Let’s Talk About Howie

Posted: March 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 78 Comments »

Eagles GM Howie Roseman is a really interesting guy.  He should be someone that fans admire because of the way he’s climbed the ladder despite not having the typical background.  Because of that background, he makes some fans nervous and they don’t feel comfortable with him as GM.

I think Howie controls his own destiny.  He needs to do 2 things.  First, he must get the team back to winning big.  Second, he must find a franchise QB.  If he can do those things, I think fans will start to embrace him.  If the team continues to struggle and QB remains a weak spot, Howie’s background is going to be a huge target for his critics.

If Howie can ever deliver a Super Bowl title, there will be some serious revisionist history going on and the history books will talk about the fact he’s been loved by everyone since Day 1.  The argument would then switch to who loved him the most.

Howie is far from perfect, but I am very much on board with the direction of the team right now. Chip Kelly was the coach I wanted.  That’s who the Eagles hired.  The team had multiple holes to fill.  I wanted them to use free agency to add potential starters (but not stars) for those spots.  The team did just that.

I’m impressed by the way Howie has adjusted on the job.  In 2011, he had the Eagles adding talented players left and right.  That didn’t work out.  I think he fell into the trap that the Patriots talk about.  “We’re not collecting talent, we’re building a team.”

Howie and the Eagles added high character veteran players to put the team over the top.  Things had gone well in 2010.  The Eagles had a ton of cap room and there were lots of available players (at good prices).  The team then went on a shopping spree.  On paper, things were great.

Too bad that wasn’t the case in reality.  The team had zero chemistry and blew up.  I think Howie made some assumptions that proved to be false.  He signed players who fit the schemes.  They were team leaders and good people.  They were coming here to play for a proven, smart coach.  The players wanted to be here.  What could go wrong?

Howie’s plans were logical, but he failed to understand the dynamics of a team.  You can’t bring in that many guys and have them all swallow their egos and still get along well and play their best football.  Ronnie Brown was a workhorse RB.  Steve Smith was a workhorse WR.  They came here and got minimal touches.  That was a huge adjustment for them.  Trying to play Nnamdi, Asante, and DRC together was a disaster.  The 2011 Eagles were very talented, but the players just didn’t fit their roles very well.

Compare that to this year.  Bradley Fletcher is a former starter that was the #3 CB last year.  He can start or function as a role player.  Isaac Sopoaga was heavily rotated last year.  Jason Phillips was brought in as a backup and STer.  Safeties Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips are both here to prove something.  Kenny wants to show he’s healthy and can still play.  Chung wants to show that NE made a mistake by benching him and then letting him leave.  Cary Williams has a permanent chip on his shoulder.  James Casey was under-used by the Texans and wants a bigger role.

We’re not asking this class of FAs to do less and try to fit in.  We’re asking them to do more and be important parts of  the team.  At the same time, they aren’t getting paid huge money.  They won’t become fat cats that obsess on their bank statements more than their playbooks.

I think Howie learned a huge lesson from 2011.  That’s good.  Think about how many teams make mistakes and don’t learn.  Howie did very little in FA in 2012.  This year he ramped things back up, but with a different approach.  This isn’t Dan Snyder saying “Well, that group didn’t work so let’s pay a new group even more money and that will solve the problem.”

Some of you wonder why I refer to Howie as being so aggressive.  In 2 of the last 3 years, the Eagles have been super-aggressive in FA.  I’m sure Joe Banner had some hand in the 2011 spending spree, but I think a lot of that was Howie’s idea.  He saw a chance to add talent to a good team and maybe put us over the top.  He had a good basic idea, but chose the wrong type of players.  We needed more Evan Mathis and Derek Landri types.

In 2012 we didn’t go sign other players, but did aggressively re-sign our own players.  I had serious reservations about keeping DeSean Jackson.  Howie got that deal done.  He got Shady and Mathis to sign long term deals.  There was a bit of risk with the Djax and Mathis deals, but both players played well in 2012 and we’re happy to have them on board as we start the Chip Kelly era.

Back in 2010, Howie coveted DE Julius Peppers.  That was the FA he wanted to sign and be the foundation for the offseason.  It would give the Eagles freedom in the draft.  Instead, the Bears had Lovie Smith stalking Peppers and they got him signed right away.  That completely changed the Eagles plans.  The Eagles then traded up from 24th to 13th and drafted Brandon Graham.  I don’t know who in the organization was pushing for the pass rusher, but Howie made it happen.

Last year Howie traded up to draft Fletcher Cox.  I thought we might have to go as high as #6 to get him, but instead Howie played it cool and only had to move up a couple of spots.

In 2 of the last 3 years. the Eagles have been very aggressive in free agency.  In 2 of the last 3 drafts, the Eagles traded up to get a player they targeted.  That’s why I’m telling you Howie is an aggressive GM.

