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Howie Roseman talks through the Eagles’ 2020 roster cuts

Plus, the GM explains the differences in building a roster among a pandemic.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Eagles made roster cuts on Saturday and the team’s Executive Vice President/General Manager, Howie Roseman, spoke to reporters about some the team’s moves and the changes to building a roster among a pandemic.

Here’s what the GM had to say:


On Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

It became obvious early on in camp that Sidney Jones wasn’t going to win the other starting corner position over Avonte Maddox, as he was still fighting injuries. Despite being a second-round pick for the Eagles in 2017, Roseman said that when making roster decisions, he tries not to factor in where they were drafted.

“I think that one of the things I’ve learned from some of the great general managers in this league is they understand when it is time to kind of move on, and I’m not just talking about that in regards to Sidney or any of the draft picks we let go today.”

Roseman doesn’t, however, regret the risk they took even knowing Jones’ injury history. They are going to be aggressive and take chances, and if they’re wrong, they’ll learn from it. He noted that it’s hard to hit on all draft picks, but if you look at their track record, they’re more right than wrong.

The GM said he didn’t think it was fair to talk about Sidney Jones specifically, and with the limited training camp, they didn’t have as much opportunity to evaluate him as they would have liked.

“That doesn’t mean that he can’t be a good player going forward. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a good player going forward. That doesn’t mean we’d ever rule out bringing him back, but I think right now we have to make decisions that maybe are a little different than if we were in an ideal world.”

When asked about the release of Rasul Douglas, Roseman talked about Craig James and how he had done a nice job for them on special teams, and rose to the occasion each week in training camp that they let him go against better players. And then with their new additions of Nickell Robey-Coleman and Darius Slay, plus Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc, there just wasn’t a role for Douglas.

“ think it was a hard decision for us. I told him that when I met with him today, because there are things that he does well. But I think that, you know, we kind of changed the complexion a little bit of that corner group. And again, he’s another guy that we wouldn’t rule out bringing back if the opportunity arose.”

On Jason Peters and the LT position

Head coach Doug Pederson was asked last week why they wouldn’t move Jason Peters back to left tackle with the season-ending injury of Andre Dillard. He mentioned that Peters is doing a great job at right guard, and they have players — Matt Pryor, Jordan Mailata, and now Cordy Glenn — who could step into that role.

Roseman echoed Pederson’s answer, and also tried to downplay any rumors that Peters isn’t agreeable to move back to his former position.

“You know, in terms of Jason Peters, the guy has been here 11 years, right? We made the trade in 2009, so 11 years. I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who cares more about the team, bleeds green, cares about protecting players on and off the field, doing whatever it takes.

So like this whole conversation about Jason that I guess is out there that like he doesn’t want to do this or he doesn’t want to do that or there’s stubbornness on one side or another; the relationship with us and him has been special. The thing that you see when you see Jason Peters is that he can really do anything.

So obviously he has played left tackle at a high level, at a Hall of Fame level and then you watch him play right guard and he’s doing an amazing job there and we’re used to having a Pro Bowl quality player at that spot, too.

I think for us, we know that we have to look at all these options and figure out what’s in the best interest of the team and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re looking at all those options. I know Jason was here this morning on an off day and he’s excited and we’re excited.”

On building a roster with new rules

Roseman talked about how COVID has changed the focus and importance of building the practice squad, and how that was one of the reasons they made their cuts earlier this year. They didn’t want to be sweating out moves at the last minute and wanted to have some certainly about which guys might be claimed and who they could bring back.

I think you’ll see more vets on the practice squad than normally you would because we have to have those guys on the practice squad prepared and ready to play, so some of the things that we’re doing here are in preparation to have maybe more ready-made guys where it’s not as much developmental as it has been in the past.”

He also talked a bit about the new rules for the expanded practice squad and IR designations, and how it’s dramatically different – as has been this whole offseason. They typically dive into preseason tape of guys throughout the league, but without that, they’ve really had to evaluate their own talent in front of them.

At the same time, it’s also a little bit of a game of chicken, because some of these guys that are cut, and we don’t know them as well as we would maybe by having some exposure to them. It will be interesting to see what happens with claims, as opposed to in years past and what people are doing, because it’s not like you can claim a guy and get him on a plane and he’s in your building on Monday.”

On injured players

  • They decided to activate Alshon Jeffery from active/PUP because they anticipate he’ll be ready to return before the seventh game and they want to get him back as quickly as possible.

“Obviously with these new rules, there’s some ways you can get guys up off the practice squad for game day, which is new for us. So, he’ll be inactive until then working towards it. Alshon has come back with incredible energy. He’s in great shape. He’s motivated to win and be part of it. We are not actively shopping him, as reported. But I think for us, you know, let’s get the good player back as soon as possible. I’m not telling you that he’s ready for week one, but we definitely anticipate him being ready before that PUP period.”

  • The GM was also asked about using the short-term IR designation, and while he wouldn’t say exactly who they would use that on, he hinted that it was either Jalen Reagor or Will Parks. Roseman said they wanted to communicate their plans with the player first, and they were working to get to 53 before handling those things.
  • Roseman said that placing Brandon Brooks on PUP vs IR was a procedural thing since he was injured before training camp, rather than a sign that he would be back before the end of the season.

“I’d say this about Brandon: I wouldn’t put anything past that guy. That guy, everything he does is like special. At the same time, don’t want to put any extra pressure on him. That’s not what I’m trying to do here.”