Friday, March 28, 2014

DeSean Release Result Of A Bigger Issue

DeSean being held back from receivers coach Bob Bicknell.
DeSean Jackson was not released from the Eagles because they think he's friends with gang members. DeSean Jackson was released Friday because he doesn't fit the culture Chip Kelly is trying to establish in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room. Plain and simple.

The report stirred viewers and football fans everywhere. The content was chilling and controversial. If true, DeSean Jackson is surely headed down a dangerous path. But I'm not here to make accusations on DeSean Jackson the person. I'm here to make assessments on DeSean Jackson the football player.

On the field he's electric. The best home-run threat in the NFL, a true game-breaker. But also on the field and in the locker room, he can be an distraction and a detriment.

In Week 1, Jackson had a three play sequence where he repeatedly got tangled up with Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall, which earned him a seat on the bench. The Eagles were moving down-field and his immature behavior almost stalled the drive.

In a rough Week 15 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, he got into a heated altercation with WRs coach Bob Bicknell after he showed little effort to break up an INT from Nick Foles. Jason Avant and Riley Cooper were there to break it up.

These are just the issues television cameras captured, surely there were many more behind the scenes. It is unfair, however, to target his indiscretions. These situations occur every week in the NFL. It does happen to be one piece to the complicated puzzle which resulted in his eventual departure.

Other maturity issues may have been factors before. In 2011, when he felt deserving of a new deal, he held out of training camp. At the time his agent was Drew Rosenhaus, so he was surely influenced negatively. But after finally arriving, he continually showed lack of effort throughout the season, putting his own desires over the well-being of the team.

Once again, it's hard to blame DeSean for worrying about his own financial security over his limited NFL years. But it's just another example of a me-first pattern.

Then there's the report that Jackson chose to skip meetings and hang out with friends. While Chip Kelly is a player's coach, he's also a no-nonsense guy. Andy Reid established a much more lenient environment than Kelly is currently implementing.

Sure, there's been many other reports out there. indicates DeSean Jackson has been hanging around friends who are associated with gang activity. He's allegedly been questioned in connection to serious crimes, however never the target. There's even been reports his charity hasn't been being very charitable. But honestly, to me, it's small potatoes.

If every NFL player was cut due to questionable off-the-field behavior, each roster would employ about 30 people.

What is really boils down to, in my opinion, is the report that said Chip Kelly was apprehensive about the younger guys being influenced by Jackson. When a team drafts cocky 21-year-olds, coaches want them influenced by a strong, team-first locker room. The last thing Chip wants is for rookies and other young players to think he condones missed meetings, sideline altercations, knucklehead personal foul penalties, training camp holdouts, just overall bad attitudes. It's an irresponsible pattern without the team in mind.

Jeffrey Lurie said the focus of Chip Kelly's plan is character.

Malcolm Jenkins was a team captain in New Orleans. Sproles was raved about by Drew Brees for his team-first mentality. Bennie Logan wore the prestigious #18 at LSU, displaying strong character and work ethic. Connor Barwin has been the definition of unselfish since his arrival in Philadelphia. Chip Kelly's additions speak volumes.

DeSean Jackson is not a bad guy. He may be caught up in some bad things, but I think Chip Kelly decided to move on from DeSean Jackson long before these accusations came to light.

The selfish behavior and distractions not only put the locker room chemistry in danger, it was a potential negative influence for young players.

As it stands now, this locker room has done a complete 180 from when Chip Kelly accepted the position last January. This team is headed in a very encouraging direction for sustainable success. Chip Kelly is building a championship culture. Trust in Chip.

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