I’m not saying that’s always the right approach.  Ted Thompson is patient and committed to the draft.  That strategy has worked brilliantly for him.  Tom Heckert was patient.  Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t.  Think back to 2005.  We went into the season with Stephen Spach, an undrafted rookie, as the backup TE to LJ Smith.  Under Roseman, the Eagles have been cutting backup TEs that other teams signed away.

At the same time, team chemistry was worlds better under Heckert than Roseman (except for 2005 and the TO debacle).  Heckert, like Reid, was patient and believed in giving players a chance to develop.  Roseman isn’t as patient and to this point, has shown a willingness to add veterans.  I didn’t think Reid did enough with signing veteran FAs to fill depth spots.  You can question whether Roseman does that too much.  Finding the right balance is the tricky part.

I think Howie did a terrific job with the 2012 draft.  I think Howie can scout players and evaluate talent.  We do need to see him add a major star to the lineup and also a QB.  Maybe Foles is that guy.  Time will tell on that.  Fletcher Cox might prove to be the star player.  He was good as a rookie, but we need a flat-out difference maker.

Howie still does an outstanding job of negotiating deals and getting players under contract.  Agents seem to like him.  Players seem to relate to Howie.  That’s a good thing.

The upcoming draft and season will be huge to Howie’s future.  If Chip Kelly and Nick Foles lead the Eagles to a 9-7 record and playoff spot, life will be pretty good.  If Kelly is lost, Foles is terrible and the draft produces minimal results, Howie might be hanging out with me next year at the Senior Bowl as we stalk Eagles scouts and coaches for scoops on what the team wants to do.

Kelly could prove to be a boost to Howie.  Chip has specific types of players that he wants.  Andy Reid was more erratic.  If Howie is able to find the guys Chip wants, that helps the team’s chances of succeeding.  Of course, Chip must show that he’s got Reid’s ability to coach players and win at the NFL level.  Andy had his faults, but the man only had 3 losing records in 14 seasons.  He knew what he was doing, even if he confused us more than a couple of times.

If a coach and GM can get on the same page, the team can really thrive.  The one bit of advice I’d offer Howie is to focus on fit more than raw talent.  Demetress Bell has the talent to be a starting LT in the NFL.  He was solid (or better) in Buffalo.  Bell just wasn’t a good fit for the scheme.  You can’t always make talent fit what you do.  Forcing the issue can prove to be a waste of time and resources.  I can’t specifically blame Howie for Bell.  That might be a player that Reid or Mudd pushed for.  I know Howie stayed in touch with his agent and hoped Bell could come here.  Whether Howie was the driving force or not, he signed off on a player that proved to be a complete disaster.

I certainly don’t expect Howie to be perfect.  Ron Wolf wasn’t.  Ted Thompson isn’t.  No GM or coach is.  You are going to draft and sign some duds.  That’s just reality.  I do think Howie has done a good job this year and that he’s got the Eagles on the right track.

Is Chip Kelly going to be a home run hire?  Can we find a QB?  These questions will play a huge part in deciding Howie Roseman’s legacy.

_


  • Anders

    I think having Kelly will help Howie find players who fit the scheme much better than with Reid. It seems that Kelly is much more specific in what he wants at every position.

  • tball_man

    I am still bitter about 2010 free agency. Peppers would have been a monster pickup. We probably would have had Earl Thomas too!

    • Anders

      Allen was a better rookie than Thomas, difference is in a blown ACL and god aweful coaching. I bet had Thomas played for us, he would have been benched as well

      • Sb2bowl

        True statement!

        BG flashed some serious potential last year; but I don’t think he is in the long term plans. Maybe a draft day trade? 3rd rounder anyone?

        • GGeagle21

          Let me preclude my statement by saying, I am a huge BG fan…but I actually would Not be surprised to see him traded..simply because it’s a contract year. It’s a bad time for Graham to have to make the switch to a new position because he will only have like two months of playing time to prove that we want him as an OLB in our future, before the deadline passes for extending players. If he isn’t extended, then I believe he will be as good as gone. Doubt we will get into bidding wars with our own free agents, and a 4-3 team, would certainly value his services if he has another good season…

          So not only does B-Grizzle have to make the swift to a new role, but he has to prove th at he will be worth big money in a limited time…For that, It would not surprise me to see him traded on draft day….I’m not advocating for him to be traded..just keeping an eye out for it

          • GGeagle21

            Anyone know when the deadline is during the season for extending your current players.

  • http://twitter.com/BugeHalls Buge Halls

    I must say Tommy, I love your optimism that Vick won’t be the starting QB this season. I still hope signing him was step #1 in a trade scenario!

