Facing the Music

Posted: January 4th, 2021 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 5 Comments »

Now that the 2020 season is in the books, we can move onto the offseason. The first order of business was Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson meeting the media. Since Doug has talked multiple times a week for several months, most of the questions went to Howie.

This is probably going to shock you, but we didn’t get any crazy news or compelling quotes. Howie opened by calling the season “disappointing, frustrating, embarrassing”. That was a good start. In order to give any hope to the fans, the Eagles have to let people know they understand just how bad 2020 was. This was more than injuries, bad luck or some close losses. This was a bad team.

Howie admitted that instead of sticking to the plan to get younger, the team changed up when the pandemic hit. They thought that having the only returning coaching staff gave the Eagles an advantage so they added some veterans instead of sticking with younger players.

Barf.

I don’t get that plan at all. If the older guys put you at Super Bowl level, do it. If they help you secure a weak division, you are wasting your time. What is the point in chasing division titles? You want to build a Super Bowl team. That can mean purging vets and going young every now and then. Howie has less willpower with veterans than I do at a breakfast buffet. If he gets Jason Peters, I should get another trip to the omelet station.

I think…think…he understands that this year must be different. The cap issues are legit and you can’t ignore them. The Eagles are going to have to embrace young guys. Had they done a better job of that this year, the team would be better prepared heading into 2021. Was playing Vinny Curry worth four wins? Would you rather have Casey Toohill with a season of experience? There is no question that Curry is the better player. There is also no question that he’s not part of the future.

This organization needs better structure and discipline. They will be treading water until everyone gets on the same page and they all have the mental and emotional toughness to take chances on young players with upside. There will be failures, of course. But you aren’t going to find players unless  you take some of those chances.

Howie said he regrets the QB factory comment from the draft. I understood the point he was making then, but flippant comments can bite you in the ass. That one sure did. It had a little too much hubris and Howie has paid the price for that.

It was hard to get a feel for Howie’s mindset. Reporters got after him for missing on recent draft picks. Howie admitted fault, but also pushed back some.

“I think there’s two parts of that. The fact that we are where we are now, and we’re 4-11-1, to not sit there and review everything we’ve done and see if there’s a better way to do it, you know that, would probably be ignorant. So, we have to do that. But by the same time, we have also been incredibly successful. Just because you have one bad moment doesn’t mean you’re not good at your jobs or you don’t have a good process. It happens in this business. Extremely humbling business. And we have to rebound from it, and we have to do better, and it starts with me.

“But when I look at it objectively, too, we’ve had a lot of hits in free agency. We’ve had a lot of draft picks here who have done a really good job and we have to get back to that and make sure we attack this offseason. This is, really, besides 2012, we haven’t picked because of earning it in the top 10, we obviously traded up for Carson, but we didn’t start that year, either that way. That’s something we have to hit on, the sixth pick in the draft, in a huge, huge way, and I think that we have the right people to do that. I know that we’re going to be incredibly focused on not only that pick, but the other picks we’ll have in this draft and hopefully we’ll have a bunch of picks and we’ll go from there.”

Howie is human. He’s going to defend himself. I get that. But boy I wish he didn’t say “incredibly successful”. The Super Bowl team of 2017 was outstanding, but we have to be honest that there were some lucky moves. No one expected Patrick Robinson or Chris Long to play like they did. Corey Clement looked like a star in the Super Bowl itself, but hasn’t come close to that level since. Nick Foles was lightning in a bottle. That was an amazing group, but let’s not act like that team panned out exactly as expected.

Chasing past glory can be a dangerous thing. The Eagles need to be careful about studying that team too much. They need to look at teams who won with young rosters. Study the Rams from this year. They had one of the youngest rosters in the league and still won. Buffalo added all their key skill players (aside from QB) in the last two years, with most of them being young. That offense was great this year.

“One bad moment” was a very poor phrase. Howie and the Eagles have had a bunch of bad moments in recent years. That’s how you build a 4-11-1 roster. You have to acknowledge that in order to make changes.

Howie’s PC didn’t change my opinion of things. I still don’t think he is the right guy to fix this mess. I didn’t come away thinking “He really gets it and might be different going forward”. I certainly hope he is. I’d love for Howie to prove me wrong. Go have a phenomenal draft and add some solid veteran talent. I just don’t think that’s very likely.

The first order of business is figuring out QB. That won’t be easy. Howie said all the right things in regard to Carson Wentz, but didn’t say much in regard to the report that Wentz will request a trade. That’s a complex situation and will take time. I get that Howie can’t show his cards on that one.

Here is the PC if you want to check it out.

*****

The Eagles do have some tough decisions to make in regard to veteran players.

Zach Ertz talked to the media. He broke down as he talked about Philly and the Eagles.

You can see where it is tough for Howie and Doug to move on from these players that they’ve known so long. It is easy for us to say “Cut Peters and play the kid”. That is different when you’ve known that man for more than a decade.

Still, that’s the job of a GM and coach. You have to do what is right for the team, not just the individual. You must be able to walk away from Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Vinny Curry, etc. And now the Eagles need to walk away from Ertz. He’s an all-time great Eagle and will always be loved, but it’s time to move on.

*****

Wentz did not meet the media. He wanted no part of answering questions about his future.

*****

The Eagles must get under the cap. They started that process on Monday.

_