Kelly downplays DeSean's sideline spat

apchipkellydeseanjackson.jpg

Kelly downplays DeSean's sideline spat

The sideline incident Sunday between DeSean Jackson and his position coach looked tense on TV (see story), but Chip Kelly said Monday it’s not a polarizing issue for the team.

Kelly downplayed the tirade that occurred after Nick Foles had thrown a third-quarter interception to Shaun Prater on a pass intended for Jackson. After the play, cameras caught wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell yelling something at Jackson and the irate receiver needed to be restrained by teammates.

Kelly said he spoke with Bicknell and would talk to his Pro Bowl wide receiver Tuesday, when players come back to the NovaCare Complex after their day off.

“Yeah, we handle all those things,” Kelly said. “I talked to Bobby. I’ll talk to DeSean, and we'll get things straightened out. It's not as big a deal as I think everybody wants to make it out to be.”

Asked if he was concerned about Jackson’s reaction, Kelly just said his receiver was venting some frustration.

“We threw an interception and [teammates were] just trying to calm him down and get on to the next play,” Kelly said.

Kelly didn’t get into details about the argument, but it’s a safe assumption that Bicknell either wasn’t happy about Jackson’s effort to try and break up the interception or the wideout’s pursuit of Prater on the 30-yard return.

Kelly suggested that Jackson didn’t see the ball get picked off as the receiver’s momentum carried him toward the end zone.

“We're running a tiered route over there with Riley [Cooper] going over the top. And DeSean running up and out over there. Didn't anticipate that was going to happen,” Kelly said. "[Nick] tried to get the ball in there earlier, but we're not trying to throw it that way. Usually it's a clean throw, or when you turn your head and you're wide open, you're not looking ... I'm not looking at you as a defensive back, I'm looking back at the ball.”

It’s hard to question Jackson’s effort. He had 195 receiving yards, the second-highest total of his career, on a career-best 10 catches. He also set a career high for receiving yards in a season with 1,275, and trails only Mike Quick (1,409 yards in 1983) and Irving Fryar (1,316 in 1997) for the franchise record.

In the fourth, Jackson turned a routine short catch on the left side into a 51-yard gain with a series of jukes and stutters that made three Vikings miss. He also had a rushing touchdown negated by an illegal block from Foles.

But Jackson has often let his emotions get the best of him in games. It’s not uncommon for him to get into shoving matches or verbal spars with opposing defensive backs.

Kelly said his players still have to learn how to keep their poise during adversity.

“That's part of what being a competitor is, that you have to learn how to play with emotion but not let emotion play with you,” he said. “No matter what goes on, we still have to keep our poise out there. We have to be able to play the next snap. If we do have a bad play, we need to move on to the next play.

“We can't let the last play affect us on the next play. That's a lesson for all of us to learn. Just like we can't let the Vikings game affect the Bears game. That's easier said than done for all of us. And that is kind of what we talk about all the time. But you still have to live it.”

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

The most impressive thing about the Flyers' 4-0 preseason win over the Islanders on Tuesday night was the play of the their young defense and the outstanding work by the penalty kill.

Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers each gave a strong accounting of themselves while veteran Andrew MacDonald proved why experience helps with some terrific PK work during an extended five-on-three Islanders power play in the third period.

“Overall, they did a good job,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I look at some of the opportunities we gave up, especially in the second period, we gave up three or four Grade A opportunities that Mase (goalie Steve Mason) was great on, but I put those on our forwards.

“We’re still not into regular-season form on our play without the puck. I thought as a whole, the group of defensemen did a good job and the young guys in there were good tonight.”

Sanheim had strong plays the entire game from the point and picked up two assists (see highlights). He gets the puck quickly on net and joins the play up front.

“It took me a little bit, even in this game,” Sanheim said. “As I play more, I started to jump up more and you start to see my game more. It’s something I want to bring to this next level.”

Provorov logged 21:43 of ice time following nearly 29 minutes at New Jersey. He had 5:17 on the PK. Some of his clears weren’t deep or hard enough, at times, possibly because of fatigue.

He also took a bad boarding hit on Joshua Ho-Sang in the third period that set up an Isles five-on-three power play. It became extended because of a trip call to Myers but MacDonald did yeoman’s work on the extended PK.

Provorov quarterbacks the first-unit man advantage for now until Shayne Gostisbehere joins the crowd. He had some very skillful passes. The Russian can find the seam up the ice on the breakout quickly and had a no-look, hard pass to Nick Cousins in the second period for a quality one-timer on net.

Expect Provorov to handle the second-unit power play during the season, should he make the roster.

The goals
Although the Flyers, using a better NHL lineup, were lacking for offensive chances early against the Isles' "B" squad, they found their way in the final four minutes of the opening period.

First, Dale Weise had one of those pinball goals as a bouncing puck hit a couple of players in the slot, including goalie Chris Gibson, to make it 1-0 during four-on-four play.

That was the Flyers' first goal of preseason in three games. A little more than a minute later, Wayne Simmonds scored off a rebound just as a Flyers power play ended. Simmonds had two goals in the game, including a wrister from the left circle to open the final period.

Smallish (5-foot-7) — but bullish — centerman Andy Miele, a former Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s top player (Miami-Ohio), made it 3-0, out-battling Thomas Hickey for the rebound of Michael Raffl’s shot.

The shield
Simmonds is wearing a visor for the first time. It’s an experiment for now.

“Everyone is all over me about it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. It wasn’t too bad tonight. The only thing is trying to track pucks in the sky when you are getting the glare from the lights. A little bit of an adjustment."

He said neither his mother nor girlfriend had pushed him as hard to wear the shield as someone else: “Ron Hextall,” he said flatly. “He gave me a call.”

Because of his tenacious play in the slot where sticks are high and pucks are deflected, a shield makes sense.

“Yeah, I think so, being that front guy and doing work on the PK,” he said. “Getting sticks in lanes like that, the game is really fast and pucks get deflected.

“Sometime you don’t know where they’re going and can’t react to that. Obviously, the shield is good for that."

He added he would wear the shield in a fight, too.

“Every time I fight and someone has a shield on, I’m at a disadvantage so I guess this evens it up,” he said.

Loose pucks
Weise did a nice job sticking up for teammates late during a melee after a Ben Holmstrom crosscheck to linemate Nick Cousins. “It was a bad crosscheck and you’re defending your teammates,” he said. “The ref was in the way and I kind of went overtop him. That’s what I’m about. Guys take liberties on my linemates, I’ll stand up for them.” … Matt Read had just 6:54 ice time through two periods. Fourth-liner Boyd Gordon had more ice time there — 9:39 — but Read finished with 13:55 to Gordon’s 13:41. More than half of Gordon’s ice time was on the penalty kill. … Goalie Steve Mason faced some point-blank chances among the first 17 shots he faced and finished with 23-save shutout.  

Carson Wentz named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Carson Wentz named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Another week, another award for Carson Wentz.

This time the Eagles' electrifying rookie has been named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Steelers.

In the 34-3 win over Pittsburgh, Wentz completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 125.9. It was the first 300-yard game of his very young career.

Wentz is the first rookie QB in Eagles history to win an Offensive Player of the Week award, and the first Eagle to win NFC Offensive Player of the Week since Jeremy Maclin in Week 9 of the 2014 season.

Through three games, the 23-year-old has completed 64.7 percent of his passes for 769 yards and five touchdowns. He's the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to achieve those stats in the first three games of a career. He still hasn't thrown an interception in 102 passing attempts, which is a record for rookies.

It looks like Wentz will have plenty more opportunities for awards this season.