Every week my e-mail ([email protected]), gets flooded with readers from our site asking me questions about various Philadelphia sports topics. Normally they are topics that I either already am planning to answer in one of my daily pieces, or I try to work into our sites’ content. Unfortunately, some questions go unanswered, which led me to the idea of doing a weekly mailbag, where I answer some of the best questions that I get sent over the course of the week. As we wait for baseball season, and the only big Sunday sporting event is the Sunday NBA Showcase (which we won’t be seeing the Sixers on anytime soon), I figured Sunday would be as good as any day to do the mailbag.
Johnny from Wayne: In your mind, are the Eagles still an elite offense if DeSean Jackson gets traded?
Tim: There’s no if anymore. Thursday, I predicted that the Eagles may end up reaching the point of no-return with DeSean Jackson. Given reports that the Eagles ‘don’t want’ DeSean and that Jackson has ignored Chip Kelly’s phone calls, I think it is safe to say that point of no return has been reached.
I think as as them still being an elite offense, I truly believe in this system, and more than that, I believe in Chip Kelly. Even once DeSean is moved, I’m not scared that the Eagles offense is going to get stale.
Think about it. How many teams in the NFL would trade their offense for one that features skill players like LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, and Zach Ertz? That goes without mentioning an offensive line that has two All-Pros in Evan Mathis and Jason Peters, and a third stud in Jason Kelce, who is becoming one of the best centers in the league. It also doesn’t factor into the equation that Nick Foles was a Pro-Bowler last season. Regardless of whether you feel Foles is really that good or just a product of Chip Kelly’s system, Chip will be here next year, which leads me to believe the elite production from Foles isn’t going anywhere.
Obviously injuries could occur that change the landscape of the Eagles offense, but what people aren’t taking into account is that there are certain elements of the offense that didn’t reach there full potential in 2013. What if Chip Kelly finds a way to use both Celek and Ertz on the field at the same time, and have both of them produce at a higher level than they did in 2013? What if Bryce Brown and Chris Polk play a bigger role in changing the pace of the offense after an explosive play from McCoy? How about if Maclin returns to being a more overall productive receiver than Jackson was, like he was in 2011 and 2012, prior to tearing his ACL last training camp? And packages where the team uses McCoy and Sproles at the same time, could be scary. In short, an offense without Jackson won’t be short on weapons or talent, especially if the team is able to add another piece early in the draft.
I think what the Eagles lose in moving Jackson is the chance to be a team that can overcome any defensive issues, and still make a playoff run by out-shooting teams. I felt like with Jackson, the Eagles may very well have been as good as the Broncos offense last year. Sure, they don’t have Peyton Manning playing quarterback, but I’ll take Chip Kelly’s offensive mind over anyone in the NFL right now, and Knowshon Moreno doesn’t have anything on LeSean McCoy (as “Shady” has pointed out).
Without DeSean, I still think they are an elite offense, but not a next level team that can afford to lose their best defensive player (like the Broncos did with Von Miller) on an already suspect defense, and make a run to the Superbowl becuase their offense is historically good.
Not that the Eagles have a player like Miller on their defense, but if they lost Fletcher Cox or Mychal Kendricks, they probably wouldn’t be going to the Superbowl. I wasn’t prepared to predict them to be a Superbowl team anyway, but with DeSean on the roster, they had a much better chance to be one than with him on another team.
If you wish to have your sports questions answered in the Section 215 Sunday mailbag, e-mail me at [email protected], leaving your first name, where you are from and your question.