Like DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant couldn’t get along with Chip Kelly


DeSean Jackson has received most of the attention, but he wasn’t the only wide receiver who was sent packing this offseason by Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

Jason Avant, who was cut by the Eagles in March, told the Charlotte Observer that he knew for most of the season that it would be his last in Philadelphia.

I knew that was coming maybe four games into last season,” Avant said. “When they stop calling your number and guys start running some of the routes that you run – I knew from the beginning that I didn’t fit his style of offense, in that I’m a crafty guy that gets open in an atypical way.”

Avant said Kelly had him running “mostly ran clear-out routes,” and Avant and Kelly did not see eye-to-eye about the way the receiver position is played.

“When it came to certain things, we butted heads sometimes – route running and route technique. So I knew I didn’t fit his system,” Avant said.

Now with the Panthers, Avant is getting along much better with his new coach.

“Jason does things exactly the way you want them – he’s a pro,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.

But Avant didn’t do things exactly the way Chip Kelly wanted, and in Philadelphia, if you don’t do things exactly the way Chip Kelly wants, you get sent packing.

138 responses to “Like DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant couldn’t get along with Chip Kelly

  1. “So I knew I didn’t fit his system” is player-speak for, “Coach had superior players at my position and chose to play them.” Jason, there’s a reason people are saying Cam Newton has NOBODY to throw to.

  2. Hey Jason, you are an average player in the NFL. You are a “dime a dozen” player. There is nothing but upside by letting you walk. The Eagles will definitely not suffer with the loss of you. Chip not caring for you or DeSean is where that comparison begins and ends. You should be a reliable receiver for Carolina with a few nice games sprinkled in there like in Phila.

  3. I’m pretty sure that in any work place if you don’t conform to the Boss’s way ” You get sent packing “

  4. DeSean Jackson opened up a lot of opportunity for the other receivers due to the coverage he was given.
    This is a work in progress to see if the Eagles can remain the same offense without Jackson. Moreover Chip Kelly and his offense may become infamous after a two year run in Philadelphia.

  5. The “tyrant approach” works great in the NCAA but has a long history of failure in the NFL. Ask Nick Saban how that worked out for him at the next level.

  6. In all honesty Avant would have been about 7th on the wide receiver debt chart if he remained in Philly. I liked Jason Avant but the last couple years his best attribute was as a locker room presence.

  7. Chip is trying to prove himself to the players, coaches and GM’s. He doesn’t want to be looked at as a gnomic college coach. He bailed on Oregon when it was being investigated for recruitment violations. His ego will be the reason he fails.

  8. I think there is a big difference between “getting along” and having a different philosophy on the WR position. So Avant didn’t fit his scheme… so you get a guy you think does.

    There is always turnover when a new coach comes in with a different scheme than the last. That doesn’t mean Chip doesn’t get along with players…

  9. sour grapes,he was ok for awhile but his time was up,i guess if Carolina was looking for a slow no yards after the catch guy they got there man and another 7 and 9 season

  10. Old, slow, dropped passes left and right. Replacing old, slow, inherited players who can’t catch a ball should be a theme with all NFL coaches. Why pay him upwards of 2 million when there are far better options that are far cheaper?

    Avant was a great teammate and an average football player. Matthews will make us all forget about him a few weeks into the season.

  11. I can see why some coaches have a “my way or the highway” attitude but at the same time the really good coaches take the time to listen to their players. Apparently Kelly doesn’t fall into the latter group.

  12. Avant was a mediocre receiver (with awesome hands) from a regime that is no longer there. CK has spelled out what he wants in a receiver and is making his team that way. Jackson and Avant didn’t fit that mold. This stuff happens all the time in the NFL. Now this is suddenly a referendum on how CK treats his players? Gimme a break.