  • Eric Weaver

    “Howie’s plans were logical, but he failed to understand the dynamics of a team. You can’t bring in that many guys and have them all swallow their egos and still get along well and play their best football. Ronnie Brown was a workhorse RB. Steve Smith was a workhorse WR. They came here and got minimal touches. That was a huge adjustment for them. Trying to play Nnamdi, Asante, and DRC together was a disaster. The 2011 Eagles were very talented, but the players just didn’t fit their roles very well.”

    I think the ego comment really only applies to Brown, Young and Steve Smith. However, I don’t get what they expected. They all knew they were coming here as backups, even if Andy told them differently. They are all smart enough to look at the history.

    Nnamdi just became a diva after he came to a town that is actually not a niche team in the NFL. The Raiders are a popular team, but they are not talked about much in the same way the Eagles are throughout the NFL>

    • cliff henny

      i’m sure young, brown and smith new exactly what they were getting into at time of contracts, but there’s 3 months b/t signing and start of camp. these guys are used to being focal points, getting the reps and being the leaders at their positions. would think swallowing pride and taking a backup limited role would be difficult on egos, but doubt they thought about it when getting paid. think howie learned a valuable lesson, get younger and hungrier guys than tail end of career vets.

    • Cafone

      Yeah, but when both the free agents and the guys that were already here all regressed at the same time, maybe it was the coaching?

    • TommyLawlor

      Those guys wanted to play on a great team, challenge for a title, and then hit FA in 2012 on top of the world. They gambled.

      It didn’t work for us…or them.

  • Adam

    Any reason why you wrote “If Chip Kelly and Nick Foles lead the Eagles to a 9-7 record and playoff spot..” and not Vick?

    • Anders

      It would hint that Foles is the franchise QB that he wrote is a part of what Roseman needs to find for us

    • Neil

      I believe Tommy thinks Foles is more likely to win the starting job.

      • cliff henny

        or, he knows glass joe vick cant play 5 or 6 games before getting hurt, so job will inevitably belong to foles. i’d really like to see vick for a bit, think it’d be glimpse into what future will look like, at a slower decision poorer ball handling level.

        • Neil

          Eh. I don’t think Kelly is some readoption addict. If Foles can execute the passing game well enough that it doesn’t matter if we can only run traditional running plays, Chip will be happy to have a QB who isn’t risking his skin running the ball.

          • Sb2bowl

            Quick, accurate decisions. The more I watch history of Chipper’s Qbs, the more I notice that they get rid of the ball in a hurry. Rarely do they hold the ball more than 2 seconds. Sounds more like Foles than Vick

        • cliff henny

          my point was, even if vick wins job, and i hope he doesnt, he’ll get hurt so foles will get his chance this year. and trying to be glass half full guy with vick playing, cause, i do believe our future qb is in ’14 draft, it’ll nice to see some of the extra offense vick (and future qb) can run over foles. i dont think vick will run it very well, like a marioti, that kid is a machine, but we’ll see glimpses. we’ll also see poor reads, poor timing, vick running to much cause he doesnt know where to throw the ball, etc.

          overall, do think our best chances at winning games this yr is with foles and a condensed playbook. maybe my curiousity will be served during pre-season and get foles in the games that count.

          • Sb2bowl

            Minus the freak concussion last year against Dallas, Vick was pretty healthy. In a different year, no way that Foles continues to QB when Vick was back and ready to go.
            But, like you, I do hope that Foles is our QB. Vick just doesn’t have the decision making capabilities that a QB at this level needs, and he has lost his “elite” speed as a playmaker. While Foles (IMO) doesn’t have the upside that Vick did (few do), he already is a better “pure” QB. For that reason, play the kid, continue to build and draft for the future.

          • GGeagle21

            I actually seem to like Foles more than most, and I feel like playing Vick is just a waste of time. but with that said, although I want fOles to play, I want him to significantly outplay Vick in camp and earn the job. no starting spots should be given…as much as I like Foles, if Vick outplays him in camp, so be it….but I’m expecting Foles to clearly outplay Vick. I think getting that rookie experience, behind a terrible line, and antiquated play calling (where the defense pretty much new exactly why we were doing, way too often) is going to really serve the kid well, and I just have a feeling that his year to improvement will be drastic

    • TommyLawlor

      Howie drafted Foles. Vick was signed when Heckert was still GM.

      That’s all. Don’t read anything else into the comment.

      • bdbd20

        “Don’t read anything else into the comment”

        Surely you realize who you you’re talking too. This ain’t Jacksonville.

        • TommyLawlor

          Ha. So true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.n.richwine Daniel Norman Richwine

    Like generals GMs and coaches are ultimately judged by winning, which hasn’t happened a lot since Howie took control. I love how he always has a plan. I love how he seems to learn from mistakes. but unless those things translate into w’s, I will have to conclude there is something he lacks that I cannot identify.

  • Mac

    I agree that largely the jury is still out on Roseman. I’m bullish on the guy though… I like the fact that he appears willing to learn from mistakes, and is even willing to take his lumps in the public for them.

