Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — We want to believe in Chip Kelly. We really do. We want to believe he knows what he’s doing.
They believed in Eugene, Oregon, where Kelly lorded over Ducks’ football like a feudal fiefdom. No one challenged him. No one questioned him. Not assistant coaches. Certainly not the players, who are for the most part interchangeable pieces. The media tried. No go. Like they’re trying here.
The Eagles did not handle the release of DeSean Jackson well at all. Now the Eagles will have the added headache they once gave to every NFC East defensive coordinator and that’s figuring out a way to stop Jackson twice a year.
To a certain degree, that has to reflect on Kelly.
There seems to be myriad reasons why Jackson was let go, among the most prominent is that Kelly wasn’t going to tolerate Jackson, who was prone to be a moody, petulant distraction when he didn’t get his way. That didn’t fall in line with what Kelly was used to from his players.
When you peel away his new fangled ways of running practices, with the blaring music pulsating from concert-sized speakers, and innovative play-a-second offense, Kelly seems to be an old-school coach along the lines of Bill Belichick.
It’s his way or find your way out. Like, it seems, Jackson did.
Will that way work up here in the NFL? Is Kelly running the Eagles like he ran Oregon? Will Kelly jettison another player at the first hint he’s not completely in lock step with him?
There’s nothing wrong with that. Kelly did turn the Eagles around to win the NFC East last season. But what appeared to be a growth spurt has now been stunted by the Jackson decision.
Do you really believe the Eagles can be Super Bowl contenders now without No. 10?
Old-school can get old very fast if a team collectively tunes out its coach.
The cause for concern is that Andy Reid found out how to deal with Jackson. Kelly was obviously not so willing.
The antiquated notion that pro football is a paragon of choir boys and core values went by the way of grainy black-and-white films. It simply doesn’t exist anymore. What does is the modern athlete who has a little more say in what happens.
And yes, it’s a field filled with me-first, selfish players who are as content scoring four touchdowns in a loss as they are winning a game. Like Jackson. But his selfishness translated into a lot of success in Kelly’s first year.
One thing is for certain: Jackson won in the end. He’s getting paid a reported $24 million over three years, with $16 million guaranteed.
As for Kelly, we, the proletariat, are left to wonder, because nobody is talking. Not Kelly. Not the Eagles.
The proper way a fiefdom is run.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.