Through The DeSean Situation, Chip Kelly May Be Making His First Big Mistake As An NFL Head CoachBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Monday, March 24th, 2014
As the DeSean Jackson situation continues to develop and unravel, the Eagles continue to stay silent on the issue, leaving everyone concerned to wonder and speculate about what could possibly be driving the franchise to part ways with one of their top players.
Here’s my take. I’m offering the following under the assumption that all of the rumors are indeed true, and that the Eagles are either going to trade or release Jackson in the coming weeks.
I don’t believe that DeSean has done anything out of the ordinary to warrant the team to want to move on. He’s no criminal, and there’s never been any evidence to suggest that he might be. His teammates have never had anything bad to say about him. In fact, Mychal Kendricks recently came out and spoke highly of Jackson as a friend and a teammate in light of the recent rumors.
It’s true that DeSean has proven to be a headache for coaches at times. He hurt the team in 2011 when he allowed his contract to become an issue and impact his play on the field. He also reportedly clashed with new wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell throughout the season and the two had to be mediated by Jason Avant.
The crux of the Jackson issue appears to be that head coach Chip Kelly is intolerant of players who don’t completely buy in to his philosophies, and fall in line with the standards he set for the locker room.
I believe Kelly is making his first great mistake as an NFL head coach. Kelly may learn the hard way that it isn’t easy to come by players as productive as Jackson.
Kelly had no prior NFL experience before this season, and dealing with DeSean’s antics is the first time he’s really had to work with an elite NFL receiver. Elite NFL receivers have some of the biggest egos in all of sports. Guys like Jackson, Terrell Owens, and Chad Johnson have earned the title of “divas” for a reason. They’re royal pains in the ass, but the impact they make on the football field is undeniable.
Kelly might deem Jackson’s behavior unacceptable, but I don’t believe he realizes that this is going to be something he’s got to learn to deal with and manage correctly if he’s to truly succeed in the NFL. The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks weren’t exactly made up of character guys. Pete Carroll, who also came from the college ranks, had to manage many gigantic, vocal, difficult personalities, including the self-proclaimed best cornerback in the league himself, Richard Sherman.
Jackson has always been a bit of a pain, but compared to a lot of other players, he’s hardly what I would call a true distraction. He’s proven to be selfish in the past, and has said some incredibly stupid things at times, but the guy was an integral part of the team’s offense in 2013, and really helped put Chip Kelly and his offense on the map in this league.
By stubbornly casting Jackson aside, and making it a priority to move on from him, Kelly is doing himself and the team a disservice.
Jackson and his 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns already had a great chemistry with Nick Foles and the rest of his teammates. Taking him away could have a strong negative impact on guys like Foles and Riley Cooper.
Getting rid of Jackson also creates a need at receiver again, and the offensive-minded coach is sure to spend his top pick on one of the best receivers in this draft instead of looking to address a need on the defense. The value that the Eagles expect to get in return doesn’t come close to replacing the value that DeSean brings to the table.
One of Chip Kelly’s claims to fame has been his willingness to make bold, risky moves on the field and off. Trading or releasing Jackson would be a bold decision, but this a risk that Kelly may very well come to regret.
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