  13. Boss tells you to do something, you do it, seems pretty simple to me Jason

  14. Or maybe, you just got old and slow.
    Doesn’t really matter. Avant has never been a burner by any sense of the word. What he is however is a reliable possession receiver with great hands who is big enough to catch passes in traffic and usually catches most of what is thrown at him. Still a pretty good receiver in my book, someone you’d want to have on your team rather then cutting him because he as a veteran was willing to disagree with his coach about the position he’s been playing for years. Obviously the player knows his strengths better than the coach, and coaches would be wise to put their players in a position to succeed by playing to their strengths instead of trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

  15. So if you dont play how your coach wants you to play, you can actually be held accountable in Philly?

    Why would Chippers do something so crazy like that?

    Child please…Avant is no spring chicken. He has been getting progressively worse for the last 3 seasons, and his supposedly “great hands” have dropped more balls than almost any other receiver in Philly.

  16. Chips attitude will come back to get him. He doesn’t have the Harbaugh or Carroll out of college attitude, he has the arrogant fat guy attitude.

  17. Chip has an approach that wants to just plug guys into his system and there really isn’t much room for individual styles. He has had success approaching it that way in the past but we will see how sustainable it is at the NFL level.

  18. Panthers are lucky to have him. He’s going to shine with Cam Newton’s style of play. This guy’s GOOD!

  19. He’s a paid professional…

    Do what your boss tells you to do, how he tells you to do it…

    He’s a #4 WR with an opinion… I would’ve cut him too.

    Thats’s like a receptionist having an opinion about the bosses spread sheet…

  20. Any new coaching regime is gonna remake the roster and systems they run their own way. Happens all around the league.

  21. A coach wanting things done his way is not butting heads. I loved having avants leadership on the eagles but having him on the team didn’t make them better or worse. He was a pro and had very very good hands but could never seem to get open. So maybe chip was onto something with the route running.

  22. Loved Avant as a 3rd or 4th receiver under Coach Reid but Chip wants versatile guys who do more than one thing well, not small receivers who run fast down the sideline but can’t block, go across the middle, or take a hit (Jackson) or slow, aging receivers who “get open in an atypical way” and make too much money for a role player (Avant).

  23. What other “professional” careers other than pro sports can you say “well my boss didn’t like the way I do my job”, as if it’s ok to do things your way instead of how your employer expects it to be done? And comments above like “good luck with that chipper” make it obvious that the issue is a societal one. Like we think working for an employer who we work for is a “partnership” and that both parties are on equal footing somehow. Its absolutely no wonder that younger generations don’t respect their elders, supervisors, teachers, parents etc…they feel they come into things on equal or greater footing and that their wants should be respected and adhered to.

  24. Kelly doesn’t tolerate mediocrity. And that’s the difference between coaches who go on to win Super Bowls and the Ron Rivera coaches who never do.

  25. I think it was more that your once sure hands started to fail you, Jason. You started dropping balls that were right on the money and especially in big spots.

  26. I loved Avant as a player, but come on, it was very obvious to anyone who watched last year the Eagles needed to upgrade.

    Players with declining skills usually don’t fit into too many team’s systems.

  27. You have a job to do and the coach is your boss. When you but heads and your a marginal player you don’t stay around. I like it when players think they make the rules and wonder why they don’t last long

  28. Ravens what equals clueless. The same guy who said Kelly ran a “gimmick” offense and would never win in the NFL. Avant can’ run after the catch and did not fit the system. Most people with even a monicker of football knowledge understand a new head coach comes in and makes personnel changes. Wonder why the Ravens weren’t interested in Jackson since they have one the worst receiving corps in the league?

  29. This team didn’t win with these guys playing in the “system” for years. Chip brings a different look,approach, and attitude. For it to work the players have to be “all in” as he has stated before. I have zero problem with this and applaud his approach. These players that get cut will find homes like Avant and Jackson did. Nothing wrong with bucking the trend in the NFL and trying something diiferent. #INCHIPITRUST

  30. OK, why keep anyone on the team that doesn’t fit the scheme?

    Only a loser coach would keep someone who does not fit his scheme. Why are we making a big deal about that?

