Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Jackson: Eagles will surprise teams

ESPN.com news services

Receiver DeSean Jackson said Wednesday on ESPN's "First Take" that the 2012 season was a wake-up call for him and other Eagles veterans, but he's confident new coach Chip Kelly's high-octane offense will help the team rebound.

The Eagles finished 4-12 last season, leading to the firing of longtime coach Andy Reid and the hiring of Kelly.

Jackson We can't really look backwards, we're going to move forward this year. We've got Chip Kelly coming in there, he's installing a great offense, high tempo. We're going to catch a lot of teams off guard this year.

-- DeSean Jackson

"I think it was a reality check for everybody on our team honestly," Jackson said. He compared last year's atmosphere to the Eagles team he joined in 2008 led by veterans Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Brian Dawkins, which "didn't really accept anything but winning."

For us to go out there and have a year like that last year, we really had to look ourselves in the eye and say, 'C'mon, we're better than that,'" he said, adding that players "couldn't point fingers at anybody" as the media spread the blame among Reid, quarterback Michael Vick and the team's porous offensive line.

Jackson, who said he's healthy after suffering a rib injury late last season, expects a different outcome this season.

"We can't really look backwards. We're going to move forward this year," he said. "We've got Chip Kelly coming in there. He's installing a great offense, high tempo. We're going to catch a lot of teams off guard this year."

Kelly still hasn't named a quarterback as the Eagles head into training camp. Jackson, as he has done in the past, backed Vick for the job, although he complimented Nick Foles, who is vying with Vick for the starting job, as well.

"Going into the camp, I think Michael Vick will be the starter, but we still don't know," he said.

On Tuesday, in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Vick said he held "no resentment" against Kelly for not yet naming a starter.

"Every day we're out there competing. I make [Foles] better, he makes me better and our main focus is to try to be the best quarterback we can be when we're out there behind the center. Primarily, the most important thing is to lead this football team and to win football games," he said.

Competition is a theme Kelly has emphasized since he arrived in Philadelphia. Jackson had to prove to Kelly he deserved to start. He also has to adjust to playing multiple receiver positions in the offense after filling only the "Z" receiver role in the past.

"He wanted everybody to come in there and buy in to the system and do everything they need to do to win the position. He wasn't caring if you had Pro Bowls or won any Super Bowls before," Jackson said.

Jackson said he respected Kelly's approach but added that he had to "sit down with him and look him face-to-face and say, 'Coach, what's up? I've been here, been to Pro Bowls, been doing my thing in Philadelphia, so what's the case?'

"He told me from the get-go what it was, and I was like, as a man, I could respect that. Throughout the roster he did that for everybody and expected that from everybody."

Jackson said he didn't believe the fact that he hasn't had a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2010 had anything to do with the idea that he had to earn back his starting spot.

"I really don't think my stats had anything to do with it," Jackson said. "Unfortunately, the past couple of years have been rough for the Eagles, not only for me but for the whole team. With [Kelly] coming in there, he had to install what he had to install. Everybody there got to buy in or move on."