Sometimes you just read a sports column that you couldn't agree with more. That's exactly the feeling I had today when I read this most excellent column by ESPN's Jeffrey Chadia. Chadda raises a very important question: "Could Chip Kelly's ego derail Eagles?" While no one can say for sure, the answer is only fair to assume:
Chadri's column is centered around the Eagles' controversial decision to release star receiver DeSean Jackson. Now that we're nearly 3 weeks removed from the event, this is probably the most relevant time to address this topic. All the Jackson fatigue has finally settled down and everyone is thirsting for more of that content. Allow me to get us started.
Someday we will hear Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly explain the thought process that went into the release of Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson a couple weeks ago. Until then, it's best to assume Kelly's ego had as much to do with this as Jackson's alleged misbehavior.
FINALLY. Enough of these "unnamed", "anonymous" sources. Those are complete bullshit. I don't want sourced information. That's not what I read columns for. I want completely unfounded assumptions - it's only fair. Unlike those other reports, at least Chaddi is bold enough to put his name on what he says.
Face it, Chip -- you're not the rich, celebrity prima donna any more. Your #1 receiver is. (I guess that's Maclin now.) So get the memo and start explaining yourself. Cause Eagles fans were perfectly content and peaceable until you showed up and started Riley-ing everyone up. (Get it! Rileying!)
This is the NFL
You may think Chip is a genius, but did he even realize this?
The Eagles have some big shoes to fill. Whatever baggage Jackson compiled with the Eagles last season, he's still the best deep threat in pro football. The idea that a talent like that can be replaced easily is ludicrous at best. Kelly's apparent belief that one player doesn't dictate how successfully his fast-paced offense operates is an even sillier notion.
You think your amazing system is going to turn Riley Cooper into a good receiver? Or make an unheralded third round pick like Nick Foles into some kind of Hall of Fame QB? Start packing your bags for Texas or USC, fat boy, because the NFL is like the opera -- divas rule, and there's no substitute for talent.
And as we have seen in the All-22 film breakdowns, DeSean Jackson was double teamed on literally every single play. And more importantly, literally no one else remaining on the Eagles can go deep. Forget the fact that Riley Cooper ranked #3 in the NFL in YPC in 2013 (17.8) out of receivers with over 30+ catches. Forget the fact that Jeremy Maclin only had two less catches of 20+ yards than Jackson did from 2010-2012. Forget the fact that the Eagles still have Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, a potential first round draft pick, and a newly added Darren Sproles. Forget the fact that nearly every Eagles player on offense had a career year last year. Kelly has proven time and time again that his system is reliant on ONE player. And no, it wasn't the NFL's leading rusher in McCoy. It was Jackson. Fact.
Cooper doesn't look like a player whose game is going to elevate to a level where that new contract is justifiable.
Agreed. Just look at a picture of him. Does that give you indication of how he will suddenly be better? No. It doesn't. Look at him all you want. Nothing changes.
Kelly eventually will learn that most coaches in this league have to understand which players need coddling and which ones are replaceable. Jackson clearly fell into the former category (and it says here that a dysfunctional franchise such as Washington still isn't the best place for him to continue his career). Whatever issues he had with former Eagles head coach Andy Reid -- who coached Jackson for five seasons -- the belief around that franchise was Reid knew how to handle Jackson's high-maintenance personality. Kelly, on the other hand, seems very much like a man used to enjoying his power and wielding it however he sees fit.
How can Chip be so arrogant as to not grovel before every skill player's whims? Does he think he can bury his head in a playbook or run away to Pro Days without answering the legitimate social media demands of fans? You don't have fanatical team boosters and starstruck small town press to coddle your every whim any more, Mr. Offensive Mastermind. (And I do mean offensive!)
The fact of the matter is that this is the NFL. Coaches will have to deal with troubled players. Yeah, Chip turned Oregon from a PAC-12 also ran to a top 5 team by kicking every good player with an attitude off the team . But only because Oregon always had such a surplus of elite talent, he could afford to do that. Well, it doesn't work like that in the NFL buddy.
This is the situation that Kelly created for himself and it's doubtful he's sweating it right now. He's so arrogant that he's felt no need to talk publicly about Jackson's release. He also has enough leverage from last year's success that he might feel his decisions need no defense. This is another by-product of leading a collegiate powerhouse. The best coaches always feel an immense sense of control over their environments.
Perhaps the most telling sign of Kelly's arrogance is his decision to honor a dead Navy football player last week. Honestly, what gives him the right? And what has Kelly really done to improve the team this offseason? We don't know, because he's barely even talked to the media. All we do know is that he's traveled over 11,000 miles around the country to watch various pro days. All that time spent watching college athletes when he could be trying to improve the team. It's a disgrace.
Listen, Chip, if that's even your real name. Wait. That ISN'T even his real name. A quick Google search tells me that the Eagles' head coach has been LYING about his first name this whole time! Charles Kelly? Forget him trying to explain about Jackson's release. He'll probably just lie about that, too. And what kind of name is Charles anyway? History tells us all we need to know: Charles I, Charles II, Charles the Fat (who Kelly probably idolizes), and so on. MONARCHS. All of them! Kelly isn't just an egotistical control freak - he think he's a king. Forget going back to college. How long will it be before Chip Kelly lays claim to the Iron Throne? And before you say that my claims are ridiculous, JUST LOOK AT HIS DOG. It may look cute on the surface, but do you know what they call that creature? That's right, a Cavalier KING CHARLES Spaniel. The arrogance is downright disgusting.
I know some of you are going to question Chapa's case record, but that's just not fair. The guy knows what he's talking about, and especially so when it comes to writing about college coaches making the transition to the NFL. Take this piece on Pete Carroll, for example, titled: "Carroll, NFL still a lousy fit." He nailed it from the beginning: "Regardless of how optimistic some Carroll supporters may be about this news, the man is going to fail in the NFL." "Pete Carroll's demeanor and coaching style make him a much better fit for the college ranks." You can point out the fact that Carroll led his team to a Super Bowl win this past season, but the truth is -- who cares? Plenty of other coaches have won Super Bowls before. It's not like he's even the first one to do it.
Look, Eagles fans, it's time to accept that Kelly's ego is a problem. I know this will be hard for many of you. Just last week BGN ran an approval poll where Kelly's approval ranked at 92%. You'll argue that this means the majority of you know what you're talking about, but all it really tells us is many of you have been deceived. I won't blame you, though. As Chadiha, would say, "it's best to assume" that Kelly used mind control on everyone to make you believe the Eagles are better off than they really are. Only time will tell if I'm wrong, but if even if I am, I probably won't admit it. And with that said, I leave you with these parting words:
Hey Chip Kelly, this isn't college.
(H/T to fellow BGN author Mark Saltveit for some assistance on the hot takes.)