  31. Funny to think that great receivers like Art Monk and Derrick Mason would’ve been sent packing by Chip Kelly because they relied so heavily on outsmarting defensive backs.

  32. Whether you got along with him or not, I don’t think you were a top 4 receiver talentwise on the Eagles with the addition of Mathews and Huff.

    Everyone get’s replaced eventually, especially WRs on the wrong side of 30.

  33. Avant is a class act, and a great locker room guy. His version of ‘butting heads’ is going to be way milder than most descriptions. He’s just gotten a bit long in the tooth and didn’t fit the system. But if you need a #3 or #4 and a good leader for a young team with a group of receivers that have little experience playing together- e.g. the Panthers- he’s your guy. Every Philly fan wishes him all the best.

  34. Ask my Dolphins how that worked for them? The best receiver went to the Bears and has done well.

  35. A coach and a player disagreeing on how they see things, what a shocker.

    At least Avant seems adult about the whole thing.

  36. YES he didn’t fit Kelly’s system does not mean didn’t get a long. So this is a misleading title for the story!

    He gets no yard after the catch. This is not a Knock on Kelly, or his system. It’s a reality of football. Some players are good fit and some are not based on a specific system.

  37. Don’t worry, Chip will just recruit new guys.

    Oh wait.

    You know Chip, if you weren’t 70 lbs overweight, guys might take your ‘hard work and dedication’ speeches more seriously.

  38. You wouldn’t hear a play say anything of the sort against the great Rex Ryan. All players love Rex and give everything they have to the NEW YORK JETS football team and the people of the greatest city in the world, New York.

    Top 5 coaches in the NFL
    1. Rex Ryan
    2. Andy Reid
    3. Mike McCarthy
    4. Jason Garrett
    5. Jim Harbaugh

  39. He’s always been slow, I say he’s gotten better with age. Doesn’t fill the stat sheet, but he moves the chains. HTTR

  40. Avant did do things exactly the way Chip told him to. However those things (clear out routes, blocking) didnt fit with the way Avant thought he should be used, but again he did what was asked. He knew that it was only going to last the year because going into last season the Eagles couldnt cut him (Maclin was hurt and Cooper was an unknown). At the end of the year the team parted ways so he could land with a team that was more his style (and shed his salary cap number). The media has to stop trying to make this more than a football decision. Neither side said they hated each other or that they didnt do what was asked. Making way too much out of this situation.

  41. Nothing wrong ridding your team of players that don’t for your style on and off the field. One thing though, there’s nothing wrong with that when you win.

  42. May have something to do with the fact that Avant couldn’t get open in a 1 on 1 situation if his life depended on it. Some of the best hands I have seen but thats where his skills stop.

  43. Umm, Avant has never been a big YAC guy, averaging 3.5 YAC for his career. While EVERYONE ELSE associated with the passing game had CAREER years in Kelly’s offense, his YAC actually went down to 2.5. Avants strength has always been tough catches in the middle of the field averaging 65% catches of passes he was targeted. Last year it went down to 50%.

  44. And what is wrong with chip Kelly cutting players that don’t fit his system? He is the boss isn’t he? I see nothing wrong with him cutting players that don’t fit his vision. Btw, didn’t Riley cooper fill in nicely in terms of production?

  45. Week 6 last year, every Eagles fan said this guy was terrible, wasn’t going to make it.

    Now the Eagles are already penciled in to make the playoffs…

    Do you really thing the NFC East will be as it was last year, which was historically BAD?

    Silly Birdgang. Everyone knows you’re the Empty Trophy Case Clan for a reason.

  46. 2 rules for football players 2 remember.
    1. The Coach is always right.
    2. If the Coach is wrong, refer to rule 1

  47. He was never open, dropped the easy pass, and made the circus catch. Carolina is the only NFL roster he could make.

  48. Doesn’t every coach want to run his system with his own players. This is not really unprecedented. Avant was a Reid guy and he less productive in Chip’s system than Ertz and Celek. Cutting Avant was understandable. But in being objective I still can’t understand why Jackson was cut.

