The Eagles are 4-8-1. While they’re still mathematically alive to potentially win the NFC East, it’s unlikely they’ll catch the surging Washington Football Team, wihch enters the week at 6-7.
But if you ask center Jason Kelce, Philadelphia shouldn’t just play a bunch of young players just because the team ostensibly won’t make the playoffs. While Kelce understands everyone has that curiosity — whether it’s players, coaches, or fans — he feels it’s not the most important thing for teams to think about.
“I think at all times in the NFL, the focus should be winning the football game. Nothing else takes precedence. No player evaluation, no amount of curiosity from anybody within the organization — everything is focused, in my opinion in this league, upon winning games,” Kelce said Wednesday, via video from Tim McManus of ESPN. “You see a lot of losing teams sustain losses for a number of years when they have bad cultures. They have cultures where you don’t try and win every week. Where you’re trying to think, ‘What are we going to do in the draft? What are we doing in free agency? What can we do over here?’”
Basically, Kelce is not here for any thought of tanking.
“In football — this isn’t basketball — one draft pick isn’t going to make us a Super Bowl champion,” he said. “It might be a big start to a Super Bowl championship. But it’s always going to be about the team. That’s the greatest thing about this sport. And in culture, and the way guys fight, and the way guys go to prepare, and the way guys go about their business is a huge reason for success in this league and in this sport.”
“So, nothing takes precedence over trying to win a football game. i don’t care who you’re trying to evaluate. I don’t care if you’ve lost every game, you’re 0-15 and it’s the last one you’ve got — everything is about winning in this league.”
Kelce’s perspective is exactly what it should be. Success and winning is what determines players’ careers. And he’s right in that teams with losing cultures tend to continue to lose.
But his words likely won’t stop the next team from doing what it can to secure a top draft pick, especially if that organization has long lacked a franchise quarterback.