Eagles general manager Howie Roseman spoke shortly after the team made their final cuts announcement to get to the 53-man roster. It was the first time Howie has spoken since following the 2019 NFL Draft and he had a lot to say about why they made certain moves and what they are still trying to do ahead of Week 1.
Howie opened by saying:
“Today’s a tough day for us as an organization, we have a lot of players who have done a lot of good things. Every single person who was on that roster, we picked, we chose, and so having those conversations, they are hard. We obviously wish them the best of luck, but at the same time want to thank them for all their contributions.”
After opening the floor to questions, Howie acknowledged that they look at the roster as a 63-man roster, so they look at that and then who they want to keep on the 46 active roster. But, that they do still plan on making adjustments over the next day or so — with a practice squad to fill and players on waivers to claim.
On the offensive line
Roseman was asked about why he felt so much confidence in what is a pretty young group of guys. He noted that if you look at the starting group, that’s a group he’s really excited about, and then with guys like Big V who was able to perform as a starting tackle in the Super Bowl and then move over to guard and show his value there.
He also mentioned first-round draft pick Andre Dillard, who isn’t going to be starting for the team right away, but is a guy they have a lot of confidence in. Plus, the backups behind all those guys have versatility, and there’s a good combination of veterans and youth (who they can develop) on the offensive line.
On the tight end group
He was asked whether they would end up bringing in another tight end, not just on the roster for the active game day roster. Howie continued to say that a lot of things go into the equation, and again mentioned that they have versatility with the guys they have on roster, but that they are looking at what they need on both offense and on special teams.
Howie confirmed that they would definitely add a tight end to the 63-man roster, but they’ll see how the week goes.
On the RB cuts made
It was pointed out that the two running backs let go on Saturday — Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams — were the highest producers in 2018.
“Good players. And you’re talking about our leading rusher and a guy who played for us in the Super Bowl, so those are hard conversations to have. I think it’s just a testament to what we have in that room right, we’re really excited about that.
Jordan [Howard]’s had a tremendous offseason and you see his vision, his instincts, his power. And Miles [Sanders] really has come on, and getting Darren [Sproles] back and just what he can do, obviously in the passing game, as a returner, his veteran leadership. And then we talk about complimentary roles, and each room having complimentary roles, and Corey [Clement] really he can play all four downs, and he’s a heck of a special teams player and he looks 100%.
So, we like how all those guys play off each other.”
On keeping 5 safeties
Howie explained how they looked at the gorup they had, obviously starting with Malcolm Jenkins and the kind of player he is, and then getting Rodney McLeod back was huge. But also that Andrew Sendejo has been one of the biggest (good) surprises they had this offseason, and the way he carries himself, how he works and studies, and his athleticism, is all exciting for the Eagles’ defense.
And then with Johnathan Cyprien, they were able to see a role for him as they began transitioning from acquiring talent to figuring out what kind of responsibility they could take on. Howie acknowledged that this will be a different situation for Cyprien, who is coming from starting every single game he’s been available to play in, but now in that 4th safety role, the Eagles will need something different from him — including being a leader on special teams. But, they had that conversation with him and he embraces that role, and wants to help the team win.
And then Rudy Ford:
“Rudy for us was one of those guys on special teams jumped off the tape, and he can fill specific roles. We gotta get him right, and we will, and then when he comes back I think that our fans will see why we liked him on special teams. I mean, he had some speed, he can play some roles that we were really looking for through the offseason, so we’re excited about getting him.”
On the defensive ends
Howie smirked and said that they probably have a different opinion about their defensive end group than what is out there being reported. He went on to say that they look at the group, and Jim Schwartz is on record saying he’s excited about Derek Barnett, who is a good football player and will get an opportunity to start.
He also said that we all know what kind of player Brandon Graham is, and Vinny Curry looks better than he did two years ago and has come back with a renewed focus and energy. Howie also said they are excited about their young players too.
“And then we are excited about our young group. If you were scouting and looking around and saying what young defensive end had the best preseason, I don’t know that there’s a better young defensive end in football than Daeshon Hall this preseason. He deserves a tremendous amount of credit. He went and worked on his body in the off-season. He came back 30 pounds heavier, and then he proved it on the field.