  49. Avant is too slow man celeck is faster then him and celeck is not that fast, he just didn’t fit the system, it happens you know this is the NFL.

  50. jason avant has been a class act for his entire tenure in philly. while i won’t say it’s sour graped, his analysis of last season, however, is only one side of a two sided story.

    chip and the rest of the league are moving toward spreading the field. the slot receiver ala welker amendola has to consistently beat his linebacker or safety coverage. last year every other eagle offensive player flourished. and while jason is a willing blocker, he wasn’t getting the separation to allow foles to find him, and chip knew he could upgrade the position.

    and the eagles including the owner made sure to acknowledge jason’s professionalism, unselfish play, and outstanding character. so it was just business.

  51. So the two guys that don’t fit his offense are MeSean and a guy who runs ‘A-typical’ routes. While I personally liked both of them in the offense, you can understand why a coach may prefer others who will do the job he wants, and the way he wants it (don’t all bosses want that?)

    Because at the end of the day, if Chip doesn’t produce, he will be fired too.

  52. “and in Philadelphia, if you don’t do things exactly the way Chip Kelly wants, you get sent packing.”

    Why is this a problem, PFT? That is EXACTLY how I would want my football team run.

  53. “But Avant didn’t do things exactly the way Chip Kelly wanted, and in Philadelphia, if you don’t do things exactly the way Chip Kelly wants, you get sent packing.”

    And no other coach in the history of the NFL has gotten rid of a player that didn’t fit their system?! Astonishing! Chip keeps finding ways to change football. Next stop, the world!!!!

  54. Chip Kelly will be back in college within two years after he’s fired, BOOK IT. Hopefully the “empty trophy cases” enjoyed their cute little run last season.

  55. At Oregon I loved Chip’s fastbreak offense. In the NFL, I argued that his system could work in the league. I welcomed the spread offense to “slow to change”, cookie-cutter, corporate NFL.

    Now, as we start to see how the sausage is made, it calls for a closer look. Avant was praised by beat writers and players as a mature locker room asset. While every HC has the right/the duty to make changes in personnel to fit his scheme, but now we find that Jackson was not alone.

    Avant was viewed as a “good guy” and Jackson, a “bad guy”. Maybe now, DeSean won’t be viewed as the cancer people made him out to be.

  56. Seems to me Chip has a Mike Shanahan complex. It’s his way or the highway!

    Not the best way to build a championship team IMO, but the Eagles wouldn’t know anything about that since they’ve never won a Super Bowl

  57. Avant was a professional while in philly… A classy guy, not a game breaker, but a solid man doing his job.. I wish him the best, but it’s a business…

  58. If you don’t do things exactly the way your head coach wants, you get sent packing regardless of the team you’re part of.

  59. Like with anything it all boils down to wins and losses. If the Eagles win and their offense thrives, he’s a genius. But if they lose, have no vertical passing game, and Jackson and Avant have career years, then he’s the village idiot.

  60. Jason, buddy, we loved you in Philly, but come on, to say you lost a step is being beyond kind. Chip runs a fast offense, and you weren’t fast to begin with, last hear you couldn’t run to save your life. You’re beloved here, don’t let pride and hate taint a great career.

  61. If a coach doesn’t like how you play then you don’t play. And Rivera is just towing the line. He knows how the media is.

  62. The hard nosed ‘my way or the highway’ style leads to some near term, short term success. Once the results on the field begin to lag, the in your face business wears thin.

  63. Chip took over Andy’s roster and won in year one. That was just feeling out who was going to fit and who wasn’t. Now in year two he has more of “his guys” on the roster. Avant had a good attitude and locker room leadership but he was never anything special on the field. Chip wants the best guys on the field come Sunday and Avant wasn’t that, hence the head butting.

  64. People that keep saying that hes slow and didn’t fit the style of offense…yea maybe… but if you are looking for a fast receiver what sense does it make to let Jackson go? come on now.

