Eagles coach Doug Pederson made his most expansive comments Friday on the abdominal injury that has sidelined wide receiver DeSean Jackson since early in the second game of the season.
The upshot was that Jackson isn’t ready to play this weekend, despite extensive rehab efforts. At one point, Pederson said he and Jackson want the 32-year-old speedster to be 100%, but at another point, Pederson acknowledged that Jackson won’t be entirely 100% whenever he returns.
Jackson opted out of surgery for the injury, which seems to be a core muscle tear, of the sort that has been called a sports hernia, though the medical community no longer uses that term.
The Eagles initially downplayed the injury and have been secretive about the prognosis, a strategy that nearly always leads to fans’ questioning the injured player’s resolve. Pederson seemed to go out of his way to address that problem Friday.
“One of the things I appreciate about DeSean is how hard he’s working to get back. He wants to get back out on the football field in every way possible ... With this injury, it’s tricky. He wants to be 100%, we want him to be 100%, so I’m not going to push him. I’m not going to rush him,” Pederson said. "I want him to feel and be the DeSean we know he’s capable of being before we put him back out there.”
Jackson turned down the option of surgery, when the injury was diagnosed. Asked if it is possible for Jackson to be 100% this season, Pederson said: “Nobody’s ever 100%. Again, with the type of injury he had, being a track guy, being a speed guy, it affects you; it makes a difference. Is he going to be 100% when he comes back? Probably not. Is he going to feel better? Yeah, he’ll feel better and just be able to focus on football.”
Pederson said he didn’t want to put “added pressure” on Jackson by predicting when he might play.
Pederson indicated that linebacker Nigel Bradham’s ankle injury will keep him out of Sunday night’s encounter at Dallas. He said cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills were on track to play. Pederson said the team would continue to evaluate left tackle Jason Peters, but he also again emphasized that the injury is “a little more extensive,” presumably than the minor issues Peters has played through this season. Rookie Andre Dillard is expected to start at left tackle.
Pederson also was asked about anonymous quotes attributed to an Eagles player this week by an ESPN reporter, the player second-guessing the front office’s inability to trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey and being critical of the offense and of quarterback Carson Wentz. The quotes indicated that the player felt the offense was too complex and that Wentz didn’t check down enough.
“You don’t like to have anonymous guys. At the same time, I hate to say it, but we’re kind of focused on the Cowboys right now,” Pederson said. His implication seemed to be that the quotes should be ignored and everyone should focus on the game.
Pederson said that there were lots of factors involved in whether checkdowns are available, and that quarterbacking isn’t to blame there. He made fun of the idea that his offense is too complex.