Ashley Fox spent the day at Philadelphia Eagles minicamp Tuesday, and she has a column about DeSean Jackson. The premise is that, with the contract no longer an issue or a potential distraction, Jackson has no excuse not to perform at an elite level in 2012. Jackson appears to agree:
"I expect a big year for myself," Jackson said on Tuesday after the Eagles opened their mandatory minicamp. "Like I say, this year is something I've been waiting for. I'm ready for training camp right now, honestly. I'm just ready to go into the season and just put up a lot of numbers for my team to help my team any way possible. I know this year is very important for the organization, coaches, players, everybody. It's big for everybody, so I think everybody realizes that."
Thing is with Jackson, it's not enough for him to be good. He needs to be spectacular. He needs to be otherworldly. He needs to put his considerable athletic gifts to good enough use that they are a significant advantage for the Eagles over teams that don't have players like him. But I feel like there are a number of players on the Eagles about whom similar things can be said this year -- a few guys who have no choice but to "prove it" on the field this season.
We can all read the roster and see the names and marvel at the depth and talent the Eagles have all over the field. We have seen, from Jackson and many others, the great things they're capable of doing in football games. We're not just all parroting back their lines about how much talent they have -- we know they have talent. We've seen it in action.
What we haven't seen is the team put together all of that talent over an extended period of time in a manner that wins a sufficient number of games. We haven't seen the Eagles' talent at wide receiver, running back, quarterback, defensive line, cornerback, etc. translate into postseason success, or even really sniff that Super Bowl title for which Philadelphia remains so hungry.
So while it's nice that Jackson knows what he has to do, and it's encouraging to think the thing that held him back last year is no longer a factor in his life or his game, the only thing that's going to matter is what he and his teammates do on the field come September. Until the Eagles get out there and play, there's really nothing much to be said about them that we haven't heard before. Jackson is very good. A considerable number of his teammates are as well. There is no disputing that. There is only a continued absence of proof that all of their talent can bring them a championship. So what's left for Jackson and the Eagles is to deliver on their promise.