Forget for one minute all the recent questions about DeSean Jackson's life off the field, the most scandalous of which have yet to be substantiated. Let's also not spend much time debating the arrogance that led Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly to believe his offense didn't need its best wide receiver anymore. The most interesting aspect of Jackson's new three-year deal with the Washington Redskins has little to do with those things. Instead, it has everything to do with a franchise that has been largely dysfunctional ever since Daniel Snyder purchased it in 1999.
Anybody who thinks Jackson's arrival in Washington is destined to be a roaring success is in need of a serious reality check. He's a highly emotional player with a history of losing his focus and driving coaches crazy with his mood swings. Jackson became a star in the NFL because his first head coach -- Andy Reid, now with the Kansas City Chiefs -- knew how to relate to one of the most explosive talents in the league today. Jackson also became expendable in Philadelphia, after his best statistical season, because Kelly doesn't have much interest in going out of his way to do the same.
The question the Redskins have to answer today is whether they have the requisite leadership to get the best out of Jackson. It says here that they most certainly don't. Their new head coach, former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, hasn't even met his entire team yet. Their star quarterback, Robert Griffin III, went from being a media darling to an alleged diva in about the same time it takes him to cover 40 yards. Finally, there's Snyder, a man who runs through coaches the way George Clooney runs through girlfriends, and rarely hits it big when signing a star free agent.
This is a place where Jackson is going to soar? For all the speculation over how dynamic the Redskins' offense will be -- with Jackson joining Griffin, running back Alfred Morris and fellow wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts -- we should be spending more time discussing how long it will take for this entire operation to blow up. We have no idea if Gruden has the ability to coexist with Jackson (and remember, this is a coach who spent the past two years working with A.J. Green, a low-maintenance star receiver in Cincinnati). Even further, we have no clue how Gruden will interact with Griffin.
The last time we checked, there had been no clear explanation as to what role Griffin played in the disaster that was his relationship with Gruden's predecessor in Washington, Mike Shanahan. The bulk of the blame landed in Shanahan's lap, but there were plenty of accusations that Griffin and Snyder were so cozy that the owner appeared to have a man crush on his star quarterback. Griffin also had a habit of delivering perfectly ill-timed public comments that opened up all sorts of questions about his respect for Shanahan. It's fair to wonder whether Griffin will feel even more emboldened to use similar tactics if he doesn't like what he sees in Gruden.