Here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles.
William C. Rhoden of the New York Times takes the Eagles to task for their handling of the DeSean Jackson situation:
But this was a disgraceful way for a franchise to try to cover its back while releasing its best player. The Eagles insulted the intelligence of many fans and relied on the bigotry of others to sell the narrative of a young black player’s suspected gang affiliation to rationalize cutting him.
I suspect that Kelly, like so many delusional football coaches, may truly feel his system is so ethereal, so ingenious, that he can fill it with a gaggle of Riley Coopers and reach the Super Bowl; that he can hand the reins to Nick Foles, who replaced the departed Michael Vick.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman wrote an MMQB column sticking up for Jackson, his childhood friend:
This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, “I will fight every n—– here.” He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has “ties” to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too.
Jason Whitlock of ESPN.com says race did not play a role in Jackson’s release:
What the Eagles did to Jackson isn’t remotely unprecedented, racist or unfair. Coaches don’t like lazy, disrespectful, cancerous massive headaches. Daniel Snyder does. That’s why he learned nothing from his Albert Haynesworth experience and Washington was first in line to sign Jackson. Snyder is a billionaire fan with a team. Kelly is a football coach.
Kelly made his name coaching at Oregon and, like most Pac-12 coaches, routinely recruited kids from Los Angeles, kids with “gang ties.” This was not his first rodeo with a young player with unscrupulous friends. Every NFL and college football coach on the planet deals with this issue.
Ashley Fox of ESPN.com thinks Chip Kelly made the right move:
There is a thing called addition by subtraction.
That is what the Philadelphia Eagles did Friday. By flat out releasing DeSean Jackson, they added a greater probability that they will have a harmonious, drama-free locker room this season. They added the assurance that Jackson will not create a distraction. That he will not pout or sulk or hold out over a contract that was set to pay him $10.5 million in 2014 and make him the fifth-highest-paid receiver in the National Football League but apparently wasn’t good enough for him.
Michael Silver of NFL.com thinks the Jackson signing was a coup for the Redskins:
Kelly surely believes he’ll find other playmakers (like the recently acquired Darren Sproles) who’ll mitigate the loss of Jackson, and that his fast-paced offense will continue to thrive. Yet, whenever I see a coach so beholden to a system, I worry that a reality check is coming his way.
No system is so brilliant that, in the 21st-century NFL, it renders personnel irrelevant — or even just semi-relevant. Yes, X’s and O’s absolutely play a part in a team’s success, and there is a lot to be said for coaching philosophy. However, more often than not, games are won and lost by highly specialized athletes displaying maniacal devotion to the task at hand, and there are only so many of these all-in game-changers to go around.
Ross Tucker of the Sporting News says it’s clear that Jackson doesn’t get it:
That’s the problem I have with Jackson as a professional and the concern I’d have if I were a Redskins fan. What is the value in posting those pictures? How can he possibly benefit in any way by doing that?
The answer is you can’t, which is why he shouldn’t do it. There’s no upside, plenty of downside, and there isn’t a single employer in the country that I can think of that would like it if their employees were posting pictures of themselves flashing gang signs with known criminals.