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Jackson content to role play if it helps Rams meet goals

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — DeSean Jackson joined the Los Angeles Rams to win the Super Bowl.

Based on what the veteran wide receiver has seen so far, he believes the attitude and personnel are in place for the Rams to do just that.

“First day I came here, there was honestly something different about this team, you know. The camaraderie, the mentality, you can tell it’s something special,” Jackson said Tuesday after the Rams opened a three-day mandatory minicamp. “Everybody has one common goal, and all the personal stuff outside the football world, like none of that stuff matters. When you come here, we worried about football.”

Going into his 14th NFL season, Jackson understands he will not be the first option in the Rams’ passing game. After showing he can still torch defenses with touchdown catches of 51, 53 and 81 yards in his second stint with Philadelphia the past two seasons, coach Sean McVay can utilize him as the deep threat Los Angeles had lacked, likely rotating in to join starters Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in three-receiver sets.

At 34 years old, Jackson is willing to bypass individual glory if it leads to wins.

“I’m looking for that next stage,” he said. “I want to win a championship, and I would definitely love to do it here in my home city. So for me, like, it don’t really come down to the stats and the statistics no more because I’ve accomplished a lot of great things in my career, but I haven’t held up that trophy. These last few years, I’m gonna give them my all to be a guy that’s not a self guy, to be about my team and really put it on the line.”

It helps that Jackson already has a rapport with McVay, who was his offensive coordinator in Washington for three seasons. That relationship helped produce Jackson’s last season with at least 1,000 yards receiving in 2016.

Although that past experience gave Jackson a head start in learning the Rams’ offense, he recognized immediately that McVay had continued to refine and develop the system since they last worked together.

“That’s what makes Sean McVay very unique,” Jackson said. “He’s always adding twists and schemes into his offense in order to keep the defenses off guard, so I’m still diving into it and still trying to gather all the information and still learning.”

Jackson is also working to build chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Rams’ marquee offseason addition. From what he has observed, Jackson expects Stafford and McVay to work together well.

“Having a veteran quarterback that’s played a lot of ball in this league, for me, mentally I think he has a grasp on coming in and just kind of really already knowing the system. And the biggest thing I could say as far as him coming in and partnering with Sean McVay, I mean, them two guys came together and jelled together quick right away,” Jackson said.

It is also clear to Jackson that McVay and Stafford are not lacking for options at the skill positions. Jackson will be adding depth with second-year wideout Van Jefferson and second round draft pick Tutu Atwell behind Woods and Kupp. Tight end Tyler Higbee has proven to be effective catching passes, and running back Cam Akers will likely see an increase in targets after a promising rookie season.

Wherever Jackson fits into the pecking order is fine with him, especially if it leads to the Rams playing in the Super Bowl on their home field next February.

“The best thing I can tell you is that’s not my decision,” Jackson said. “I leave that for Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford. But for me man, just being in the right position at the right time like even if I don’t get the ball if I’m open. I mean, at least every time I run my route, as long as I can worry about what DeSean Jackson is doing, and I’m winning my battles. If the ball comes, I’m gonna make the most of my opportunity.”

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

By DAN GREENSPAN
Associated Press

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