  65. Jason is a great guy, but he appeared to be slowing down and new bosses always get more respect from guys they pick. He probably had a few philosophical differences with Chip, but I’ll bet he handled himself professionally in communicating his opinion.

  66. bobbyhoying says:

    Jun 25, 2014 10:25 AM
    Jason is a great guy, but he appeared to be slowing down and new bosses always get more respect from guys they pick. He probably had a few philosophical differences with Chip, but I’ll bet he handled himself professionally in communicating his opinion.


    Probably pointed to the sky after every difference of opinion…

  67. Avant & Kelly had differing opinions about the wide receiver position…how does that become they couldn’t get along? People can disagree and still work together.

  68. Remember Joe Gibbs used to have his character guys?? Donnie Warren, Green, Monte Coleman, Monk. He also had Dexter, Wilbur Marshall and, oh yeah! Gary Clark. Who was EXACTLY like Desean.. He’s blow up on the sidelines all the time! But You’d have no other receiver in his time go over the middle and make a play. He was a brutal receiver for his size.

    All that said, what matters is winning. If they start losing, he’s in the wrong city for that!!

  69. the knock on Jackson I keep hearing is he won’t go over the middle..well every reel i see the dude going over the middle a ton!

  70. Wow, you know it is the off season when this is even a story.

    I don’t see an issue with a coach building a team around players that fit his style, gof forbid they get rid of a 30+ year old slot receiver whose best year was 3 todays and 600 yards. Which by the way was 5 years ago.

  71. bornahawker says:
    Jun 25, 2014 9:15 AM

    Kelly is just a fad, 5-11 this year, the tape is out on his scheme. Bye bye birdie.


    The “tape was out on his scheme” after 3 games last year. Coaches don’t need a whole season to figure this stuff out.

    As they were lining up, right before the snap, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 0-linemen would tell their opponents that they were going to run the ball. And then they’d run it…right down their throats.

    Football is about execution.

    Avant couldn’t execute in Chip’s scheme.

    If anything, *he* was the beneficiary of Maclin’s injury, not Riley Cooper. Before Maclin got hurt, Avant was taking snaps at linebacker. He should be happy he has a job in the NfL at this stage of his career.

  72. I was really hoping the Bucs would grab Avant. While he may no longer be the slot guy, he is a high character guy who you could throw in to block. He also has a unique ability to sneak his way open as the third or fourth option. He would have been good depth and a locker room leader for a low price.

  73. Avant is a class act. He was surely answering a question honestly. But he forgot to add that, also, Riley Cooper throttled him out of his job by playing alot better than he ever has.

    Maclin, Mathews, Cooper, Ertz, Celek, Shady, Sproles… huff… these are all better options and it’s a business with one football to go around. Jason Avant will be successful in Charlotte. Chip did him a favor.

  74. This my way or the highway approach works for some coaches, and not for some.

    It worked for John Harbaugh, but Mcdaniels failed miserably when he got rid of players that didn’t “fit his scheme”.

    The next couple years will tell if Chip is a genius or just an egomaniac.

  75. If anything, I am surprised with the lack of turn over since Kelly has taken over. Most of the key players were here when he took over.

    Avant was a guy who’s cap number was too high 2 years ago, but was kept around because he was a good locker room guy. When his play fell of even more, which it clearly did last year, you couldn’t justify keeping him. I like the guy, but he’s a fringe guy to make any NFL roster at this point

    The only major change has been Jackson. Obviously his big play ability is going to be hard to replace, but he also disappeared for large chunks of time. Maclin will be back, and he’s been the best receiver on the roster since he got here (the numbers back it up, doubly so when Vick wasn’t the QB), with Sproles, plus the additions of Matthews and Huff, they will be more than fine on offense. Considering that doesn’t even mention the fact that I think their line is going to be much better, Lane Johnson is going to be better being over the rookie learning curve, Peters and Kelce are both a full year removed from major injuries. That line has the potential to be a beast unit this yaer

  76. Well Avant can look at it that way, but he was set to have a cap # of 4 Million this year for a guy who wouldn’t even be the 2nd best Slot receiver on the team. I mean realistically even if he hadn’t been cut was he really going to make a team that will only keep 5-6 receivers?

