- Image 1 of 2
- Image 2 of 2
PHILADELPHIA – DeSean Jackson provided the Eagles and their fans many thrilling moments during his six seasons in Philadelphia before he was abruptly cut.
He's waited for this game since joining the Washington Redskins.
"I have friends on the team," Jackson said. "Once game time comes, I could care less about anything else. Burgundy and gold are my colors now and that's all I'm going to focus on and that's all I'm going to worry about. Buddy buddy? There's no time for that once game time starts."
The Eagles (2-0) host the Redskins (1-1) on Sunday in a division matchup featuring two of the NFL's top-five offenses. But Jackson's return to Philadelphia is the No. 1 story line.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly released the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver in March without giving specific reason. Jackson's sizable salary was a factor and there was a perception he didn't fit Kelly's system because he wasn't a team-first guy.
"It's in the past," Jackson said. "Moving forward in my career is the biggest thing I can really say. I'm not focused on why it happened the way it happened. I'm not really worried about that."
Jackson had a career year in 2013, helping the Eagles set several offensive franchise records en route to an NFC East title. He'll always be remembered in Philadelphia for his 65-yard game-ending punt return for a touchdown for a 38-31 comeback win over the Giants on Dec. 19, 2010.
"He's definitely going to be emotional. I think every play he makes, he'll celebrate," said LeSean McCoy, one of Jackson's best friends on the Eagles.
Here are a few more things to watch Sunday afternoon.
KIRK'S TIME: Kirk Cousins is filling in again for an injured Robert Griffin III. Cousins played well in a 41-10 win over Jacksonville and knows he'll have an opportunity to be the starter for an extended period; Griffin is out for a while with a dislocated ankle. Cousins has had mixed results during Griffin's absences, but seems like a good fit in coach Jay Gruden's offense.
"If I don't have good command and if I'm not making good decisions and if I'm not doing a great job of managing the game, then I'm not going to be playing in this league very long," Cousins said.
MISSING D-JAX: Perhaps Jackson's return will be a spark for Philadelphia's wide receivers. Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews have 16 catches in the first two games. Maclin has eight of those and two TDs. Nick Foles has completed more passes to his running backs. McCoy and Darren Sproles have 21 receptions.
"We'll continue to work on it," Maclin said. "We've had opportunities. We dropped a few balls."
BRINGING PRESSURE: A strong front seven is a major reason the Redskins have the No. 1 ranked defense through two games. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has four sacks, defensive end Jason Hatcher has 2 1 -2, and the team has 10. LB Brian Orakpo also creates havoc for offenses.
"When you look at Orakpo and Kerrigan, they do a great job of setting the run and setting the edge on the defense, and they kind of earn the right to pass rush," Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "When they do that, they're outstanding. Then you add Hatcher to it. We saw he gave us some problems last year when he was in Dallas. We're going to have to be on our best in terms of blocking them."
MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE: Safety Malcolm Jenkins has already proven to be a valuable addition to Philadelphia's secondary. He had a key interception in the comeback win against Indianapolis and has provided the defense with veteran leadership.
"He always has a knack for making big plays," Kelly said. "Just what we expected when we got him here. He was obviously our top target, and I think it's paying off for us right now."
BRANDON RETURNS: Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather is back after serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit in a preseason game. He's been penalized six times in his career for hits, but plans to stay aggressive with legal hits.
AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_RobMaaddi