  • Cafone

    I’ve been a Roseman fan/supporter since he first started rising within the organization. He’s our bizarro world Drew Rosenhouse.

  • Iskar36

    OT:
    Geoff Mosher
    ‏@GeoffMosherCSN

    LB Victor Butler headed to Philly for visit after leaving Cleveland with no deal, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    Seems like a decent depth/STs player if we end up signing him. One thing’s for sure, STs was a major focus so far this offseason.

    • TommyLawlor
      • Iskar36

        I know Butler is only being brought here as depth, but with Barwin, Curry, Graham, and Cole all already here, how many rushing LBers can we hold on the team? On top of that, does this say anything about what they may do with any of our current pass rushing OLBs?

        • austinfan

          Cole has one season left, he’s a poor fit, and Curry and Graham depend on whether they think they’re suitable for LB, so I could see some draft day trades if they sign Butler. They can move Cole by eating $1M against the cap, they have $24M and no dead money for Vick in 2014. So there’s lot’s of flexibility.

          • GGeagle21

            I think Curry’s spot is safer than Graham’s and Cole…I’m really excited about Vinny, especially now that we have two of his former college coaches on our staff. I’m expecting big contributions from Vinny

      • austinfan

        Butler may only be 6’2 but has 34 1/2 arms and still did 24 reps.
        Chip likes ‘em “long” more than “tall.”

  • cliff henny

    Tommy, tremendous blog. transplanted eagle fan down in Myrtle Beach, reading this makes me feel like i’m back up north where we play on the correct weekend day.
    after watching Reid sign seemlingly every name free agent that came to town, and giving up a ton for A Smith comparing that to what Howie’s done since ’11, just have to wonder how much of the ’10′s pickups was who’s fault. not saying Howie wasnt in the room, he was GM, but at that time Reid was still Reid. i personally didnt turn on him till early this last year. guess there’s plenty of blame to go around, but the only thing we know Howie was in charge of was salary cap, and at least we arent coming off of 4-12 and cap strapped. just saying, i’m judging Howie from when i was told he took over the draft, ’12, and giving him a semi-pass while Reid was still carrying a pretty big stick around the office.

    • TommyLawlor

      I used to deliver pizzas in Myrtle Beach during the summers while in college. Fun town.

      Howie has been a huge part of the team from 2010 on. He and Reid worked together. Some stuff Howie pushed for, others Reid. I am pretty sure that Howie was the driving force in the 2011 FA frenzy. Think of that as the right execution of the wrong plan.

      Let’s hope this year was the right execution of the right plan.

      • cliff henny

        think that’s why i give him a semi-pass. as you said, he was able to execute a plan. so if kelly gives him right plan (i have little doubt he can), at least we GM who can get it done.

        • GGeagle21

          One thing I think howie has already proved, is that the man gets Ish done. Its nice having a GM you have confidence in, to go out and get what he wants…The key now is having the right “wants”..and with Gamble and chip on board, and howie learning from his mistakes, I’m more confident than ever that we will target the right guys…and Howie “splash” Roseman making it happen.

          What I really like about Howie, is that he is every bit of the cap guru, that Banner was. So we get to keep Banner’s strength, yet Howie brings so much more. the only thing Banner is better at than Howie is playing “bad cop”, which is important…but their is a fine line between Bad Cop helping your organization, and it hurting your organization…and Banner crossed that line on a few occasions. there were times, that I was really down on Howie…but I think he has won me over…

          Howie “Splash” Roseman, not only will he work your cap, but he gets ish done. this is the most confidence I have had in our FO, in so long that I can’t even remember the last time I trusted our FO like this

      • Arby1

        I think I remember Reid once said at the time of the signing, that Nnamdi was Howie’s idea, not sure about the rest of them in ’11.

  • SteveH

    One of the things that I see getting repeated frequently by Howie detractors is some of the failed draft picks, ie Watkins and Jarrett, which I think is kind of unfair because we know that someone else in the organization (who is no longer with the organization) was the person pushing to pick those guys.

    I personally am fairly high on Howie, for someone who is both fairly young and didn’t come up on the football side of the operations he’s acclimating himself well, I think. The thing I like the most about him is he seems capable in all the different roles he needs to play, whether its PR man, talent evaluator or contract negotiator. Having ability in all those areas I think is a great asset.

  • austinfan

    Reading between the lines of Lurie’s comments, I don’t think Howie had final authority until 2012. And he had 4 different DCs to draft from between 2008 and 2012 (JJ, Sean, Juan and Washburn). So what was the Eagle defensive philosophy? On offense, I suspect AR/MM dictated what they wanted, and Howie basically fetched.

