Andy Reid still sees no reason to say anything to anyone about the Eagles 2011 season, but general manager Howie Roseman is speaking.
He is with other members of the Eagles organization (not including Reid) in Alabama to scope out possible draft picks at this year’s Senior Bowl. Interviews from Roseman with the Daily News and CSNPhilly left me with opposite impressions of the GM. The former made me think, hmm, maybe he gets it. But the points brought up to CSN’s Reuben Frank sounded largely like the usual chatter from teams wanting to put a positive spin on a disappointing season.
I’m sure you’re wondering, and no, Roseman did not weigh in on Juan Castillo or the defensive coordinator position. He gave no insight into what will happen with notable free agents like WR DeSean Jackson and DT Cullen Jenkins.
But he did take about the perception that the Eagles have an inability to drafting notable talent at the linebacker position.
“We don’t devalue that position,” Roseman said. “Have there been opportunities that maybe haven’t worked out, because maybe a player gets picked right before we picked, and we’re in negotiation to sign someone and it doesn’t work out? No doubt about that. That’s something we’ll look at, like we’ll look at all areas of the team. We’re not sitting here and saying that we don’t want good players at all positions. Obviously, there are 22 spots, and you can’t have superstars at every position . . . It’s not a buffet. You can’t have everything you want.”
Not a buffet. Good line, Howie. It’s understood that you can’t address all of your needs each and every draft. But linebacker issue is something that has been avoided for a while now. Let’s hope it can be fixed in this April’s draft.
The Daily News‘ Les Bowen noted that Roseman seemed to indicate that the Director of Player Personnel position, a position left vacant by Ryan Grigson, may not be replaced until after the draft, as the best possible candidates will not become available until that time. From Bowen:
Though Roseman held open the possibility of promoting from within, the clear inference was that he is interested in filling the vacancy left by Ryan Grigson’s departure to become GM of the Colts with someone steeped in a different culture, with a fresh perspective.
“Just like with players, if there was an opportunity to improve ourselves, we’d look at that,” Roseman said. “We’re going to try to look there at all the options and not make any rash decisions . . . We’ve brought in some people [over the past few years who are candidates] and we’re looking at some people who can help us in the short term as well.”
Now that’s a response I like…if it is true. One of the biggest criticisms of the Eagles front office is its arrogance–doing perplexing moves (like being hell-bent on naming Casey Matthews a starter at MLB when it was clear he wasn’t ready, the Castillo move…) with such conviction that the perception to many is that they think they are “smarter” than everyone else. The only way any person, player or organization can truly improve is to be honest with themselves about their shortcomings and make strides to address and correct them.
We will wait to see if this happens with the Birds in 2012.
We’ve all wondered how the specter of the Giants making it to the Super Bowl has played to the Eagles front office. Roseman gives a response much less acidic than our own feelings on the matter.
“The Giants have been doing the same thing they’ve been doing for years, and they’ve had a lot of success with. Obviously, they’ve got a great pass rush, and they’ve gotten great quarterback play, and they’re hitting on all cylinders at the right time,” Roseman said. “That’s why we always [say], if you give yourself an opportunity to get into the playoffs, anything can happen. They’re a great example of that.”
Here was Roseman’s response to CSNPhilly on the same topic.
“I don’t like to talk about, ‘What ifs,’” Roseman said Tuesday. “We were 8-8, and we have work to do. We’ve got to look at everything we’re doing and make sure we evaluate it honestly and learn from our mistakes. We’ll study everything around the league, the way everybody else does things, and we’ll get better.
“I’m not going to sit here in a bubble and say, ‘We’re so great.’ When we look back, there are things we wish we had done better. I can get better, we all can get better.”
Another comparison with the Giants was made with Roseman–that of the performance of Jason Pierre-Paul versus Brandon Graham, who was drafted a few spots about Pierre-Paul and has produced far less for Philadelphia.
I will note that I don’t think this is an entirely fair comparison to make at this stage, as unfortunately Graham was coming off of a major injury during the 2011 season.
“That was a pretty significant injury, and Brandon had microfracture and ACL surgery, so we knew he wasn’t going to be 100 percent this year,” Roseman said. “He’s a talented guy. He’s got great ability, and this is going to be a big year for him, and he knows that.”
Related to the team’s 2010 picks, Roseman noted that the draft class was significantly impacted by the fact that they had no offseason due to the lockout, so the usual gains seen between the first and second years in the NFL were stunted.
Roseman provided some insight into the Eagles’ draft strategy:
“In the NFL, you can never anticipate your needs three years out because of the nature of the league and the way things change,” he said. “You just want to make sure you’re true to your board and really do draft the best available player.
“Hitting on any draft pick is a 50-50 proposition in the first round and that number goes down in each round. If you try to limit who you’re drafting to a certain number of positions, you’re hurting your odds even more. You have to be careful. If you come out of a draft saying, ‘We filled all our needs,’ you probably didn’t have a very good draft.”
I hear what you’re saying, Howie, but you’re still going to need to go in early on a linebacker in the early rounds, mmkay?
Here is where Roseman got a little too rah-rah for my bitter, broken heart:
“It always starts with your head coach and quarterback, and we are so fortunate to have Andy Reid and Michael Vick in those spots, and we feel like that gives us a chance,” he said. “We need to get better, but I do feel like we have good players, and in the next few months, we’ll have the opportunity to upgrade in all the areas we feel like we need to.
“There’s a lot of optimism here. Everybody in the building (NovaCare Complex) is very excited about where we are.”
The Birds definitely have a lot of talent to work with in 2012, and I do think the team will be a force in the NFL. But I’ll save full-on optimism for a little while down the line, once the draft occurs and we see what happens with free agents…and there is finally clarity on that DC position.
In news about other Eagles coordinators, it seems that offensive coordinator Marty Morhinweg will be in Philadelphia a little while longer. The head coaching gig for which he interviewed in Oakland went to Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.