But like Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction” after Brett had laid down a rap about best intentions in his gang’s hideout, Jackson always takes his opportunity to retort.
“I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort.”
During the last two weeks Jackson has had the last word and then some against the best defensive backs for the Giants and 49ers. With six catches in each game for a combined 318 yards and two touchdowns, there wasn’t much to those best intentions and/or laid plans.
But then he faced Champ Bailey last Sunday. Bailey, of course, has taken a cruise around the lake a time or two in his day. Only 31, Bailey has been in the league for 11 seasons so he’s guarded a hot-shot receiver or three. Before that Bailey played receiver and defensive back for the University of Georgia, which is about as big as it gets in college football. Back then if Bailey wasn’t lining it up against a Top 10 team nearly every Saturday, he had to go against a future NFL star every weekend.
In other words, Bailey has seen guys like Jackson before. He saw them during college, in the NFC East with the Redskins, and in the AFC with the Broncos. Better yet, as a wide receiver who caught 50 passes in his last season at Georgia, Bailey probably could have been one of those guys before forging his own path as a future Hall-of-Fame cornerback.
Undoubtedly Jackson likely heard Bailey’s resume straight from the source during Sunday’s game. Oh sure, there were times when Jackson had a step on the old(er) All-Pro, like during the first quarter when he streaked down the sideline only to lunge in vain for a ball with just a little too much on it from Donovan McNabb. But when sizing up the matchup with Bailey the numbers pretty much told the story.
Jackson caught three passes for 31 yards last Sunday when guarded by Bailey (though not necessarily in man-to-man coverage). He added another catch—a two-yard TD grab—but that was against cornerback Tony Carter.
After the game, with a fresh brush burn on his back but a fashionable lid and Louis Vuitton sunglasses (despite the fact that he was indoors and the sun had gone down), Jackson talked mostly about Jeremy Maclin’s clutch, fourth-quarter catch and the second-half doldrums after a strong start.
Rather than give credit to guys like Bailey for holding him to his third-worst output of the season, Jackson chalked up the performance to “complacency.”
“When you’re up by 10 points or two or three touchdowns it’s tough and you get a little complacent. You ease up a bit,” Jackson said through those (rose colored?) sunglasses. “Luckily we have the type of defense that could step up in the second half when we weren’t really clicking. It was tough and it was ugly, but we’ll take it.”
Yes, Jackson is ridiculously talented and maybe we’re just seeing him make a light scratch against the surface this season. When he learns the league and gets into a better rapport on the field with McNabb, there’s no telling what he can do.
In the meantime just label the duel with Bailey as part of the continuing education of a budding talent.
“I thought we put him in some situations where he had to stand in there and fight with the guy,” Denver coach Josh McDaniels said. “He’s a great receiver, and Champ’s a great corner. Part of our game plan was to get him over there and try to create pressure on McNabb rushing more than four guys, and let Champ try to handle him. I thought Champ did a nice job for the most part when we did those things.”