    Not sure Howie wanted DRC in the Kolb trade, there were rumors that Eagles might have preferred Toler but Arizona wanted to dump DRC. Aso, don’t know whose idea that was, but again that seemed to reflect the lack of a DC setting out a coherent philosophy.

    Last year’s draft and this year’s FA binge are the best run they’ve had since 2005. And I think it’s because Howie finally could put together a draft board without interference, and this offseason finally had a coaching staff with a coherent plan (with Fletcher, Williams (and they wanted Lewis) and Marsh, you have 3 6-1 200 lb CBs, uh, guess what they’ll look for in the draft, the two safeties are 210 lbs with good speed, so is Allen, uh . . . ). They got linemen for the 4-3 under, a NT who can play the “5″, a SLB who can play the predator, uh, wonder what they’ll look for in the draft, and a backup ILB who’s 240 lbs and runs 4.6, to go with two starters with similar skills, uh . . .

    The question now is what does Chip want on offense, they got Benn, who fits the big run blocking WRs he had in Oregon, do they go for the scatback type RBs he liked there, and what kind of OL for Chip/Stoutland?

    • Sb2bowl

      Austin–
      I think the big WR’s are taken care of; Cooper, Benn, and Avant (although not huge, tough).

      Could Lewis fit the scatback RB? McCoy can scat, but he’s not extremely fast. Brown is fast, but not great at cutting. Possibly a hybrid type of offense, zone blocking?

      As for linemen, everyone except for Watkins (and for this purpose I’m counting him as a starter) is an athlete (and Watkins isn’t a slouch). Possibly the ToddFather is our next slowest, but Peters, Mathis, and Kelce can all move. It’ll be interesting to see what they do (I’m assuming a type of zone blocking), but I’d hedge my bets on OL in round 1, and another in rounds 4-6.

      As much as I love the #4 pick, I’d love an additional 2 this year, and maybe a 3 next year to move back 4-6 spots. Oh, I’m dreaming now, but that’d be great!

      • Anders

        Brown got great one cut ability, he does not have McCoy’s lateral agility, but how many RBs can cut on dime like him?

        • Sb2bowl

          Not many; McCoy is special in that regard. I do wish he had a little more top end speed, but oh well.

      • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

        In terms of big WR’s, we’ve got BJ Cunningham and Marvin McNutt in the mix too.

        And Lewis, while I personally like him, is either in the doghouse or just not a RB the team is high on. Tommy has said previously to, “just trust him on this”.

        • Sb2bowl

          I remember Tommy talking about that; Lewis doesn’t have the typical “scat back” speed, but he is tough to bring down.
          Hopefully he “grows up” a little and resumes his NFL career.

          • GGeagle21

            Was Dion that good in training camp? I remember people raving about his play in camp. I am still baffled as to what happened from the time Dion was the talk of camp, til the season where he barely ever dressed

          • Sb2bowl

            From what is suggested, its more “off the field” issues

  • ACViking

    Re: “Aggressive Howie”

    T-Law:

    You build a good part of your “Aggressive Howie” argument principally around two arguments.

    The Eagles were very aggressive in free agency in two of the last three years and, either because of free-agency developments or not, two draft-day trades in the the past three years.

    Let’s compare Roseman to Tom Heckert. No one ever called him “Aggressive Tommy” during his tenure at the NovaCare complex.

    __________________

    First, let’s look at draft day.

    Heckert made 5 major moves the 8 drafts when he wore the title “President of Player Personnel/GM” for the Eagles.

    In 2003, the Eagles moved up from No. 30 to No. 15 for perceived pass-rushing DE Jerome McDougle.

    In 2004, the Eagles moved up to No. 16 from No. 28 to select OG Shawn Andrews.

    In 2007, the Eagles traded their 1st Rd pick at No. 26 to *division rival* Dallas — risky, perhaps — for a bunch of lower round picks. The ‘boys chose OLB Anthony Spencer (who’d look awfully good in green right now), while the Eagles targeted Kevin Kolb.

    Then in 2008, the Eagles again traded of Rd 1, giving Carolina — who’d traded back into Rd 1 — pick No. 19 for the Panthers’ 2009 1st Rd pick plus some lower picks. (I’m guessing the Eagles expected the Panthers, who’d been sagging the past couple of years to be lousy in 2009, but that wasn’t to be). This deal worked really well, as the Eagle moved Carolina’s 2009 1st Rd pick to the Bills for OLT Jason Peters.

    Then in 2009, the Eagles — with Heckert playing it cool, perhaps — traded up two spots from 21 to 19 (like Howie did in 2012) to acquire whom a good number of scouts thought was the best WR in the draft, J-Maclin.

    _________________

    The Heckert drafts show him — I’d argue — to be very, very aggressive.

    He did just what Roseman’s done in 2 of 3 drafts. Moving around. Hitting on some. Missing on some.

