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Angelo Cataldi: How DeSean Jackson ruined the Eagles' season

It can be argued, somewhat ironically, that DeSean Jackson ended the Eagles' season.<Getty Images

DeSean Jackson is one of the most outrageous and obnoxious athletes ever to wear a Philadelphia uniform, a shameless fool whose primary goal on a football field is to glorify himself and denigrate everybody else. His act is so disgusting, he was released by the Eagles after making the Pro Bowl last season.

And now, forevermore, Eagles fans will look back on 2014 as the season Jackson ruined, thanks to Chip Kelly. The unorthodox coach had good reason to remove Jackson from the roster last winter, but with it came a responsibility to his team and the fans to make certain Jackson didn’t do exactly what he did in Washington’s 27-24 season-killer.

Now, technically, defensive coordinator Billy Davis had the job of devising a strategy to stop Jackson, but Kelly needed to stress, unequivocally, that the speedy receiver could not be given a chance to beat his former team with big plays. After all, Dez Bryant had already burned the defense on deep balls a week earlier for Dallas.

Instead, against all basic football logic, Davis and Kelly allowed Jackson to race past an unassisted Fletcher for two fatal bombs of 51 and 55 yards. How could a coaching staff noted for its intelligence give up those plays to an offense depleted by injury and lacking any other serious deep threat? It doesn’t make any sense.

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Ironically, when the coaches finally adjusted to what every fan had been screaming about for weeks, Nate Allen intercepted a pass in double coverage against Jackson, and then, finally, Fletcher was benched at the very end of a lethal defeat.

Here’s all you need to know about Bradley Fletcher in the past two weeks: His failure to cover the deep pattern cost the Eagles 35 points. There were three touchdowns by Bryant, and the two long balls to Jackson. On every one of those plays, Bradley was entrusted with single coverage.

After the game – and again yesterday on my WIP show – Kelly downplayed the decision to dump Jackson and the impact the wide receiver had on ending the Eagles season. Even now, the coach has neither accepted the gravity of his first decision, nor acknowledged the illogical strategy on Saturday that amplified Jackson’s contribution.

Much will be said in the months ahead about how a coach who was 16-4 in his previous 20 NFL games could suddenly lose three straight, including the defeat Saturday to a putrid Redskin team. What needs to be stated right now is that the honeymoon has officially ended for Kelly and this city, and he has DeSean Jackson to blame for that.

“Get the (bleep) Birds out of here,” the loudmouth receiver screamed after the game. “Tell them good night. Toodle-oo. Bye-bye.”

It wasn’t enough of an insult losing the last hope of the 2014 season to the Redskins. Now we also have to live with the fact that the Eagles gave one of the biggest jackasses in sports a merry Christmas in the process.

Idle thoughts

  • If you love Christmas miracles, consider this: Las Vegas gave the Phillies a 150 to 1 chance of winning the 2015 World Series, tied for worst in baseball. That means GM Ruben Amaro took the team from the top to the bottom in six seasons. And he’s still here, doing the same job. If that’s not a miracle, what is?
  • Vinny Lacavalier got caught bolting from a Flyers game last week with just under a minute to play. A healthy scratch for seven straight contests, some fans caught him racing out of the players’ lot. No word yet on whether he had the $22.5 million he’s stealing from the team in the back of his pickup truck.
  • After the Flyers’ 10thstraight shootout loss last week – five this season – coach Craig Berube said the problem was mental. He’s right. The organization hates the shootout, so they stupidly refuse to adjust to a rule in effect for nine years. Chairman Ed Snider is still waiting for leisure suits to come back in style.
  • Carl Cheffers and his officiating crew worked two Eagles games this season, both losses. In those games, he called 19 penalties against the Birds and seven combined against Green Bay and Washington. Is anybody else getting the impression he doesn’t like Philadelphia?
  • Most general managers love great players and big wins. And then there’s Sixers GM Sam Hinkie, who has a bizarre desire for second-round draft picks. He has acquired – ready for this? – seven in 2014 alone. I offer this information just in case you haven’t shopped for him yet.
 
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