The Grinch that stole the Eagles' Christmas
There is a lot of blame to go around to explain why the Eagles failed to make the playoffs in their second year under Chip Kelly. Let’s get this one out there into the mix - it was a mistake to cut DeSean Jackson.
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There is a lot of blame to go around to explain why the Eagles, after starting 9-3, failed to make the playoffs in their second year under Chip Kelly. A battered offensive line, Mark "I have a present for you" Sanchez, the worst secondary in the league, the NFC South - I've heard them all over the last couple of days.
Let's get this one out there into the mix - it was a mistake to cut DeSean Jackson.
Yes, Jackson was a loudmouth and selfish, and yes, he probably didn't want to drink Chip Kelly's smoothies, but cutting your most explosive receiver and not getting anything for him in return has to go down as the worst roster move in Kelly's short tenure as Eagles coach (and that's including the fact he drafted Marcus Smith in the first round).
Added to the mix is the Eagles decision to sign Riley Cooper to a five year, $22 million contract to replace Jackson. See, when Cooper wasn't attending Kenny Chesney concerts, he fit into Chip Kelly's culture, while DeSean was some sort-of diva who associated with gangsters, or something.
Surprisingly, both have nearly the same amount of catches this season, but Jackson (in a much worse offense run by three different quarterbacks while behind hobbled by a shin injury) has double the yards and leads the league with 12 receptions of 40 yards or more. Cooper, in Chip Kelly's much-touted offense, has just one.
Plus, there are two huge touchdown drops Riley had earlier in the season - one against the Colts, and another against the 49ers, which would have put the Eagles ahead with 3:02 left in the game. But hey, at least he can block.
I know a lot of people will claim that Jeremy Maclin was intended to replace Jackson, not Riley Cooper, and that DeSean wouldn't have made that much of a difference in Kelly's offense.
To that, I say compare Nick Foles stats in 2014 before his injury to 2013. Completion percentage, average per attempt, touchdowns passes, 20+ yard plays - all were down dramatically this year without DeSean in the mix.
The bottom line is Chip Kelly is a good coach, and prior to this three-game losing streak, he seemed to be moving the Eagles in the right direction. It's just time for him to remove the genius blanket and start learning from his mistakes.
At least there's hope. He did bench Bradley Fletcher. Wait, what did Chip say Monday afternoon?
"I think Bradley Fletcher has played well during the year. He got beat a few times, yes, but he's played good football for us."