    Nah they are going for more 2 TE sets this year now that Ertz is comfortable with the offense. Plus Kelly wants guys who are 6 ft. 4 and up even in the slot.

    Avant has made it in the NFL of effort not true talent, although the guy has really great hands and he does run very good routes, but speed and size limit any upside.

    4 Million is a lot for any player running just clean out routes! (His words)

    Now that said Avant is a true pro, so best guess total media hype …….he knows it’s a business and I’m sure he respects Chip. After all this is the slowest month of the year for the NFL sports media and no arrest this week!

  77. Avant and DeSean are about as different as players (and people) as two guys can be. If neither of them could make it work with Chip, that says something.

  78. Jason Avant came out of college with 4.7 speed and is even slower now. Besides that, he has no YAC ability – he catches the ball and falls down. I’m pretty sure that’s why he is gone and not a difference of opinions on how to run routes. Avant was a good Eagle for a long time, but he doesn’t fit in the new high-speed offense.

  79. So Chip Kelly is a bad guy for releasing Avant because he wasn’t what he want and wasn’t “one of his guys”. But Rivera is a good guy for signing Avant because he WAS “one of his guys” from their time in Philly?

  80. Good luck Jason, the idea of a Philadelphia fan questioning any move Chip makes is gone. It’s amazing how many flaws in Jackson’s game suddenly surfaced after he was released.

  81. Chip Kelly has an ego… so what? So does Bill Belichick and he’s done well for himself. It’s okay to be a hater but don’t stretch for reasons to hate.

  82. Dear Philly Fans,

    I see a lot of jabs thrown at the panthers WR corp.

    Your #1 wide receiver is Jeremy Maclin(walking IR designation)

    Your # 2 wide receiver is Riley Cooper. (slower than Avant)

    That is all.


    Panther Nation

  83. I like Jason. He’s a good guy in the locker room as MANY have stated. But those who fail to adapt get left behind. At 49 years of age I still have to adapt or get swept aside. It sucks. It isn’t fair sometimes. But this is the world we live in. He’s a smart enough guy that I know he’s been able to stack some $$$$. Some of us aren’t as lucky. Make no mistake these guys are the cream and people pay to see them, not people like us.

  84. Chip Kelly might want to win a bit more, and keep winning. Because he’s about to look a lot like Greg Schiano did in Tampa Bay when players quit buying in to his methods. There comes a time when the “my way or the highway” tune leads players to choose the highway…mentally if not physically. Don’t forget, Chip is just one season away from College, and didn’t do anything in the playoffs.

  85. Come on Jason…. I thought you were better than this… 3Rd most on team as targeted receiver, but that must be how Chip phases a receiver out or Foles really liked those clear out routes

  86. I love how everyone acts like theres a problem here. Every player on the eagles CURRENT roster rave about chip Literally every single day. I love djax and avant (especially admire avant as a person) but the only 2 people with any bad blood are the 2 people he cut, sounds like bitching. Avant didnt fit the system, djax was too expensive. I will take the array of praise from a 90 man roster over 2 people who USED to play for this team. Keep hating tho everyone who has to play chip this season and is wishing there was a problem. Bunch of gossip girls. Dallas sux.

  87. “Or maybe, you just got old and slow”

    You mean old-er and slow-er. He was never a speed burner to begin with. Jason Avant had an unremarkable but reliable career with the Eagles. I expect that he’ll do the same with the Panthers for a couple of years until they let him go. The Eagles did not lose anything by cutting him. Any influence he had in the locker room is overrated. Someone who makes plays on the field is much more valuable. The Eagles have players who can do better at his position than Avant did.

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