Eagles

Jason Kelce knows why he was snubbed by all-decade team

Jason Kelce knows why he was snubbed by all-decade team

When the NFL’s all-decade team was announced on Monday, there was one notable Eagle omitted. 

Jason Kelce has a case to be called the best center in the NFL in the 2010s but he was not one of the two centers named to the team. My colleague Reuben Frank called it an “egregious” snub.

Kelce, on the WIP morning show Tuesday, was very diplomatic about his name being left off the list. 

“I’m not upset,” Kelce said. “One, because the guys who were named are guys I have a lot of respect and admiration for in Alex Mack and Maurkice Pouncey. Maurkice has been the most decorated center over the decade without question, the amount of Pro Bowls and All-Pros he’s been a part of is spectacular. 

“And then Alex Mack has probably been the most consistent center throughout his time in the NFL. He’s a great all-around player, he plays the position every single team would appreciate. Big, strong, smart, athletic, fast, everything you would want in a center and he’s more than deserving of that honor as well.”

During the last decade, here’s how their individual accomplishments stack up: 

Maurkice Pouncey: 8 Pro Bowls, 2 All-Pros

Alex Mack: 6 Pro Bowls 

Jason Kelce: 3 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pros

A big difference between the three is that Pouncey and Mack were both first-round picks and Kelce was a sixth-rounder. Sometimes, as Roob pointed out, it takes later-round picks, especially offensive linemen, to get their due. And the fact that Kelce has had one season where he’s been an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler is laughable; it shows the flaws in the process. 

But Kelce, 32, said he actually understood why he wasn’t named to the list. 

With myself, if I’m looking at it realistically, I don’t think I was consistent enough to get that position,” Kelce said. “If you look at my career, at my best, I’ve probably been as good, if not better than the majority of the guys at my position. At my worst, I’ve had a couple of down years. Mainly one in particular where I wasn’t as good. In the NFL, the true mark of a great player is consistency. The guys that are able to win each and every single week are the guys that are, in the long run, going to get these types of honors and accolades.

This is a pretty honest assessment and there’s some truth to it. To me, when Kelce has been at the top of his game during his career, he’s the best center in the league. His athleticism allows him to do things no other center can. But he’s right; it hasn’t always been consistent. 

When he mentions that one particular year, Kelce is probably talking about 2016. He has previously called it the worst year of his career, which is funny because that’s actually when he made his second of three Pro Bowls. While ProFootballFocus isn’t perfect, Kelce’s grade that season was the lowest in his career (by a good margin) aside from his rookie campaign. 

But since that 2016 season, Kelce has been dominant. He’s been the best center in the NFL over the last three years, being named a first-team All-Pro in all three seasons. That’s an incredibly high level of sustained play that not even Pouncey or Mack can say they’ve attained. 

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Eagles' coaches to continue working at home despite NFL policy change

Eagles' coaches to continue working at home despite NFL policy change

In a bit of a surprising move, the Eagles have decided to keep their coaching staff sequestered at home, despite an NFL policy that would allow them to return to work at the NovaCare Complex on Friday.

The NFL is allowing coaches — but not players — to work at team facilities starting Friday, as long as local and state guidelines allow it.

But Doug Pederson is apparently so happy with the way virtual sessions between the coaches and players have gone over the past several weeks that he doesn't see a reason to bring his coaches into the building yet.

"The virtual collaboration over the past three months has proven that the contributions and value of our employees is not dependent upon their physical presence at the facility," the team said in a statement.

Many Eagles assistants don't live in Philadelphia year-round and the new coaches on Pederson's staff haven't had the chance to look for homes yet.

Because players aren't allowed into the complex — other than injured or rehabbing players — it wouldn't really change the way the Eagles are holding virtual OTA sessions.

The current set of offseason workouts is scheduled to end on June 25, and training camp is scheduled to begin about a month later.

The Eagles will be opening the NovaCare Complex and the Linc to a limited number of employees next week.  

"Over the last 12 weeks, our organization has remained connected, united and focused on our preparations for the upcoming season," the Eagles said in an unattributed statement. 

"We have been planning for and will begin a phased approach of gradually returning a limited number of employees to the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field beginning Monday in compliance with the state and local guidelines, NFL policies and in consultation with medical experts."

The Eagles closed the NovaCare Complex on March 13 and players and coaches have been meeting virtually since. 

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Drew Brees fumble highlights how much Carson Wentz nailed it

Drew Brees fumble highlights how much Carson Wentz nailed it

As we watch Drew Brees backpedal, apologize and now try to smooth things over with his teammates and his city, one thing is becoming clear. 

Carson Wentz nailed it. The first time. 

Wentz last Friday became one of the first high-profile white athletes in America to speak out about the killing of George Floyd. He stopped short of specifically calling out police brutality but he condemned “institutional racism” and his approach was one of understanding and empathy. It was honest, it was refreshing and it was unifying. 

Then there’s what Brees said. 

Brees in an interview on Wednesday reiterated his response from 2016 about the peaceful protests against police brutality and racial injustice once held by NFL players during the national anthem. Brees said he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” 

For Brees’s black teammates who have been fighting for racial equality, and for those affected by racial injustice, those words hurt. Not just because Brees completely missed the point of those protests but because of his complete lack of awareness. It hurt more because it came from someone they thought was an ally. 

Malcolm Jenkins on Thursday said he had spoken to Brees but he still posted his emotional responses to those comments. A strained Jenkins choked back tears as he talked about how much the words from Brees pained him. 

One of the big problems for Jenkins was the loss of trust. In an emotionally charged week, during which Jenkins has been trying to effect real change, someone he considered to be an ally, a friend, a brother, completely discounted the cause. 

To Brees’s credit, he did apologize on Thursday morning. While many will argue that his apology fell short in many areas, it’s at least a start to his rebuilding trust in the locker room and in New Orleans, where crowds of protesters on Wednesday chanted “F— Drew Brees!” Some will accept his apology, some will want to see more and some never will. 

For his sake and for the sake of his teammates, I hope the apology wasn’t hollow. I hope Brees learns why his words hurt so many. 

It’s hard to imagine Brees watching those videos of Jenkins and not wanting to rectify the situation. Imagine causing so much pain to someone you’re supposed to care about. 

While plenty of Saints players have spoken out against their quarterback’s words this week, many Eagles players have gained even more respect for their quarterback. DeSean Jackson earlier this week said his white teammates like Wentz, Zach Ertz and Jason Kelce stepped up. In that moment, Wentz wasn’t just a leader of a football team; he was a leader of the community. 

This isn’t about football right now. But eventually, there will be NFL games and it’s fair to wonder how these parallel situations will play out short-term and long-term in their respective cities. One team seems to be weaker because of this and one team seems to be stronger. 

While Brees caused what might be irreparable damage to the brotherhood of his football team and to his legacy in New Orleans, Wentz took a huge step forward as a leader of his locker room and the community. 

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