Andy Reid has gotten mad at DeSean Jackson this year, hes been frustrated with Jackson this year, hes been disappointed in Jackson.
On Friday, he defended him. Vociferously.
Reid said he was very disappointed in NFL Networks coverage of Jackson during the networks national telecast of the Eagles 31-14 loss to the Seahawks Thursday night in Seattle.
In the final minutes of the second quarter, NFL Network sideline reporter Alex Flanagan reported that Jackson had been sitting by himself on the sideline and had not been interacting with his teammates during the game.
But just before she made the comment and again just after she made it her own network clearly showed Jackson talking to his teammates.
Heres the sequence, as shown by NFL Network:
With 3:02 left in the first half, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-2 from their own 46-yard-line. Quarterback Vince Young threw incomplete to Brent Celek near the right sideline. On that same play, NFL Networks cameras showed Young seemingly looking first at Jackson, who ran his route without ever turning to look at Young.
He wants to throw it to DeSean Jackson, and hes not even looking for the football, analyst Mike Mayock said. I dont get that disconnect.
The network used that play as a springboard to present Jackson as isolating himself from his teammates.
This is what Flanagan said moments after Jackson was seen talking to his teammates and moments before he was seen talking to them again:
Thats really been the case all night long. DeSean sitting by himself on the bench, really not paying attention to anybody. Hes not talking to any of his teammates virtually all night.
But with 3:02 left, with 2:49 left and with 0:16 left, there are close-ups of Jackson, clearly having animated conversations with Cooper and Young.
Reid didnt raise the issue at his Friday press conference, but he lashed out at NFL Network when asked specifically about their coverage of Jackson Thursday night.
Im very disappointed in the NFL Network, he said. Very, very disappointed in the way they portrayed DeSean.
Let me tell you, DeSean was all in in that game, Reid said. He had a great attitude during that game, and you can take a camera and you can make things look any way you want to make them look, but the kid was all in last night, and I was proud of him for that.
Reid also said Jackson was unfairly accused with being disinterested on the 3rd-and-2 play when he didnt look back at Young.
Hes a clear route on that, Reid said. Jason Avants the primary on that, Celeks the second read on that, back to the running back on it, and DeSean, all he has to do is occupy the corner and the safety and alls good right there. You can take a camera and make it look any way you want to make it look, but Im telling you, that kid was all in last night and wanted to win that game as much or more than anybody.
Certainly Jacksons behavior this year has been troublesome for the Eagles. He boycotted the first week of training camp because of a contract dispute, he was suspended for a game after missing a mandatory team meeting, he committed a taunting penalty against the Giants that cost the Eagles a 50-yard completion, and hes dropped at least five touchdown passes.
But Reid said he had nothing negative to say about Jacksons performance against the Seahawks Thursday night.
I just care that the kid comes out and plays, Reid said. And he came out and played his heart out last night.
Reid said Jacksons relationship with the other receivers and with the quarterbacks is fine and that he interacts with teammates and coaches in a perfectly normal way.
Absolutely nothing there, Reid said. This is all petty stuff, I know, but Im telling you the kid was all in, and he had a great attitude, and thats what I can tell you. There was nothing on the sideline, there wasnt any commotion with him or Vince. Theres nothing there. Nothing.
The other side of the equation is that Jackson is not having a great year and has struggled in particular since Jeremy Maclin suffered hamstring and shoulder injuries that have kept him out of the last three games.
Jackson, a Pro Bowl pick in 2009 and 2010, has 43 receptions for 698 yards and two touchdowns. After recording 11 TD catches of 35 yards or more in his first three seasons, he doesnt have any long TDs this year. Jackson is earning just 600,000 on the final year of his four-year rookie contract.
Reid said teams are gearing their coverages to stop Jackson and daring the Eagles to beat them with other guys. So far, those other guys have not done the job.
Hes a good player, so you see where they roll a trail guy underneath him with a corner over the top or theyll drive the safety over the top and put a corner underneath, and they try to take him away, Reid said.
But that allows other players opportunities, and then when youre given that opportunity, youve got to make that play. But he has peoples attention, in particular on the deep balls.
E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com