COMMENTARY | Chip Kelly compares his offensive approach to that of a super ball, one of those bouncy balls you probably got out of a vending machine outside the grocery store entrance as a kid. For Kelly, DeSean Jackson is the ultimate super ball.
"We tell that to our players all the time, we want our guys to be like super balls, not tomatoes," Kelly explained to the media Friday, as quoted by PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "The super ball bounces all the time. He's the ultimate super ball. He bounces all around the field."
Jeremy Maclin was going to be one of the top Philadelphia Eagles with something to prove this season. In a contract year and with a new head coach bringing an offensive system that relies more on bigger and more physical wide receivers, Maclin's status on the team may have been one to pay close attention to. With Maclin already being lost for the season with a torn ACL on the first weekend of training camp, the focus shifts to Jackson, a player who is smaller and has not been as consistent as Maclin over the last few seasons.
Jackson looks to be the kind of receiver that will thrive in Kelly's new offense, but that may be a product of the production elsewhere on the offense. Running back LeSean McCoy should be more than capable of handling the workload in the running game and Brent Celek will be in the midst of a pretty important season for him as well. Without Maclin, though, the receivers could have their work cut out for them. The receivers are largely made up of young players, but Maclin and Jason Avant are the veterans of the group. It will be critical for them to stay healthy and dependable in the passing game.
Jackson's physical shape is one thing that has already caught the eye of Chip Kelly s training camp got underway.
"One thing about DeSean that I'm most impressed with is how he came back in shape," Kelly said on Saturday, according to PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "He did great in the conditioning test. It proves to me he spent a lot of time this summer investing in himself."Kelly has spoken with Jackson before camp to address his potential in the new offensive system. Kelly ensured Jackson the sky could be the limit if he prepares himself properly.
"That's what we talked about before I left," Kelly explained. "We said, the sky's the limit for him, and he could be a real special player in this league, but he's got to make that decision that he wants to be."
Jackson has been the subject of some local criticism leading up to training camp due to his active social networking presence on Twitter and Instagram. Jackson's frequent sharing of photos and videos while hanging out with friends, recording artists and more have suggested to some Jackson is not entirely focused on football. Personally, I feel a player can have a life away from football in the offseason, so as long as Jackson remains focused during camp and the regular season there will be no concerns. For now, Kelly seems to be satisfied with the attitude his star wide receiver is showing."I think what he did, just watching where he is right now and his pace and tempo as he's running around practice right now, he's what we want," Kelly said. "We tell that to our players all the time, we want our guys to be like super balls, not tomatoes. The super ball bounces all the time. He's the ultimate super ball. He bounces all around the field.
Jackson also brings a level of versatility to the team that no other player can mimic. Andy Reid used Jackson in certain special teams situations during his time as head coach, and it appears Kelly is prepared to have Jackson on the field for punt returns routinely as well."You watch the looks he did just making our punt team better by fielding kicks back there and letting them learn how to cover it," Kelly said of Jackson on special teams duty in practice. "Real impressed with how he's approached it and how he came back to camp and excited to continue to work with him."
The thing with a super ball is you have to be careful with it. If you lose control of it, you can do a lot of damage in the chaos of the ball going every which way. But unlike a super ball, Jackson would be most vulnerable to damage if not used carefully.
All quotes acquired via PhiladelphiaEagles.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Chip Kelly
- DeSean Jackson
- Jeremy Maclin