adjective \ˌe-(ˌ)nig-ˈma-tik also ˌē-(ˌ)nig-\
: full of mystery and difficult to understand
That’s Merriam-Webster’s definition of enigmatic, but it could very well be the best description of Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly. The more we know about him, the more questions we have. It is easy to see the positives: fresh ideas, brash play-calling, and quirky quotes. This is not your father’s version of an NFL head coach. But there are some questions that have come up with the way Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s ordeal has played out thus far.
First off, it’s important to note that most of this firestorm is based off of speculation. The Eagles front office have played their cards close to the vest, which is their right. And new rumors today suggest that Chip and DeSean have finally spoken. This could signal an end to the trade or release scenarios that have played out for the last few weeks. Until anything is confirmed we will just have to wait it out. Either way, there are concerns with the handling of these types of scenarios. I guess Kelly’s way of dealing with controversy can be viewed as a strength or weakness depending on your viewpoint. It’s funny how all of this was really based on DeSean and his reputation, with very little being said about the other side. If we use last year as a gauge, Chip doesn’t seem to worry about outside opinion when dealing with controversial topics. The question then becomes are the Philadelphia Eagles destined to become a team constantly involved in media mess because of the way they choose to handle these types of issues?
As good of a rookie debut that Coach Kelly had last year, he is not immune to error. If it is true that at the beginning of this situation that DeSean Jackson reached out to Chip Kelly only to be rebuffed because he was “too busy with free agency”, then that is extremely alarming. A lot of this furor could’ve been avoided if a meeting of the minds had taken place earlier. Especially when it is the player that was being proactive in trying to get a resolution. Every coach says they have an open door policy, so that should have been the case. Whether it was due to petty payback, ego, or outright disdain doesn’t matter, either way it was irresponsible for Kelly to allow this to linger. Maybe this was the plan all along. Maybe Kelly is a mastermind and is trying to keep his players on edge psychologically. If that is the case, let’s see how they respond. Remember the goal should be to win a Superbowl. So all actions should be evaluated in regards to do they aid in that pursuit. Trading or releasing one of your top 5 players doesn’t seem to fit that goal.
Is DeSean Jackson immature? Yes. Can he be more professional? Yes. Is that cause to ship him out of town without getting equal value in return? No. This isn’t a John Madden video game. Players have different personalities, motivations, and issues. Coach Kelly seems to emulate New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in certain aspects of handling personnel. This can be a great thing, however, Belichick has three championships to back him up when he makes a mistake. So if Chip is going to play hardball and let talent walk out of the door, he better win. Not division championships, not PAC-12 championships, but Superbowls. Otherwise it’s fair game to question the logic behind a purported move like this.
Hopefully this is all a moot point, and everything will be back to preparation for the draft. But if the Eagles still make a move on this issue, we will see if Chip’s ego is as large as his playbook.