    ______________________

    And is it really that much of a surprise that in 2010 under Roseman, the Eagles traded up to select a DE built not to differently than the the DE whom the Eagles traded up for in 2003. One of those “fastball” guys we used to hear about.

    Seems to me, what Roseman did in the last 3 drafts and what Heckert did in his drafts reflected — and carried out the philosophy — of one ANDY REID.

    _________________

    Free Agency and trades?

    In 2011, the Eagles badly misfired. At that time, except for signing Nnamdi and acquiring DRC, were any of those moves viewed as “Ozzie Newsome” moves [He's the "Wizzard" for a reason]?

    It’s interesting that you lay principally at Roseman’s feet the miscalculation that NA, DRC, and AS could all function together. That incredibly important decision seems to have REID’S fingerprints all over it — irrespective of Asante Samuel’s “rotisserie football” remark aimed at the front office (and probably Roseman).

    Back in 2004, the Eagles acquired DE Kearse and WR TOwens. Was that Heckert’s call?

    I’d expect the response to be something like the Eagles BrainTrust decided on Kearse and Owens. Just as they did on Nnamdi et al.

    ____________________

    This off-season, the Eagles made a number of moves that any number of the commenters on this blog begged for: “Tough, young players coming out of their 1st contract, hungry to prove themselves.”

    Was Roseman “aggressive” in signing low-cost free agents?

    Or was Roseman, finally at long last, just exercising the kind of intelligent decision making you hope your GM shows — especially coming off a 4-12 season, with an undersized and soft defense filled with mostly lousy players . . . and a new coach who likes BIG guys.

    With only 7 rounds in the draft, there was no way the Eagles could fix this defense if they wanted to compete this season — which they obviously do.

    So I’m not sure that what the Eagles have done this off-season as aggressive, so much as (i) out of necessity, (ii) so obvious that your commenters were asking them to do it, and (iii) long overdue.

    ___________________

    Is Roseman “Aggressive Howie”? Or was he “Aggressive Howie” from ’09-’12 under Andy Reid because — like Heckert — Roseman was just carrying out his marching orders from Reid.

    Respectfully, I think we need to see a couple years more years of Roseman at the wheel. And we need to get a feel for Kelly’s role in personnel decisions beyond listing specs for each position.

    • ICDogg

      Yep, you said it better than I could… I agree with all of this.

    • Neil

      I’ll only take umbrage with the idea that Spencer was worth that first. To my understanding, he has one really good passrushing season, and, as Kempski puts it, otherwise he has only led the league in edge setting. Good starter, not exactly a great return on a high pick, and before this year he would have had no place in the schemes the eagles have been running.

      • ACViking

        No argument. Strictly a hind-sight argument. As it turns out, Spencer fits Kelly’s defense.

        Otherwise, until this day, day I never missed him.

        Sorry . . . I should have been more clear.

    • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

      I honestly think a lot of it has to do with the story of how he got into the league.

      Sending letters and basically hounding people until he got a chance. That’s certainly “aggressive”, but not in the sense that I assume people mean when they call him that.

      • ACViking

        I will absolutely buy Roseman’s efforts to get in the NFL shows aggressiveness, if not relentlessness.

        But as for personnel moves — outside of himself — the jury should stay out.

        • http://www.insidetheiggles.com/ CalSFro

          Agreed. He hasn’t been GM long enough to be labeled as anything other than I guess, hungry. But what NFL GM isn’t?

        • eagles2zc

          How about how he got Chip?

    • eagles2zc

      The pursue of Chip, Kolb’s trade, and DeMeco’s trade, all stands out in my mind as examples of Howie’s aggressiveness. We have all read about how Howie maintained an open line of communication with Chip even after the initial nonacceptance. While Banner and the Browns went into PR spin mode to save face, Howie and the Eagles kept their eyes on the prize, despite the garbage spewing out of La Canfora and McLane’s mouths.

      Then there were the trades. Howie saw a need and traded for DeMeco. He bought low on a good player who was ill fit for his former team’s schemes. Alternatively, Howie sold high on Kolb. Irregardless of the history after, the value of a second rounder and a former pro bowl CB was tremendous. Those trades would also suggest, at least in my mind, the aggressive or relentless nature of Howie’s term.

    • TommyLawlor

      ACV,

      Heckert did make some aggressive moves, but he wasn’t as consistently aggressive as Howie. Tom was brilliant when it came to knowing the league and a player’s value.

      He was willing to wait on players to fall based on what he thought would happen. Howie is only waiting so long before he’s moving up to get a guy he wants. Howie doesn’t have the same level of patience.

      Howie is still new to the job. Maybe he will ease up over the next 5 years and this comparison will be more even. As of now, Howie’s first instinct is still to do what it takes to get the deal done/acquire the player.

