By Peter Gleason
It’s hard to believe, but snowflake Eagles owner Jeff Lurie seems fine with the performance of general manager Howie Roseman, who, it has been reported, will keep his job even after this wreck of a season.
And the worst thing about Roseman, who has actually admitted that his goal in life as a kid was to be an NFL GM. is not his inability to spot talent to be drafted.
It’s not his inability to project player performance and reward it appropriately.
How else, after all, would DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery get those guaranteed $9 million contracts when their bodies were in no shape to get on the field.
No, it’s Roseman’s arrogance:
“The fact that we are where we are now, and we’re 4-11-1, to not sit there and review everything we’ve done and see if there’s a better way to do it, that would probably be ignorant. So, we have to do that,” Roseman said the other day.
“But by the same time, we have also been incredibly successful. Just because you have one bad moment doesn’t mean you’re not good at your jobs or you don’t have a good process. It happens in this business. Extremely humbling business. And we have to rebound from it, and we have to do better, and it starts with me.”
As The Athletic has pointed out:
It was unclear if the “one bad moment” referred to the decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson or the choice to use a second-round pick to concoct a quarterback controversy out of thin air. It could have been in reference to the selection of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or the trade-up for Andre Dillard or the second-round bet on an injured Sidney Jones. Maybe the bad moment was when the Eagles guaranteed Alshon Jeffery’s 2020 contract or expected a 33-year-old DeSean Jackson to solve their lack of speed. It’s possible Roseman could be alluding to a moment not seized upon, like when they passed on acquiring DeAndre Hopkins or Stefon Diggs.
And yet, the sentence that preceded the “bad moment” slip is even more troubling for Eagles fans. “We have also been incredibly successful,” Roseman said. Earlier in the news conference, he referenced the Eagles’ 35 wins, including the playoffs, from 2017-2019. Buoyed by the Super Bowl season, those 35 wins tied for the fourth most in the NFL during that three-year stretch. But it’s easy to pick endpoints to suit your argument. For instance, the Eagles’ 23 total wins from 2018-2020 rank 19th in the league, just behind the Browns and Cowboys. They have a losing record since winning Super Bowl 52.
Monday, when asked about the lack of young talent on the roster, Roseman referenced a “pivot” the Eagles made last offseason.
“I don’t want to blame this on the pandemic,” he said. “I think what we saw was we had an opportunity with having the only (NFC East) staff that was coming back to maybe make more of a run with veteran players than we were planning if we had an offseason program, if we had OTAs, and giving those guys the opportunities. Now there are a lot of rookies who played really well this year and again not making that as an excuse. But when we had some opportunities after the draft to kind of change this team, I think we went with some veteran players, and I think we did that because it was more short-term thinking.
“And we’ve put a lot of resources into this team in terms of money and free agents and trading draft picks, and there’s a time where – that doesn’t mean we’re not trying to win, but there’s a time you have to pivot and understand what you’ve been doing and make sure that you’re also taking care of the future of the team.”
Last January, after the Eagles ended the regular season with a four-game winning streak boosted by inexperienced players, Roseman called it “a great lesson” and said “I think that you have to let young players play.” Then, apparently, came the pandemic-induced pivot.
“We have a lot to do going forward,” Roseman said then, a few days following the season-ending playoff loss to the Seahawks. “When we look at our team from 2017 to 2019, we knew that we had one team. Really, a team that we were basically going to stick with. We didn’t have a lot of resources in terms of draft picks. That’s on me. We made trades for some veteran players to go win. We stick to that. We’re glad of those decisions. But going forward, we need to infuse youth in this team. We have 10 draft picks (in 2020). We think we’re going to have 10 draft picks in this draft and we’re excited about that.
“I know for me personally, one of my weaknesses is getting attached to our players. There’s no doubt about it.”
On February 27, 2019, Roseman spoke at the combine in the wake of the Eagles’ nail-biting divisional-round loss to the Saints. Again, he was asked about avoiding sentimentality.
“I think the hardest thing we have to do is separate the emotion from it,” Roseman said. “And, quite frankly, we’re an organization led by our owner and led by our head coach that emotion plays a part in some of the decisions we make. We get attached to our players because they do so much for us. I don’t know that that’s ever going to go away as long as this leadership’s in place and as long as we’re led by Jeffrey (Lurie) and Coach (Doug) Pederson. So, we try to balance those things, but it’s hard. It’s hard. In this day in age, it’s hard for guys to spend their whole career with one team. There is a lot of player movement. But I can’t tell you that with all of the evaluation that we do, and we do a lot of subjective and objective evaluations of our players, that at the end of the day those things don’t matter.”