You're not going to hear DeSean Jackson label the Eagles a Super Bowl team. You're not going to hear any grand predictions or preseason boasts.
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Not from him.
He's seen it all after six years with the Eagles, three with the Redskins and two with the Buccaneers.
He knows the Eagles are loaded, but he also knows that loaded teams aren't always the ones that win the Super Bowl.
The 22-year-old DeSean may have approached this differently, but the wise, mature, experienced 32-year-old DeSean knows what can happen when a talented team starts buying into the hype.
I've been on very talented teams," Jackson said Thursday, after his first training camp practice in Philadelphia since 2013. "The mindset's not the same [as here]. The hard work's not the same, the composure and the mentality's not the same. I just felt since I was here [the first time], I felt like the mentality of the culture and the mindset is different from everywhere else that I ever played. That's what you miss.
Jackson was a rookie when the Eagles went to the 2008 NFC Championship Game. His 62-yard fourth-quarter touchdown catch gave the Eagles a late lead against the Cards in Glendale, Arizona, and should have propelled the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
Instead, he's still waiting for that ring.
So when he hears people all over the country tagging the Eagles with Super Bowl expectations, he's wary.
You can say, ‘Hey, this team is a Super Bowl team,' and everyone's on that bandwagon to believe it, or you can say, ‘Hey, we're not a Super Bowl team and that's a goal we have and that's what we want to accomplish and let's be the underdogs where not everyone is talking about us and there's not as much pressure.' I think a lot of times when people label, ‘Oh, this is a Super Bowl team,' then you're always having to live up to that hype and that noise. So we know the goal, but we're not going to continuously harp on it because we know it's a long season and we know what it's going to take to get there.
Then he added:
It's like building a house. You have to build certain levels before you have a house. We know what we have to build and that's what we're building towards.
Sounds like someone who lived through the Dream Team hype in 2011, right?
That was the beginning of the end for the Eagles and for Jackson.
They went 8-8 in the Dream Team season, then 4-12 in 2012. Andy Reid was out, Chip Kelly was in, and Jackson was gone a year later.
We don't want to get caught up in putting a phrase or putting a word on the name of our team," Jackson said. "In the past, we were the Dream Team, that's kind of putting extra attention, extra hype on you that you really don't need. We all want to win, we all want at the end of the season to hold up the trophy, everybody starting training camp has that same common goal. But the legwork has to be put in, and that's what I strive for being a part of this team: What can I do to better myself every time I step on this field? What can I teach these young guys to help them be the best professional athletes they can be?
It's pretty incredible watching Carson Wentz throwing deep balls to DeSean Jackson.
It's like two eras of Eagles history coming together.
Like Donovan McNabb throwing to Mike Quick or something.
It's just a good group of guys out here, man," Jackson said. "Everyone has the same goal. It's not really individuals. I never sensed that since Day 1 entering the building. They know what it's like to win, they want to get back and they know what it takes. The goal is set and we just have to put in the work to get to where we want to get to.
And they have a much better chance to get there with one of the greatest deep threats in NFL history back in town.
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