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Eagles' Jackson has three more games to prove his worth

At this point, DeSean Jackson has about as much chance of getting a contract extension as the Eagles do of making the playoffs.

"My mind-set is great," DeSean Jackson said when asked about the Eagles' upcoming games. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
"My mind-set is great," DeSean Jackson said when asked about the Eagles' upcoming games. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)Read more

At this point, DeSean Jackson has about as much chance of getting a contract extension as the Eagles do of making the playoffs.

But that doesn't mean both should downshift into cruise control. Jackson, in fact, has much to play for, even if the season has been one giant disappointment for the lithe wide receiver.

His team is 5-8 and nearly eliminated from the playoffs. His numbers are down almost across the board, and he never got the raise many thought he deserved and would have had by now.

But he has three games, starting with Sunday against the New York Jets, to prove his worth - to the Eagles or to some other team that may have the opportunity to acquire him either through a trade or via free agency.

A big-time performance against the Jets' Darrelle Revis certainly wouldn't hurt his stock.

"My mind-set is great," Jackson said Thursday when asked about his approach to the homestretch of games. "I'm just coming to work, having fun, doing everything I need to do to stay out of the way. . . . As far as anything else, mind-set-wise, I don't get caught up in that."

Revis would be the ultimate test but one that Jackson could exploit. The Jets don't typically give the all-pro corner much safety help. They put Revis on an opposing team's best receiver and let him do his shut-down thing.

"He is a tremendous corner, the best corner in football," Jets coach Rex Ryan said during a Wednesday conference call. "It's not even close. The way we play him, it's unlike anything that's happened in the history of the league. A lot of times we'll match him on the best receiver and still lock him on man coverage the entire game by himself."

If Revis is strictly on Jackson it's difficult to image him keeping pace in a flat-out race. A better matchup would be Jeremy Maclin, who some believe to be better than Jackson anyway. That way the Jets could just double Jackson and keep the home run out of play as teams have done for most of the season.

"Whoever we decide to put him on . . . that will be a long day for that individual," Ryan said.

Jackson really didn't have to say much about the possibility of drawing Revis.

"I don't get caught up in that," he said.

If it's not Revis, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Antonio Cromartie would mostly cover the 5-11, 175-pound Jackson.

"They're good corners," Jackson said. "I'm not going to put nothing past that, though. It's the NFL, so that's what we expect."

Revis, who should be voted to his fourth straight Pro Bowl in the next couple of weeks, gushed over Jackson.

"He's unbelievable," Revis said during a conference call. "I know DeSean personally, and I'm a fan of him, and he gives anybody problems. . . . I'm trying to make sure after Sunday that he's not a bigger problem."

Jackson has been kept in check for most of the season. His bread and butter - the big play - simply hasn't been there. And there have been times when he hasn't appeared to give a full effort, something that seemed possible before the season when he said his safety was most important.

Jackson short-armed a few passes against the Patriots three games back and as a result was benched in the fourth quarter by Andy Reid. The following week against the Seahawks he seemed disengaged. The NFL Network, which was televising the game, reported that Jackson wasn't talking to his teammates on the sideline.

One camera shot made it appear as if Jackson was staring blankly ahead as quarterback Vince Young spoke to him. Reid said that the NFL Network's depiction of Jackson was unfair and that the receiver was all-in for the game.

Jackson hadn't spoken with reporters since he cut short an interview following that game. He was asked Thursday if he thought the network's portrayal of him was accurate.

"Next question," he said.

Was he appreciative of Reid's sticking up for him?

"Next question," he said.

Reid and Jackson have had a topsy-turvy relationship this season. The coach did not dress the receiver last month against Arizona after Jackson was late for a meeting. The following week, Jackson had perhaps his best game of the season against the New York Giants, but he has since flat-lined.

His touchdown against Miami on Sunday was his first in seven games and just his third of the season. He has three more opportunities to add to that total and to make one final impression.