Just when we thought DeSean had grown up
After sideline blowup, DeSean Jackson says he could have acted differently, and Michael Vick says he has to control his emotions.
DeSEAN JACKSON had a career-high 10 catches Sunday, but no one will remember that.
He had the second-most receiving yards of his career (195) and moved within 134 yards of Mike Quick's single-season club record (1,409), but no one will remember that, either.
All they will remember about Sunday's 48-30 loss to the Vikings, at least as it pertains to Jackson, is his childish, third-quarter sideline blowup after a pass intended for him was intercepted by the Vikings' Shaun Prater.
Jackson was frustrated because he felt he was open, which he was, and that Nick Foles' throw was late and underthrown, which it was, and possibly even because the Eagles happened to be losing by 15 points at the time, though with Jackson, it's hard to tell whether that factored in.
Instead of chalking it up to a poor throw by a young quarterback and moving on, Jackson went back to the bench and created a scene, which included getting into an altercation with his position coach, Bob Bicknell, that, of course, was caught on camera for all the world to see.
"Over and done with," Jackson said yesterday at NovaCare when asked about the incident. "We're moving forward. New week, new game. We already discussed that."
Asked if he regretted his actions, Jackson, in a semidefiant tone, said, "Regret? It's part of the game. I probably could have handled things differently. But I'm not going to really get into too much of that. [I'm] looking forward. Gonna worry about the Chicago Bears."
I'm not here to make a federal case out of this because, frankly, this kind of thing is par for the course for diva wide receivers.
But I thought Jackson, who celebrated his 27th birthday 2 weeks ago, had gotten past this kind of nonsense. I thought he had matured. He's never going to be a team leader, but you don't do this 14 games into a season with a playoff berth in sight. You just don't.
"Sometimes players get emotional," said quarterback Mike Vick, who is a team leader even though he no longer is the starting quarterback. "But you still have to control your emotions.
"If he had to do it all over again, he would certainly do it differently. There's nothing good that comes out of being on national television [and acting like that]. You have young kids, your peers, watching you act a certain way. Because we are held to a higher standard.
"I'm not going to say it's never happened before. But I think DeSean learned a huge lesson from it."
Nine years ago, Terrell Owens came back to the huddle and informed Donovan McNabb for the hundredth time that he was open. McNabb told him to zip it and, well, the rest is history. What might have been a long and lucrative partnership that could have produced multiple Super Bowl appearances turned into an NFL version of Jon and Kate Gosselin.
That's not going to happen with Jackson and Foles because Jackson's ego, while certainly large, isn't in the same universe with T.O.'s. And because Foles understands the Eagles don't have a chance in hell of making the playoffs if DeSean isn't on the same page with him.
"We've talked," Foles said. "I pulled him aside and that's personal [what we said to each other]. But I can tell you that our relationship will grow because of that situation. That's what playing football is all about. We all have heart. That's why we play the game and we want to play for each other.
"Sometimes guys get frustrated and things happen. But he calmed down. It was a frustrating time in that game. I was frustrated, too. But as a quarterback, you can't show it. You've got to keep playing. Because guys are looking at me to see how I respond. If I get frustrated, it's going to impact the whole team. I've got to stay even-keeled and keep going, keep working and keep the guys together."
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur didn't seem worried about any negative residual effect from the sideline fracas.
"That's not the first or last time you're going to see emotional players on the sideline," he said. "I think we would all agree this is a very physical game played by emotional, competitive people. What's important is we just control our emotions, that's all.
"What's important is that there's developed relationships with everybody and there's not a problem as we move forward."
Jackson is having the best season of his career. He's second in the league in 20-yard-plus receptions (24), fifth in receiving yards (1,275), tied for sixth in yards per catch (17.0), tied for ninth in touchdown catches (10th) and tied for 13th in receptions (75).
Chip Kelly has been the best thing that ever happened to the kid. Kelly has moved him all around the formation trying to create mismatches. Against the Vikings, Jackson lined up in the backfield a half-dozen times. Covered by Vikings safety Robert Blanton, he had three of his 10 catches out of that alignment for 20, 14 and 8 yards.
"It's a big difference from the past [under Andy Reid]," Jackson said. "The mismatches have been able to affect us better. Getting me on safeties and linebackers and things like that. I love to go out there and take advantage of those situations. Coming out of the backfield, I have so much room to work with. I'm able to go different ways."
Harold Carmichael, the former Eagles wide receiver who is the team's director of player programs, has been a big help to Jackson this year as far as keeping him focused and under control and not allowing opposing players to push his buttons.
"He does a great job with me before games keeping me poised," Jackson said a couple of weeks ago. "He has a talk with me before every game and says, 'Just keep your composure and don't let guys take you off your game and your focus. Stay calm. Stay collected, and don't let guys get to you and get you frustrated.' Because I have a tendency to get mad and get penalties and do crazy things."
Jackson should have considered Carmichael's advice before going off on Bicknell. But he didn't.
Live and learn.
"D-Jax is an emotional guy," Foles said. "He played a great game. He kept fighting. He kept playing hard. He's electric with the ball in his hands.
"Down the road, we'll look at that experience we had together [Sunday] as something that strengthened our relationship as a quarterback-wide receiver duo that will play dividends hopefully in the future."
On Twitter: @Pdomo