By Joe Giglio
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Another week, another dizzying array of rumors, Instagrams, tweets and non-committal stances from the Philadelphia Eagles on the status and future of DeSean Jackson.
On Friday, that all changed.
For Eagles fans, DeSean Jackson is gone after the team cut him.
DeSean Jackson’s NFL future still hasn’t been decided, but one thing became abundantly clear as the WIP airwaves light up with theories, passion and confusion around the status of the most dynamic playmaker in the city: This is the head coach’s show.
At the annual NFL owners’ meetings, Eagles brass — owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly — gave varying degrees of answers about Jackson, roster building and the approach to the current offseason.
In each quote, Kelly emerged as the man pulling the strings and making franchise-changing decisions.
Lurie, on his faith in the Kelly/Roseman team, to reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “It’s a very focused plan based on what the character needs to be, what the performance level needs to be, what the preparation to perform at your maximum level needs to be.”
When rumors around Jackson were presented to Kelly, the head coach gave a half-hearted answer that likely told fans more than initially met the eye: “I like DeSean. DeSean did a really nice job for us. But we’re always going to do what’s best for the organization.”
Add those quotes together and a picture emerges of a franchise that trusts the head coach to create a system, adhere to the system and use it to pick out the best players and character traits needed to create a consistent, winning culture in Philadelphia.
From a football perspective, no fan without an agenda or bias can honestly say that the Eagles would be better off without Jackson in 2014. Yet the team moved on anyway, possibly due to off-the-field concerns.
Jackson’s gone because Kelly deemed his program and his system better without the mercurial 27-year-old weapon, not because of size, durability or contract concerns.
For fans in Philadelphia, the entire Jackson saga opened up debate, but no question matters more than this one: Do you trust Chip Kelly?
After one highly-successful year, Kelly is pulling the strings on the roster and implementing his system, regardless of what repercussions that edict holds for the short-term or long-term future.
If this coach is truly special, Jackson will quickly become a footnote.
This entire two-week chase for rumors, social media updates, scoops, and confusion won’t matter years from now. Instead, winning will commence because of the mind of the man on the sideline, not the names on the back of the jerseys.
If Kelly isn’t quite a master talent evaluator or a simply a good, not great head coach, controversial decisions like Jackson’s release will have far-reaching ramifications for the team and fans.
Parting with Jackson isn’t a problem if Kelly can keep the offense humming and make the team better without him.
Fan loyalty and confusion were to be expected thanks to the tight-lipped actions of the Eagles, Jackson’s broken heart and a media contingent hungry for an offseason story to occupy the time between now and the draft.
But forget all the noise for a minute. Instead, answer this question: Do you trust Chip Kelly?
If the answer is yes, Jackson’s departure is irrelevant.
If the answer is no, fire away with the complaints and concerns toward a head coach that acts and talks very confidently after just one 10-win season.
Joe Giglio is a host on WIP and WFAN, and covers MLB as a Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Find him on Twitter @JoeGiglioSports. Catch Joe’s next show on WIP Saturday night at 10 p.m.