Plus, he noted that Josh Sweat had a great camp and they expect him to contribute, and same with Shareef Miller. Howie also said that they have to be dedicated to developing young players, especially as they manage the salary cap situation and on-going contracts, they have to invest in young players.
On their draft class
Yeah, really excited about those three guys. It was funny, when I saw Joe [Douglas] on the field, I said, ‘Our first three picks have done really well.’ And he goes, ‘Our first three picks or our first three picks?’ He was kind of confused by the question.
But Andre [Dillard] has a chance to be a tremendous player and he has a great work ethic and he continues to work on anything that are perceived weaknesses. He has great feet. He’s really into it and he has maybe the best left tackle of all time to learn from. That’s really exciting, and for him, again, to be able to sit there and develop and learn, he’s above probably where we thought he would be at this time, which is really exciting.
Miles [Sanders] has a chance to really contribute to this football team this year. He has a great combination of feet and power. I think that one of the things that maybe it’s hard to realize until you see Miles in pads is how much power he plays with. He’s not afraid of lowering his shoulder, and really, he has some thump to him and so he’s a guy that’s going to get an opportunity to play here and contribute right away, and I think that’s exciting.
I think for J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside] to go out and have that third preseason game and you see kind of the skill-set that we looked at, tremendous hands, NFL body, knows how to play big, and again, what a great opportunity for him to learn from one of the best, big-body receivers in the National Football League in Alshon [Jeffery].
We are excited, but preseason is one thing. Now the lights come on and those guys will have an opportunity to prove it through the course of the regular season.
On specific players
Howie talked about how the goal of the offseason is to find as much talent as you can and add as many guys as you can who might be able to contribute, and then heading into the final roster cuts you really start trying to figure out specific roles and responsibilities for each player.
“Greg has done a tremendous job, and really I don’t have an answer of what he could’ve done more of, other than we’re trying to balance everyone we have at every position and what we’re looking for offensively, defensively, and on special teams. And sometimes it just comes down to looking for a specific role for that specific spot.
And when we look at the wide receiver room, what we were looking for, and what Greg had done on special teams and maybe what we were looking for from that 5th receiver on special teams, it just wasn’t something he had done.
You’re right, Greg had a tremendous summer.”
“When we made the decision to sign Josh [McCown], obviously that put Clayton in a tough spot and we look back at the position we’ve been in the past couple of years and that quarterback room, and just how Josh would fit in with Carson. Sometimes we forget that Carson is 26 years old, and Nate [Sudfeld] is a young player, and having that veteran in there with those guys, and you see the chemistry developing already. Really excited about that quarterback room, by the same token obviously then you let go of a fifth round pick.”
He went on to say that throughout the other 31 NFL teams, you’ll see cuts today from players picked higher and lower than the fifth round, and at the end of the day, they have to do what’s best for their football team.
“We’re not just going to keep guys on the team just because we draft them in a certain round.”
I think that when you talk about Treyvon, you’re right, Treyvon is an NFL-caliber player and that was a hard cut.
Again, I think that when you do this and you try to build a 90-man roster and you try to build a 90-man roster that’s really competitive and that has 90 guys who get an opportunity to play in the National Football League, it all sounds well and good until you get to this point and then you actually have to cut guys who have a chance of getting claimed and losing them and then you don’t feel so good.
I think we were just trying to look at the skill sets that we had at defensive end and defensive tackle and try to mix-and-match them and have a nice, complimentary skill-set.
[DT] Hassan [Ridgeway] and Treyvon are two different players. They are both good players, but they have different skill sets and our other defensive tackles have different skill sets, and we have some defensive ends who can reduce inside if we need that. We went a little heavy at defensive end, but these are not easy decisions. I think we struggled with a lot of these because of the type of players and people that we had to let go today.
- Howie wouldn’t get into any specific trade talks regarding Jadaveon Clowney but did note that they always look into any potentially available player.
- He also said that cutting Treyvon Hester was indicative that they think Fletcher Cox WILL be ready to go Week 1, which is important!