BETHLEHEM, Penn. — Maybe the biggest thing I took away from Eagles training camp Saturday (aside from the fact that Darren Howard sucks), is that DeSean Jackson is really impressive. I know it’s early and it’s just a training camp practice, but the second-round pick from Cal is like a suction cup out there. Some of these undersized burners from college have no actual receiving skills, but that’s not the case here. He moves very well in an out of his cuts and it’s completely quiet when he catches the ball.
Mike Ditka said years ago that he wanted receivers with strong hands, not soft hands. Soft, weak hands make a loud smack when they catch the ball. Strong hands absorb the ball easily and quietly. That’s what I saw from Jackson.
In one-on-one drills (which you really can’t take much from), Jackson lined up against safety Brian Dawkins. He proceeded to make a cut that threw Dawkins about eight yards off of him. I understand that Dawkins is a safety and doesn’t have the legs he used to, but the press section and most of the crowd made a collective gasp. It was a cut out of a video game.
On another play, Jackson caught the ball about 18 yards down the field in traffic. He caught the ball and while his hands were still extended forward, he got both arms whacked by the hack of a DB. He held on, and I have no idea how.
Jackson also "gets it." The Eagles have designated autograph-signing tents for different players where they’ll sit and sign on different days. But, there is still a group of fans that hangs in an area where they can hope to get the guys’ attention as they head off the practice field. I looked over, and there is Jackson signing autograph after autograph for the people. This helps to get the Philly faithful behind you. It’s really not fun to be on their bad side.
I saw him after the morning practice near the training area and he was walking gingerly. I wasn’t sure if it was a tweaked ankle or just practice feet.
"You alright," I asked.
"Yeah, yeah I’m good," he replied.
"That’s good, they really need you," I said.
He smiled and said, "Thank you very much, I appreciate that."
His overall demeanor is a great complement to his apparent on-field talent. A possible first-round stud that slipped to the second round, Jackson could very well be walking around with a chip on his shoulder and a hot-shot attitude.
Based on everything I saw yesterday, that couldn’t be further from the truth.