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Inside the world of a general manager with Dan Hatman

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Fireside Chats #11!

What does a general manager actually do? It’s a little bit of everything and it takes a sharp mind to keep every plate spinning efficiently. Pat Kirwan has experience in the front office world of the NFL and once had this to say about the difficulties of the job:

“Running an NFL franchise isn’t easy. Can you evaluate personnel, manage a salary cap, negotiate contracts, select a head coach, handle the media, make tough decisions, cooperate with an owner, deal with the league office and, most importantly, carry out a vision for a winning franchise? If so, then you qualify for the job.”

To help me better understand the responsibilities, I did two things. First, I read Dan Hatman’s Masters thesis on the topic. Next, I spoke to Dan for Fireside Chats #11 on BGN! We covered a range of topics that also included a preview of the challenges facing Joe Douglas as he begins his journey as the New York Jets general manager. We also tapped into his experience with the Philadelphia Eagles organization to discuss how they could move on from his departure.

When I asked Hatman if a rash of departures would hurt the Eagles, he had this to say:

“The vast majority of these people were brought in via Joe Douglas. If Joe’s relationships helped set the table for these people coming in… people talk about this, this is like the all-star team. People in the scouting community talk, he went out swinging for the fences on all this.

This was not a, ‘oh we’ll bring in any random 23-year old who worked down the road at Temple and then two years later as long as he doesn’t screw up the coffee order, we’ll promote him to scout’. He went out finding people that had 10-plus years and real credibility in the space.

Jeffrey Lurie being the kind of owner he was was like ‘okay, sure I will put resources behind that if you think it’s in the best interest of the club’. Gotta give Jeffrey huge props for that, because again I’ve been in buildings and I’ve definitely heard about buildings where that would never happen…

They have the most robust, compensated, deep bench, film evaluation staff of any team in the league… they just invest in everything, I mean that to me is the beauty of it; they’re not investing in one thing, they’re investing in everything.”

As it turns out, with the promotion of Andy Weidl to Vice President of Player Personnel it looks like the Eagles bench will stay deep. There were several other key promotions of rumored depatures, including Ian Cunningham (Assistant Director of Player Personnel), Casey Weidl (Director of Scouting Operations).

It was expected that the Eagles would lose Douglas, but what wasn’t expected was them being able to retain just about all of the other pieces that had strong links to Douglas. It’s looking like the best-case scenario for future stability.

Join me and Dan Hatman of The Scouting Academy as we talk about the front office machinations in the NFL by listening to Fireside Chats #11! You can tune in on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts? Check out our guide on how to listen to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!