The Eagles’ coaches and front office are in Indianapolis this week to take a look at draft prospects at the NFL Combine, and we heard from both Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman for the first time this offseason on Tuesday.
Roseman then called into 94WIP on Wednesday morning to talk a little more about the Alshon Jeffery rumors, the Jadeveon Clowney hit on Carson Wentz, and how they’re looking to build the team moving forward.
The Eagles GM opened by talking about how much he loves the Combine and looking at the young talent, but also that the event is one of the few chances he gets to talk and meet with other GMs around the league to start gearing up for free agency and potential trades.
On his team-planning long term
Roseman mentioned on Tuesday that his plan for this offseason is different than the past few seasons. Now that they have more draft picks (10), they’re able to look a little more into the future rather than having a win-now mentality — although, he emphasized that they still want to win now.
“I just think there’s different areas of team building, and when we were in 2016 and 2017 we had a quarterback under a rookie contract, and so we were able to build our team differently because of that. And now, as we go forward, obviously we gave Carson [Wentz] an extension, we have a very highly paid defensive tackle, a couple of offensive lineman who are making a lot of money, so we have to figure out a different way to add talent.
It can’t always be that we’re going to go on the free agency market and do that. We also didn’t have a lot of picks. And we did that, we made some short term decisions — which I would do 100 times out of 100 times, again — to win a championship.
And so, I just think that was our championship run, and that was kind of a period of time for the Eagles, and now we’re building a different period of time. It’s stuff like, we’re excited for some of our young players, like Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders. Our vision is that they’re on the field the next time we’re playing in a Super Bowl and the confetti falls on our heads.
We just want to make sure we’re not doing a disservice and putting too many eggs into one basket for one year, opposed to looking at our team over a period of time.”
He later explained that the long list of injuries they suffered last year will affect how they move forward personnel-wise, but in a good way. Roseman said that there’s only so much they can control, but they do have to make some changes to avoid having the same issue year after year.
Roseman also talked about their immediate needs this offseason, and mentioned that protecting the quarterback is their No. 1 goal, and they’ve invested a lot into the offensive line. But, they also then need to make sure Wentz has enough weapons and playmakers at his disposal.
“We don’t want to look back on Carson’s career and feel like this guy didn’t have the help at all times necessary to try to be at his best.”
On defense, their priority it getting after the quarterback, but they also have to get better at protecting against the deep passes thrown against them.
On veterans like Jason Peters and Malcolm Jenkins
Howie said that they’re voices being so important in the locker room is part of the whole package and is definitely part of the stuff that they weigh when making those contract decisions.
“We want to have a team full of leaders. But, at the same time, you also want to develop your younger leaders and allow them to have a voice. You have to give people the opportunity to do that too, and at times, when there are powerful leaders — I’m not talking about these two guys in particular — those guys kind of defer.”
He noted that it also happens in the front office. They’ve had Joe Douglas go and get a GM job, and then Andrew Berry get a GM job, so now vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl has to step up.
On the Alshon Jeffery situation
Q: What about the other way? If there’s a player in that clubhouse that may not be creating the right chemistry, and I’m referring directly here to Alshon Jeffery because there’s been a lot of speculation, does that weigh in your decision whether to keep somebody or to let him go?
ROSEMAN: Well, I would say this, in particular about this. I think that we’re around these players, all of our players, every day. We live with them. We’re married to them. So, we have a good sense of who’s doing the right thing, who cares, who doesn’t. We’re not perfect on that, Angelo, I’m not saying that. But I think that we’re married to these guys. And that’s one of the things about free agency, and we do this, and I know Joe Douglas talked about it a little bit, that we make sure when coaches come in, that they download about the players because they’ve lived with them. If you know someone, it’s like dating. Until you really live with someone, until you marry them, you don’t know how they’re really going to act. They’re always going to be on their best behavior. You’re not really sue. You use those as a resource. And so we know these guys, we know what are kind of deal breakers and what are not. And so I think we have a good sense of that on our football team.
On the Jadeveon Clowney hit that concussed Carson Wentz
“I think it’s clear that I watch the games, very similar to our fan base, because I can’t control anything. I’m up there and I turn into the most passionate Eagles fan there possibly can be. I don’t want to compete — there’s a lot of them — but I’m in that group.
We thought that was a foul. We’re sick to our stomach about how the season ended for our team, for Carson in particular, but we’re not in a position to lose draft picks. I can’t do that.
So you got me in a situation where I’m going to say something and we’re going to lose draft picks, we’re going to lose money — I can’t do that, that doesn’t make sense.”