Eagles head coach Chip Kelly cut ties with Pro Bowl wide receiver Desean Jackson and then watched as he signed a new contract with the NFC East rival Washington Redskins. This move could be a sign of greatness for Kelly. It has become clear that Chip Kelly is attempting to turn this Eagles team into a well-oiled machine, a machine that will have no room for broken parts.
As difficult as it may be for Eagles fans to watch Desean Jackson play with the Redskins next season, it is vital to understand what this move represents. It represents a style and philosophy with championship precedent.
For years fans, around the league have heard about Bill Belichick and the “Patriot Way.” The Patriots have been the model of consistency in the NFL for Belichick tenure, a run that has consisted of 5 AFC championships and 3 Super Bowl titles. They have had this success based on a team philosophy. An organizational attitude based around everyone doing their job for the betterment of the team. Not to draw any direct comparisons between the Patriot dynasty and the current Eagles, but the team based philosophy is certainly similar. Kelly has attempted to completely bring together the Philadelphia Eagles. Along with his up tempo offense, his well thought out conditioning plan kept the team healthy all year long and changed the culture of a locker room that had experienced a 4-12 season just a year before.
Although the Eagles’ motivation for the release is still clouded with speculation ranging from Jackson’s attitude to his potential gang affiliations, the message that the move sends is clear as day. That message is that no player is bigger than the Philadelphia Eagles. It may be tough for many fans to see, but cutting ties with Desean Jackson was a sign of greatness from the Eagles’ head coach. Kelly was willing to make such a controversial move to help set a new standard and a new culture within the organization. Kelly has a lot left to prove about his coaching ability but he certainly has shown that he is in control in Philadelphia. Jackson may have been an elite talent, but Kelly knows he can only build a great team if everyone is committed to building a great team. Football is the ultimate team sport; eleven good players who completely sold out to the team will always beat eleven great players who are only concerned with themselves.
Desean Jackson was an incredible player in Philadelphia and may be the same in Washington. However, if Chip Kelly did not view him as the right fit for the team, then there is no way it could have worked out. This is an organization that could be on the verge of greatness but every player must be in line with Kelly. This is Chip’s team now, and they will go wherever he takes them. Jackson was a game changer for the Eagles, but he is only one part of a very young and talented core in Philadelphia. If Chip’s first year has been any indication, the Eagles are building towards greatness. A greatness of which, Desean Jackson will be just a footnote.
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