      Heckert made moves where the value was what he wanted. Think about this…Heckert was the GM of an 8-8 team in 2007. The following draft he traded out of the 1st round to acquire a 1st rounder in the next year and a 2nd rounder that year. That was good value. I just can’t ever imagine Howie coming off a mediocre year like that and trading back. It would completely go against his instinct.

      Key thing to remember here is that when I talk about Howie being a very aggressive GM, that is not a compliment. It is an observation. There are some great organizations that do just the opposite.

      To me, you need to do whatever you do well. If you’re aggressive, make good deals. If you’re passive, you better find and develop young players. And so on. We have yet to see Howie’s aggression fully pay off. We’ll see how this draft and this season go.

      • Iskar36

        “I just can’t ever imagine Howie coming off a mediocre year like that
        and trading back. It would completely go against his instinct.”

        Isn’t that what we think they would love to do this year?

        • TommyLawlor

          Trading out of the 1st Rd entirely? No. Moving back a few picks, yes. And this is very much an odd year due to the lack of elite prospects.

  • shah8

    Foles was an Andy pick, not a Howie pick.

  • A Roy

    As long as he turns into Ozzie Newsome, I’m cool with him.

  • livingonapear

    How much of a say did Howie have in canning Castillo? Was that all Andy’s call?

    • TommyLawlor

      Reid controlled the staff.

  • Neil

    General rebuttal of the idea Howie got Chip, I think what it really
    came down to for Chip was the quality of the entire organisation. Howie
    was there representing that, but in Chip’s mind, when he evaluated the
    situation, Howie was just the leader of the personnel department. How
    football smart and committed to winning is the owner? Does the team
    have a track record of not sabotaging coaches? What are the facilities?
    How passionate is the fanbase?

    • TommyLawlor

      Chip didn’t come just because of Howie. I’d never try to say that is what happened. I do give Howie credit for getting it done. The man is very persistent.

      • Neil

        Understood. Agreed.

  • ohitsdom

    I was a Howie fan, until he blew off Tommy at the Senior Bowl…

    • TommyLawlor

      Just an awkward encounter. We’ll talk one of these days.

      • ohitsdom

        Only kidding… All will be forgiven once this juggernaut of an offense gets going and we have a defense that can generate some turnovers. I know 2013 is supposed to be a rebuilding year, my hopes are already too high.

    • http://twitter.com/MFlicker Mike Flick

      It was an act. We know he listens to Tommy more than the ‘scouts’ he pretends to have.

  • xlGmanlx

    I started to come around to Howie last year when he pulled the trigger on the Mecco trade nobody saw coming. That plus any big name FA we wanted the past 2 years, he got, with basically gagging the players reps/leaks. Then he locks up DJAX and Shady to long term, team friendly deals.

    However I don’t think I agree with some of your reasoning. Whether the talent performs to expectations is up to the head coach and coaching staff. Which is why Reid and Co are all gone, but the lone remaining executive from that team was Roseman. All his moves might now pan out, but few GM’s can claim that. I like he is active and it appears he can not only negotiate but build relationships with other executives.

    Saw what you want about Reid, most of it is deserved, but we can’t forget how he never blasted anybody publicaly and was a class act, regardless if you agreed with his actions during his time from there. It looks like Roseman took some of that to help build his reputation. This is why there is a buzz of excitment for the first tim in a while for the iGGles. It makes me think of the 49′s when they had Eddie and Walsh teamed up and excited at the potential to be an exciting time in igg’s history, hopefully fruitful.

    • GGeagle21

      Reid certainly was a class act, and you have to admire him standing in front of the firing squad time and time again, taking all types of Bullets for both his players and the front office….as much as I admired Reid for protecting his players, I think he wasted a motivational tool. not every player can be coached the same. Their have been some coaching legends in every sport, that knew when it was warranted to call a player out publicly..It’s a tool that has been used to get the most out of you guys. not all players will respond to a public call out favorably, but no one can tell me that Reid never had a single player on his roster that could be coached that way. Coaching is about pushing buttons…so as much as I admire how he protected his players at all times, he completely wasted and ignored a motivational tool, and one of the buttons at his disposal.

  • miked718

    10 years from now: “So Howie, how was it that you were able to win a Super Bowl the first season of Chip Kelly’s tenure and then follow that with two more titles all with Nick Foles at QB?” “Good question, I’ve never told anyone this but I used to have these two blogs on my RSS reader, one was Eagles Blitz by a great writer who ended up as my secret asst. gm and the other was this knucklehead Kempski guy…”

  • ACViking

    Re: NovaCare as “The Kremlin”

    I trust T-Law’s reports.

    However, even for T-Law, the fact is that what happens inside the NovaCare Complex in regard to trades and other personnel moves — especially while Reid was here — is as clear to us as moves inside the Kremlin were to the CIA.

