A Cohesive Explanation of Jason Kelce’s ‘Accountability’ Comments
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Take it from someone who spends a fair amount of time behind a microphone, when you talk off the cuff sometimes your intended message doesn't pass through the multitude of filters that is the human condition as you desired.
Take Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce, who sparked 1,000 headlines by claiming the Eagles offense lacks "accountability," at least when compared to the 2017-18 Super Bowl bunch.
“It’s making sure that going into the game that you’ve repped it in your mind if you haven’t had the physical rep,” Kelce said. “This isn’t just players; it’s coaches, it’s everybody. Everybody takes accountability and makes sure everybody’s ready to go."
"And from a players standpoint, it’s on you to make sure that you’re watching the film, you’re doing everything during the week necessary to improve to make sure you understand the finer coaching points, every little detail so that when you’re in the middle of the game you’re not playing slow or apprehensive," he continued. "You know exactly what you have to do and go 100 percent and give great effort but it’s also on the coaches that all the guys are ready to go.”
From there it was almost like the light went off for the cerebral Kelce and he understood certain reporters would take that baton and speed off with it so the veteran figuratively rolled up his sleeves and started hacking into the weeds of context.
"I’m not saying, with accountability, that guys aren’t trying or that we’re getting bad effort or that we’ve got bad guys on the team,” Kelce explained. “That’s not the accountability I’m talking about."
Although you won't find cohesion or chemistry next to accountability on a standard Thesaurus, in Kelce's football lexicon they are one in the same.
"If you look last year, quite frankly, we were a different team, he said. "You had a guy like [tight end] Brent Celek, who was not only accountable for his position but he was a leader in the locker room and a guy that made sure that he had an aspect of what he had to know for game time. And he had been doing that for years and years and years. Then all of a sudden you go — Zach [Ertz] is the veteran leader there, but you have a rookie [Dallas Goedert]. You have another guy who played tight end for us a long time, Trey Burton — now he’s gone.
“The backs have not had the amount of game experience that LeGarrette Blount had last year. Jay [Ajayi] has been hurt. [Second-year player] Corey [Clement] is probably the guy who’s seen the most time of all those players. [reciver] Torrey Smith is a guy who played a lot of football for a lot of different teams.”
By that definition, Kelce was really talking about the loss of veteran players on the offense who didn't need to be taught how to do things in a professional fashion. But, the A-word was spoken and will spark more discussion in a click-bait world even if the guts of the story are far less sexy.
“When you have success, everybody’s doing everything the right way,” Kelce said. “When you lose, that’s when guys look to the veteran leaders to see how they’re responding. Are they doing everything the right way? Is everybody still in this together? Things like that.”
Malcolm Jenkins was handed the "accountability" word and little else so the veteran defensive leader was surprised.
“When did he say that?” Jenkins asked rhetorically before recovering. “Nah. ... Kelce probably sees things that, I don’t. But nah, that wouldn’t be my assessment. But I think his opinion, for him, is probably accurate.”
And boiled down even further Kelce's real opinion was a common-sense one, not an incendiary one.
“There was a much greater level of accountability from a cohesive standpoint of everybody working together [last season]," Kelce said. "And part of that is just the makeup of the team and guys having done this for a long time and knowing the ins and outs of the game.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen