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.”