The 14-year veteran and newest Los Angeles Rams wide receiver walks into his new facility filled with nostalgia from his rookie season. He told reporters on June 8 that what the Rams have created atmosphere-wise is reminiscent of what he walked into in Philadelphia when he entered the league.
“I can go back to my first days in Philadelphia in 2008. When I came in, I had guys like Brian Westbrook, Brian Dawkins, Donovan McNabb. It was a certain persona those guys upheld,” Jackson told reporters. “The main guys on the team, the head coach was Andy Reid, they had a demeanor where, all these young guys, I don’t care if you were a first-rounder or a big-time free agent, you knew when you stepped into that room or on that field there was certain guys you respected. And those guys that you respected held accountability to every player, from top to bottom.”
That Eagles team led by Reid was three years removed from representing the NFC in the 2005 Super Bowl. Plus, all three veterans Jackson pinpointed had experienced between six to 12 seasons in the league once “D-Jax” arrived to the Eagles.
Jackson’s homecoming to L.A. has been met with similar vibes from his first year in the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Jackson Noticing Similarities
That Eagles team Jackson walked into had playoff expectations following their 8-8 season. Philly drafted a California Golden Bear wide receiver who blazed the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds at No. 49 overall in the draft.
Philly wound up pulling off back-to-back road upsets of the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, the latter holding the NFC’s top seed that season. Jackson and the Eagles fell to a Kurt Warner-led Arizona Cardinals team in the NFC title game.
From there, Jackson went on to witness back-to-back postseason appearances with the Eagles. Jackson, however, only experienced the playoffs once with Washington and in 2019 during his second stint with the Eagles. But now, he’s realizing he’s entering a different attitude inside the Rams’ building.
“First day I came here, there was honestly something different about this team,” Jackson said. “The camaraderie, the mentality, you can tell it’s something special. The morale of the team, It’s hard to explain and you have to be here to understand it.”
Jackson dove deeper, describing how some of the teams he played on didn’t have the cohesion the Rams have.
“I’ve been on teams where certain individuals had contract issues or personal issues, or had a situation with a GM or a player, (but) when you come here, you don’t feel none of that,” Jackson said. “You feel like everyone is on the same page, everybody has one common goal, and all the personal stuff, outside of the football world, none of that stuff matters. When you come here, we’re worried about football, we’re having fun, we’re going to get the most out of it and guys are fired up about coming into this building. I think that triggers from the top to the bottom.”
This Rams Team is Veteran-Guided
Every NFL head coach Jackson has played for from Reid all the way to Dirk Koetter has been an offensive whiz.
McVay, however, is one Jackson said was smart then and smarter now, saying “He’s always adding twists and schemes into his offense in order to keep the defenses off guard.”
And just like his years in the Philly green, “D-Jax” notices an identical atmosphere in his return home.
“You know with McVay setting the tone and then having guys like Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, I can go on and on and on. Guys who are respected by the top and vice versa. They respect them as well too. It’s just one common goal and the energy feels great here,” Jackson said.