off the field. He's had two outstanding seasons on the field as he became the first player in NFL history to earn Pro Bowl honors at two different positions in the same season in 2009. Off the field, Jackson has started a foundation to honor his late father, Bill, who died from pancreatic cancer.
Then again, it was the same national writer who now insists that there is an internal rift within the Eagles organization. That notion was dismissed by team president Joe Banner, who said that he and head coach Andy Reid have a "strong, constructive, very focused relationship."
Nonetheless, the ascension of Kevin Kolb to the top of the depth chart at the quarterback position means that the offense is going to be young in 2010. Jackson said the offense can be called the "young guns" now. But for those bullets to fire effectively, it will be Kolb who has to successfully pull the trigger.
"Kevin is a great quarterback. He knows how to get the ball out on time. He knows the offense, he's a smart guy, he knows out to read defenses," Jackson said. "He goes out there and takes charge. Any time you have a quarterback who comes in the huddle and has that confidence and looks 10 other guys in the eye, call the play and say 'This is what it is, come on let's go and do it,' I definitely think he's ready and I'm honored for him to get this opportunity."
When Jackson saw Kolb at the NovaCare Complex on Monday morning to work out, Kolb's excitement over the promotion didn't have to be put into words.
"We came in today and he just grabbed me and was very excited," Jackson said. "There is a lot of good, positive energy going around our team."
Jackson's playmaking ability in his first two seasons has injected a lot of that energy. Whether it's a deep reception, an electric punt return or a touchdown celebration, Jackson is a big reason for hope despite the monumental change at the quarterback position.
"I have to kind of take a step forward. When I first came to this team, we had guys like (Brian) Dawkins, (Donovan) McNabb, and (Brian Westbrook). All those guys are going now," Jackson said. "It's almost like it's in the hands of the young guys. Myself, (Brent) Celek, (Jeremy) Maclin, (LeSean) McCoy. It's going to be exciting. We're able to all communicate with each other. We hang out, we do all the things together. Any time you have that relationship with the guys that you're coming in and sweating and competing with, we're able to go out on the field and have that good camaraderie."
And now that it's no secret who the quarterback will be for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, the players who have heard every rumor under the sun can focus solely on football.
"We can get over it now and just focus on what we have here. The biggest thing is we have a lot of time to get in there and work out together," Jackson said. "(Kolb's) been here a long time, this is going on his fourth year. Even though McNabb was always the starter, I was always able to get reps with Kolb and he's a great quarterback, too.
""He's got a lot of talent. I was able to see him play at Houston. Him and Donnie Avery, they were able to connect. I'm just looking forward to that connection. I say work hard. We're both young. We can start this leadership. It's a new era for the Eagles. We can call it the young guns now."
It's a new era indeed.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:15 p.m., April 5