    For example, Roseman ID’d Demeco Ryans and grabbed him. Maybe Reid wanted Ryans. Or LB coach Mike Caldwell. Sure, Roseman made the call to Houston. But did he say to Reid, “I’m getting Ryans, and if you don’t like it you can quit”?

    Without a mole, we’re really all just guessing. I put myself at the top of the list.

    I have no damn clue whether Roseman was a front for Reid or Banner or, for that matter, Jeff Lurie.

    So many mixed messages have come out the Eagles on draft day about getting their guy, or making their move, with Reid crediting Heckert . . . and later Roseman.

    Then Reid get’s canned, and Lurie makes it sound like Reid and/or Banner crapped all over Roseman’s ideas.

    Again, my point is we’re on the outside looking through translucent glass.
    _________________

    T-Law . . . I considering you our best Kremlinologist. And we depended on inside info to understand the USSR. I expect you have your sources, too.

    • cliff henny

      reading thru the lines, kind of seemed like how i was raised, yeah, i had a vote, problem was, my father had 2. feel that’s how it was with Howie and Reid, until 2012. Howie went out, knocked on doors, hustled all the trades, did all the pre-draft analysis, and when time came to pull the trigger, they had a vote. some reid agreed with, some he didnt. sure some moves howie really wanted and needed to get reid’s approval, but the vice versa wasnt necessary.

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    Since Howie took over as GM, the Eagles have gone 20-26, and the level of talent on the roster has deteriorated to the point where we’re overhauling the entire roster and becoming the Houston Texans East. There was effectively one position group–running back–that didn’t need to be addressed seriously, in terms of starting talent, or viable depth, coming into the offseason. Sorry, but teams with good rosters just aren’t in that position. We’ve traded post-season wins for extra months of draft speculation. The needle has been pointing downward since he’s been in charge–I just can’t see it any other way. I’m certainly hoping Kelly turns that all around, but every story of Howie “getting his man” so far has ended kind of badly for the Eagles.

    I can’t agree that “he signed players that fit the schemes” you said yourself that it was a nightmare with the three cornerbacks out there. Roseman had a fundamental failure in understanding the game when he added DRC & Nnamdi with Asante still on the roster. There was just no way any of those three guys could play nickel cornerback effectively. Any serious football fan could see that unfolding real time, but Roseman was collecting names. When Asante made his comments about (the FO) playing “fantasy football”, I don’t think he was that far off.

    Folks cite Ron Wolf as a guy without a football background that succeeded as a GM, but Wolf is an outlier. Most of the good GMs in the league today came from a scouting background; the Giants, Baltimore, San Fran, Indianapolis, etc. I’m not going through the whole list again, I’ve done that enough, anyone can look it up if they so desire. Roseman’s profile fits that of Mike Tannenbaum more closely than Ron Wolf, let’s be honest here.

    Fletcher Cox was the right pick, and it looks like they have a good nickel corner in Brandon Boykin, but as for the rest, I think they have a long way to go before we can say 2012 was a definitively “terrific”. Aren’t drafts generally judged three years after the fact? We’re encouraged to be patient with guys like Jaiqawn Jarrett, Danny Watkins and Nate Allen for years–witholding judgment about the soundness of the decision making process in drafting them, despite their on-field flailings–yet guys who have shown flashes of promise in one season are immediately considered “good”? That’s inconsistent.

    Look, I’d certainly love for Roseman to be “Boy Wonder” instead of “Boy Blunder”, but there is a reason that we are picking #4 in the draft this year, and would have been picking higher last year, except for finishing the season with 4 wins that Lurie himself called “fool’s gold”, and it’s not all due to Andy Reid. Reid & Banner make the perfect scapegoats because they’re no longer here, but those two presided over the most productive era of Eagles football in my memory. I welcome the idea of being proven wrong by Roseman’s master plan coming together, but I just don’t have faith in the guy.

    With the low-risk moves value-minded move in free agency, the unlikelihood of selecting a QB high in the draft, and Kelly’s first year in the driver’s seat, I don’t expect 2013 to determine much about Roseman’s future directly. The process of moving on from Reid was glacial, and I think Lurie will afford Roseman that same opportunity. At some point though, Roseman will have to make more big decisions like the ones he did so poorly with in 2011. For the sake of the Eagles, I’m hoping he does better this time.

  • Warhound

    The answers, not the questions, will determine Howies legacy.

  • GGeagle21

    We all know about the mistakes howie has made, his lack of background n the game..I was always skeptical of Howie, but I have to admit, I’m starting to gain a new level of confiden with him running the organ

    • GGeagle21

      Organization….I don’t think I have ever been so comfortable with our FO as I am now with Howie, Chip and Gamble. One thing bout Howie, is he really seems to learn from his mistakes…I don’t see an inch of the egomaniacal power tripping pictures hat LaConfora tried to paint about him…He seems like he is honest with himself and continuing to improve….