What They’re Saying About the Eagles

NFL: Annual Meetings

We’ll continue to pass along tidbits from our session with Chip Kelly the rest of the week, but for now, here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:

ESPN.com’s Field Yates identifies four teams that could be potential fits for DeSean Jackson, including the New York Jets:

This is a team that has the financial resources to make this arrangement work. The Jets are in win-now mode according to head coach Rex Ryan, and while they have yet to decide who their starting quarterback will be, Jackson would make either Michael Vick or Geno Smith better.

Eric Decker improves the receiving corps and Jeremy Kerley is a nice slot presence, but Jackson brings the vertical range the Jets lack (and hoped to get out of Stephen Hill). GM John Idzik has shown himself to take a hard-line financial approach, but Jackson would deliver immediate impact.

ESPN’s Louis Riddick offers his thoughts on the 49ers as a potential fit:

“Furthermore, there has to be an understanding that he is not a physical presence in the running game as it pertains to blocking in the perimeter. If that understanding is good for them, there is no doubt he gives them what they don’t have, and it is not just a ‘deep’ threat. The kid is a moveable chess piece that can play all three primary WR positions, can run routes and excel at all three levels of the defense, and is very dangerous on screens and reverses as a runner. Their locker room appears strong enough to be able to allow him to be him, but not tolerate anything less than an all-in/all-the-time attitude.”

Chris Burke of SI.com has the Eagles taking LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 22 pick in his latest mock draft:

You don’t think Chip Kelly will pass on a potential Pro Bowl receiver, do you? One way or another, the Eagles appear ready to move on from DeSean Jackson, leaving them searching for another game-breaker on offense. Beckham has a lot of the same traits that Philadelphia used to love in Jackson — his explosiveness being chief among them.

Doug Farrar of SI.com provides a sleeper for the Eagles, Notre Dame OLB Prince Shembo:

In Billy Davis’ defense, outside pass rushers must be versatile enough to attack different gaps and do so with their hands on and off the ground.

Though he’s not known for racking up huge sack totals, you’ll see Shembo rushing outside the tackles, mixing it up inside as a pure end and covering tight ends in the flex-slot positions with some agility. He may be devalued by some as a jack of all trades and master of none, but there are others who will see that value. Shembo led the Fighting Irish with 17 quarterback hurries last season in addition to his 5.5 sacks.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com is expecting big things out of Jeremy Maclin:

People say DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin can be co-No. 1’s in Philadelphia, but when you get down to it, Maclin is the more reliable receiver. Playing on a one-year contract, Maclin has a lot of incentive to prove himself after missing the 2013 season with a torn ACL.

Jackson and Maclin have different personalities. Jackson is more outgoing, whereas Maclin is a quiet guy who gets the job done. Jackson is coming off probably his best NFL season, catching 82 passes for 1,332 yards and nine scores, but we shouldn’t forget that in 2012, Maclin was the Eagles’ leading receiver. I think Maclin will reclaim that role in 2014.

Judy Battista of NFL.com tries to make sense of the Jackson situation:

And so reporters stood three-deep, waiting for Kelly to explain whether or not receiver DeSean Jackson would remain on the Eagles, and if guard Evan Mathis might also be headed out the door.

What they got instead was a finely-tuned tap dance in which Kelly praised Jackson and acknowledged he had spoken to the receiver in recent days — but stopped well short of committing to anything, either to remaining tied together with Jackson or to making a trade. It was an echo of general manager Howie Roseman’s earlier meeting with reporters, in which he happily answered other questions about the Eagles’ roster but was firmly tight-lipped about Jackson.

Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com offers his thoughts on Kelly:

There is a certain hubris to Kelly’s thinking — to respond to Jackson’s groveling through the media or Mathis’ desire for a better contract with in essence — a take-it or leave-it attitude, entertaining the notion of moving on without two vital contributors from his first NFL campaign. Perhaps, it reveals a bit of naivety as well, in that these sorts of instances are hardly unusual or unique in the professional game, and this is clearly a side of the business Kelly didn’t have to deal with during his ascent through the college ranks (indeed, at the NCAA level the cash transactions and dirty business is usually conducted between boosters and street agents and the like).

But I’d make the argument that it’s also hard to knock Kelly at this point. All the man does is win, and often in dramatic fashion, with an offensive panache that drives fans delirious with possibility. The man knows exactly what he needs to win and what fits his system and who can be more easily replaced. The ethos that he sells to players clearly resonates at a macro level, and the occasional outlier in that regard can be substituted elsewhere.