As we get closer and closer to the start of the regular season, my belief that Jamaal Jackson will line up as the Eagles' starter at center against the Packers grows stronger and stronger.
Jackson has been ahead of his recovery schedule for quite some time now and is a toss-up for September 12th.
Andy Reid has said that he will be pushing Jackson in practices. I’m sure this is because Reid wants to see if Jackson truly will be ready to play against the Packers.
In his first few days of full practice, early indications seem to point to his opening day availability being a reality. He isn’t experiencing swelling in the knee. Parts of his body are sore, but that’s because he isn’t used to taking the full-time physical abuse yet. That takes a bit of time, and he has about another week and a half to get used to that.
Although you never want to see a player rushed back too early, the Eagles could really use a healthy Jackson out there. The team has yet to find a suitable replacement, so the return of Jackson would be very beneficial.
We saw the dramatic difference one player can make with Todd Herreman’s return to the lineup, and I’d expect much of the same in Jackson’s return. Not only does he play at a high level, but he is also the leader of the offensive line. He reads the defense at the line of scrimmage and calls out assignments.
Of course, if Jackson returns and suffers an injury, the coaching staff will be on the hot seat. I don’t want to see Jackson come back if he’s not ready, but I’m hoping to see him in the lineup Week 1.