The first article I ever wrote for the front page of Bleeding Green Nation was posted exactly one year and one month ago from today on February 19, 2013. (Happy belated anniversary to myself.) I didn't want my debut post to be just any generic piece. I wanted to tackle a subject that had been bothering me for a few months.
When Chip Kelly was hired last year, a lot of people were excited. They thought he was absolutely the perfect hire for the Eagles to make. I consider myself one of those people. At the same time, there was still a large amount of skepticism when it came to Kelly. Fast forward a year and things a little different. Kelly earned the respect of Eagles fans with a surprisingly success 2013 campaign. Look at these results from the Chip Kelly January 2014 BGN approval poll. As you can see, the numbers favor Kelly in an overwhelming fashion:
Entering this offseason, it looked like Kelly would easily retain those numbers. Aside from some free agency moves and the 2014 NFL draft, there weren't a lot of big decisions for Kelly to make compared to last year. Or so we thought. With reports of the Eagles being open to trade offers for DeSean Jackson, it looks like Kelly is involved in yet another major polarizing decision. I'll address this situation using the format from my original post. Let's examine the DeSean decision from the perspectives of the Kelly Trustee (KT) and the Chip Skeptic (CS).
KT: If you look at all of the noise surrounding Jackson this offseason, it seems like there's something brewing. This must all be for a good reason. Kelly is smart. He is not known for being petty and acting on emotions. Rather, he's cool and calculated. He's a big believer in science. For everything he does, there is a reason behind it. Trading DeSean admittedly doesn't seem to make much sense, but maybe it's time to accept that there's more to all of this than what we know.
CS: What the F*** are the Eagles doing? How could they trade DeSean Jackson?! Not only is he one of the biggest faces of the franchise as a fan favorite, but he's a great player. He's coming off a career year. He's still only 27. His role in the offense fits perfectly with what Chip wants: big plays. The Eagles can't just replace Jackson's production so easily. If he's gone, it greatly damages the team. It unnecessarily creates a roster hole that will have to be addressed. Kelly doesn't know what he's doing. And how are the Eagles only asking for a third round pick in return?
My Verdict: I've maintained from the beginning of this speculation that there's probably more to all of this than we are all privy to. I think it's naive to assuming what we know about the DeSean situation is all their is to know. It just doesn't add up. The puzzle is missing pieces that are waiting to be filled in.
I'd like to point out some tweets that back up my sentiment.
The Eagles front office has been spot on in almost every move since Chip got here. If Howie/Chip think DeSean has to go, he's got to go.
Maybe, just maybe, this whole DeSean thing is more complicated than we know.
I just don't think Eagles would entertain a DeSean trade unless there was a really good reason. Not their history to operate otherwise.
Come on people. If the Eagles could get a 1st for DeSean, that's what they'd ask for. They're not asking for less just because.
Chip Kelly has a history of giving his players the chance to rehab their image under him. Potentially getting rid of DeSean isn't a kneejerk reaction.
Chip Kelly rightfully earned a lot trust with the team's performance last year. He also did it by proving to be right in the two major 2013 offseason decisions which I highlighted in my post from last year: the re-signing of Michael Vick and the hiring of Bill Davis. While some will say bringing Vick back was a mistake, I've already discussed how that thinking is inaccurate. Bringing Vick back created a high level of competition and pushed Nick Foles to play to the best of his ability. As far as Davis goes, many thought he would be one and done in Philly as the team's DC. While he wasn't exactly the second coming of Jim Johnson in his first season in Philly, Davis led the way of a unit that overachieved and performed at a higher level than people expected. There was a stretch in the season where the Eagles held their opponents to 21 or less points for 9 straight weeks; the only team to do it in that span. Both of those decisions were met with a lot of criticism at the time, but Kelly proved to know better.
This isn't to say Kelly's track record is infallible. I can't ask you to blindly trust him in this DeSean scenario. Mistakes are always possible. What I will ask, based on his history in Philadelphia, is that you consider Kelly just might know what he's doing. And that he also just might know better than any of us think we do. At the very least, try to keep an open mind. I know that's not easy to ask because of the nature of this issue. But it's the only way to survive this tough time.
In Chip Kelly We Trust.