Philadelphia Eagles' Center Jamaal Jackson Could be Ready by Week One

Bob CunninghamSenior Analyst IJuly 24, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  Center Jamaal Jackson #67 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks over as he prepares to hike the ball during the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

While most people, including myself, are talking about the three-way battle at center between Mike McGlynn, A.Q. Shipley, and Nick Cole to take over for the injured Jamaal Jackson, there's at least one guy who thinks the battle is already over—Jackson.

"I feel good about it. (Head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and his staff have done a great job preparing me rehab-wise and getting my knee right," said Jackson. "I've been progressing ever since. Right now, I'm being positive about it."

It's also of interest to note that Jackson has been running and working on pass-protection drills for a little while now, and is certainly ahead of schedule.

While it would be a bit surprising to see Jackson snapping the ball in week one when the Birds take on the Green Bay Packers, it's not without precedent. It will, after all, be about nine months after suffering the injury and with the progress made in these types of surgeries, it's definitely not out of the question.

To just say having Jackson for the entire season would be a good thing for the Eagles' offense would be an incredible understatement. A lot of fans were calling for his job after the '08 season, but we've now seen just how vital he truly is to the way this offense operates.

Without him barking out the line calls and getting the other four guys where they need to be, it's an ungodly mess and a sure-fire way to get Kevin Kolb hurt.

Even Donovan McNabb, who is one of the most elusive quarterbacks to ever play, had a difficult time avoiding all the pressure coming through the A-gaps in the final three games Jackson missed, so a stationary guy like Kolb would have no chance of even getting a pass off.

Coming from the player, it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Just because he feels good does not mean he will be ready to go when the season gets underway. It's going to be up to the team doctors and trainers to make that call, and they're going to be absolutely certain he's 100 percent before they give him the green light.

But since he is running and doing some drills, it at least presents the possibility that he could be ready to go. And, at the very least, might mean he doesn't wind up on the PUP and only misses a few games rather than six weeks to half the season.