Careful Icarus

Posted: May 21st, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Careful Icarus

The Eagles went to a pair of Super Bowls in six seasons, winning in 2017 and falling just short in February. They’ve got a star QB and a loaded roster. They’ve had several strong drafts (on paper), manage the salary cap at a high level and pull off an impressive trade or two every year. Life is good for Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.

Lurie and Roseman are drawing a ton of praise for what they’ve done.

This piece from SI talks about Lurie and Roseman and how they have been smart with taking risks.

One question, in two separate interviews that stretched for more than an hour, momentarily stopped Lurie. What actually scares you? He paused, leaned back, considered. “I’ve never been asked that,” he said after 10 seconds or so, buying time. Then he said, “The thing that would scare me the most is: to do the expected. Doing the ‘traditional thing’ would scare me. Realizing we’ve morphed into that approach, whether in player personnel or picking coaches or offensive strategy. That’s a fear of mine. I’m always on the lookout for that. Are we getting too conservative in some way?”

When you see Lurie and Roseman answer questions about their philosophy, you can tell they love it. They are proud of their success. And they should be. The Lions have never been to a Super Bowl. They played in the NFC title game in 1991. The Commanders have been a mess for decades. The Giants have two winning seasons in the past decade. Good ownership makes a difference. A good GM makes a huge difference.

Roseman is seen as the best GM in the league.

No team does a better job using every avenue for player acquisition, balancing current needs with the future. The Jalen Hurts pick in 2020 was a great example of forward thinking that changed the course of the franchise. The top three picks in last year’s draft class (Jordan DavisCam Jurgens and Nakobe Dean) mostly had what amounted to redshirt rookie seasons, but players selected in the class before (DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson) helped the team nearly win a title in 2022.

The Eagles are great at self-scouting and spend a premium on line play (Lane JohnsonJordan Mailata and Josh Sweat) while finding ways to keep their productive longtime veterans like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. Most importantly, Roseman has nailed bringing in players just about to hit their prime, such as A.J. BrownHaason Reddick and Javon Hargrave (the latter of whom left for San Francisco this offseason). They recognize value, whether that means scooping up James Bradberry late last offseason or finding a way to keep him and Darius Slay this time around. Hurts’ looming big contract will test Roseman’s flexibility, but this is a front office that finds answers.

Lurie is one of the senior owners in the league now, having had the Eagles for 29 years. He’s also considered one of the best.

While Lurie and Roseman should be proud of what they’ve done and how they’ve done it, there is danger in patting yourself on the back too much. The Eagles get a ton of credit for moving on from Carson Wentz following the 2020 season. That wasn’t as black and white as it appears in hindsight. The report was that the relationship between Wentz and Doug Pederson was “fractured beyond repair”. The Eagles ended up firing Pederson and hiring Nick Sirianni. Wentz still wanted out and pushed for a trade.

If Wentz hadn’t pushed for the trade, who knows what happens. Jalen Hurts was on the roster, but his four-game performance in late 2020 was hardly enough to make you think he was the long term answer with any certainty. If Wentz and Hurts competed for the job in 2021, Wentz might have won the starting role and history could be very different.

The Eagles might not have that Super Bowl ring from 2017 if not for the Giants. The Eagles were very interested in hiring Ben McAdoo as their coach back in 2016. Before they could set up a second interview, the Giants hired him. The Eagles settled for Doug Pederson, who wasn’t on anyone else’s radar. That turned out to be great luck. McAdoo struggled in NY and Pederson brought the Lombardi to Broad Street.

The Eagles just pulled off the rare feat of playing in the Super Bowl and then getting the most talented prospect in the draft. The Saints made a highly questionable trade last year that gave the Eagles their first round pick this year. The Saints delusionally thought they would be a playoff team this year and that pick would be in the mid-20s. Instead, they were bad and the pick ended up 10th overall.

That still wouldn’t have helped them land Jalen Carter unless he didn’t have major issues in the pre-draft process. Once again, the Eagles got lucky. We’ll have to wait and see if Carter pans out. If he does, the Eagles might have a stud DT as a foundational piece for the defense for years to come.

Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith both fell in the draft. We’ll find out if the Eagles got lucky with a couple of major steals or if the rest of the league was smart to pass on them.

My point here isn’t to insult Roseman and Lurie, but rather just to serve as a reminder that luck is crucial in NFL success. You need good players more than anything. Bill Belichick is arguably the best coach in NFL history. He’s 25-25 since losing Tom Brady.

Don’t ever think you’ve got all the answers. Don’t ever think you’ve got things figured out.

The NFL is constantly changing. The ideas that worked last year may not work next year. You have to constantly be learning and adapting. This is true in terms of strategy on and off the field.

It can be easy to buy into the hype when you’re constantly getting praised.

We could go on and on with the praise for Roseman and the Eagles. The media loves the Eagles right now. They win and score points. They make plays on defense. They do interesting things (QB sneaks). The media wants to see good football and they want compelling stories to cover. The Eagles check both boxes.

The praise for Lurie and Roseman will keep coming until there are some bumps in the road. For now, life is good. Enjoy it. Just remember to heed the advice of Nick Saban. He refers to external comments and outside noise as “rat poison” and preaches to his team to avoid it.

If you listen to the praise and hype, you can lose your edge.


If you want a much funnier use of “Careful Icarus”, check out this segment from Craig Ferguson’s show.

He was nuts and incredibly funny. I miss him being a part of late night TV.


I missed this from earlier in the week. Jimmy did a good review of D’Andrew Swift.

Really interested to see what he does in the Eagles offense.


Jim Brown passed away on Friday.

Greatest RB of all time.

Greatest football player of all time.

Brown was a phenomenal athlete. He was tough and physical. He was also smart. Never missed a game. That’s hard to believe for a workhorse RB from that era of football. One thing to always keep in mind when watching him is that every defense he faced was geared to stop him. Teams made offseason moves with Brown in mind. They made schematic changes with Brown in mind. Some slowed him down, but nobody stopped him.

Here is a great piece on Brown by Tim Layden.


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