The Eagles finalized their 53-man roster ahead of the deadline on Tuesday, and Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni spoke to reporters afterward to explain their decisions. The pair talked about the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson trade, how Jalen Reagor earned his roster spot, and went into detail about some of the undrafted free agents that made the cut.
Roseman opened by saying that it was a tough day knowing they’d have to have some tough conversations with guys who have been in Philly the whole offseason, and some who have been with the team for a few years, but he wishes them all well and also hopes they are able to get some of them back.
But now, it’s time for them to snap out of it and look forward to the guys on the final roster and getting them ready for Week 1.
Here’s what Roseman and Sirianni had to say:
On trading for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Roseman explained that they have a lot of conversations during the preseason as they try and find teams with fits for what they’re looking for — the GM was sure to say that it wasn’t that they were unhappy with the defensive backfield, but they were looking for opportunities to get better. They looked at New Orleans and the depth they had on their roster and thought it might be a fit, and those conversations came together in the 48 hours before the deadline.
Sirianni echoed Roseman’s excitement for Gardner-Johnson, but (as per usual) said that it doesn’t benefit them to talk about how they’ll use him schematically and at what position. The head coach also pointed out that they are in game planning mode for Week 1 and the fact that CGJ hasn’t had any snaps on film as an Eagle, is an advantage.
It was pointed out that part of CGJ’s issue in New Orleans was the contract situation, and while Roseman didn’t want to talk specifics, did acknowledge that they wouldn’t have made the trade if they weren’t comfortable with the person and this situation.
“HOWIE ROSEMAN: We spent a lot of time with him in the pre-draft process. I think from our perspective, we did not feel like he was a fourth-round pick, he kind of fell a little bit in the draft. He loves football. He’s got a passion for the game and he’s not afraid to show it. I think that was Coach does with our team is he lets them show their personalities, and he lets them be them, and I don’t think anything we found on him is malicious, he just loves to play. I think our fans like that — I know our team does. And that may frustrate offensive players and receivers at times, but it’s all because he’s got a passion for this game. So, we like that. That makes practice fun.”
Sirianni also noted that CGJ’s reputation around offense’s is that he’s dangerous and you have to be careful throwing the ball toward him. The head coach acknowledged the DB is known for his trash-talking, but that’s just a part of his competitiveness. CGJ is someone that you might not like playing against, but you’re really happy he’s on your team.
More on the safety position
Roseman was later asked why, if he wasn’t unhappy with the safety position, he would get rid of guys like Anthony Harris and Andre Chachere right before the season. The GM admitted that the conversation with Harris was one that both he and Sirianni really didn’t want to have, but he’s a pro and handled everything gracefully. They thought that because the role they had for him had changed since when he was signed, that he deserved to look around at other options, as well. Roseman also said that the door isn’t closed yet.
Sirianni was asked about defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and why his defense allows for slot corners and safeties to be a bit interchangeable. The head coach noted that it isn’t easy, but that the coaches work really hard to cross train players with that skillset. He pointed out that having guys who can do both and move around allows for more disguises, as well — something he’s mentioned that they’re trying to do more of this year.
On Jalen Reagor earning a spot
“HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think when you look at Jalen, one of the things that one of our scouts said to me today was, he’s one of the only guys who practiced every day. I mean, the guy brought it every day. He worked on his craft, he had a great attitude, great energy. Obviously, he’s a talented guy. He’s 23 years old and, you know, we’re going to do whatever we think is in the best interest of the team, and we felt like there’s no doubt in our mind that he deserved a role on this team.”
“NICK SIRIANNI: I just felt like he made plays this summer, and it started right from the beginning. From Day 1 of training camp and it continued on throughout the practices that we had, and you could definitely see the explosion that — he’s never lost that. He’s had this explosion in his body, and he uses it to separate from the defense. So, I just thought he had a good camp and he made plays, and he was more consistent this year throughout training camp.”
On the offensive line depth
Roseman admitted that the cuts they made at OL were some of their toughest position group decisions. As far as going with Josh Sills over someone like Jack Anderson, the GM explained that Sills is 6-foot-5, 330-pounds, he has long arms, he’s powerful and versatile, and can play inside or outside. He noted that it was a tough call, but ultimately they looked at what they had and what they needed and Sills and Anderson play different positions.
On the UDFAs who made the roster
“HOWIE ROSEMAN: Josh [Jobe] was a guy that had some injury issues in the offseason, part of this, and we followed him. We knew him, obviously, the Alabama connection, and from Day 1 when he came in here, he came in with the right mindset. I mean, this is a big, long, instinctive corner. A physical corner who’s played at a high level in the SEC — you know, I was saying the other day, I’m watching guys even in this year’s draft, and I see Josh in man coverage-ing these guys. So, he’s a guy that we felt very fortunate to get after the draft, and you know, our Alabama guy, [Jeff Stoutland], [Joe Pannunzio], those guys just wrapping their arms around him, and our performance guys doing a great job of getting him ready to play.
You know, with Reed [Blankenship], Reed’s an interesting guy. Reed’s a five-year starter — you don’t see many of those guys going and over 119 tackles. So, you know, Reed’s one of those guys, he started the last man in that group, and every day, like Coach says, we evaluate practice every day, we evaluate everything he did and he continued to show up. He had a feeling. I don’t want to put too high expectations on him, but he kind of like reminded me of a guy like Quintin Mikell, who we had here, and just he’s got physical tools but he’s always around the ball. Credit to him and our coach for putting him in position to make plays, and we wanted to recognize that. Because we had a smaller draft class, we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to make this team.”
- When asked about only keeping two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, Roseman confirmed that they will add a third on the practice squad.
- Roseman talked about how they used a lot of resources on the wide receiver position the past couple seasons, and they felt it was necessary to give Jalen Hurts an opportunity to have those kind of guys around him.
- The GM told a story about getting home from their playoff loss in Tampa Bay, and how Sirianni stayed with Zech McPhearson for 30 minutes while he waited for a tow, and that was a sign to Roseman that maybe the Eagles and their culture are building something special.