Well, the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2020 NFL season has come to an end, and what started out as unique offseason, just continued to get stranger and more head-scratching as the weeks went on. From a never-ending list of injured starters, to benching Carson Wentz, and then whatever that was on Sunday Night Football to end the season, things were never dull for the organization.
Before we say goodbye to all the madness and head into the offseason — that is sure to be it’s own kind of crazy with staff and personnel —, Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson spoke to reporters one final time on Monday morning.
Here’s what the two had to say:
Roseman’s opening remarks
“This has been a disappointing, embarrassing, frustrating season. Obviously, what we’ve done here, when you win four games, that’s on all of us. That’s on me. We have really good people here. We have to figure out how to fix this and get this back on the right path.”
On Carson Wentz and the QB position
Roseman said that it’s incredibly disappointing how the quarterback position panned out, but just like with every position, things are so raw right now and they have to come back and look at things with fresh eyes. They’re going to spend the week evaluating players from every layer of the organization and talk to trainers, PR, security staff, everyone who might interact with these guys to get the full picture.
“In terms of Carson, I don’t think it’s a secret that we moved up for him because of what we thought about him as a person, as a player. We gave him that extension because of the same things, and so when you have players like that, they’re like fingers on your hands, you can’t even imagine that they’re not part of you, that they’re not here, and that’s how we feel about Carson.”
Roseman was later asked directly if they were entertaining offers to trade Wentz, and he said that they are not talking about trading him “right now”. He also talked about how Wentz has maintained his work ethic and leadership when he comes to work everyday, and runs the scout team and competes hard.
The GM also admitted that he regrets his comments after the 2020 NFL Draft about being a “quarterback factory,” and explained that he was just trying to emphasize the importance of the position around the league and within the Eagles organization — especially with their experience with backup QBs. Roseman later pointed to the league trending toward a 17-game season, and how important depth is going to be, even at the QB position.
He didn’t want to comment on whether drafting Jalen Hurts affected Carson Wentz and his confidence, but said that Wentz is a strong player who believes in his ability, and the failures of this season don’t land with just one player. The team as a whole didn’t perform up to expectations, the roster moves they made didn’t meet expectations, and to put it all on Wentz isn’t fair.
Roseman wouldn’t get into the private conversations he’s had with Wentz or his representatives, but they have a lot of confidence in the QB’s ability and his relationship with Pederson. The head coach chimed in and said that his relationship with Wentz “is good, it’s fine” and that he knows the quarterback is disappointed. But, it’s not about one guy, and it’s something they’ve stressed a lot, and Pederson ultimately has to do what’s in the best interest of the team.
On roster building
Roseman talked a bit about how they did whatever they had to do to win a Championship in 2017 and then had successful rosters in the two years that followed. He noted that when Joe Douglas left to be the GM of the Jets last year, he too felt like they were in a good position to compete at a high level.
He admitted that when things weren’t going well the past couple of weeks, they started looking at teams in similar situations — both in the NFL and in other organizations — where they won a championship and then fell off a bit, and started evaluating the reason for the drop and how to bounce back.
Roseman also said that they have to look at everything objectively, and they had an aggressive plan this offseason but then had to pivot a little because of the pandemic. He didn’t want to blame the pandemic for their issues, but because of the lack of player development opportunities, they had to lean more on veteran players than they originally wanted to. But, the GM knew in his gut they needed to make more changes this year, and should have went with that despite the offseason issues.
He later touched on the new CBA that went into affect in March, and they thought there would be more opportunity to be aggressive with the cap, but then with the pandemic they took their foot off the gas. Roseman also said that they haven’t been given guidance on the salary cap and how that will look moving forward.
As far as his role with roster building, Howie admitted that they’re a 4-11-1 roster — you’re a product of your record — but the three years before 2020 they won 35 games and they have a lot of successful older players that were drafted by this organization who will end up in the Eagles’ Hall of Fame. Roseman noted that it doesn’t mean they haven’t missed on some picks, but the last two GMs hired in the NFL came from the Eagles organization and that’s a symbol of their success.
Roseman also talked a little about John Dorsey coming in as a consultant, and said that he’s someone they all have a relationship with from throughout the NFL and they think highly of him as an evaluator. They lost Joe Douglas and Andrew Berry and they just want to get better and bring in people to help them do that.
On Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson
Roseman acknowledged that Jefferson had a phenomenal year and their heads aren’t in the sand about it. They went into the draft trying to find the right guys for their team, and there are a lot of opinions out there about the draft class and specifically the receivers. He went on to say that Reagor is a young, 22-year old guy and missed a bunch of games due to injury, but the WR didn’t have any durability issues coming out of college and sometimes those things happen.
On Zach Ertz
The GM talked about how Ertz is an intense competitor and is someone who loves the city of Philadelphia and loves the team, and the tight end wants to stay. They have great a great rapport, but sometimes Roseman is forced to be the bad cop and it is hard when he has relationships with these guys. And while it might be easier if he kept his distance, having an open door policy and established relationships has been a benefit to them in the past.
“Zach’s one of the truly great guys that we’ve had in the organization in the 21 years that I’ve been here.”
On coordinator positions
Head coach Doug Pederson was asked about the defensive coordinator position with Jim Schwartz not returning, and he noted that he wants to spend some time with Schwartz and pick his brain a but before he makes any decisions or comments on that.
On offense, Pederosn said it’s all about the evaluation process and just like he’s evaluated, he evaluates his staff and wants to be sure he has the best teachers around the players — guys who can take the complex and make it simple for the guys to be able to play fast on game day.