There really is no offseason in the NFL. So, as the Eagles ended what was in some ways a disappointing season under first-year Head Coach Doug Pederson, after what looked to be such a promising start, there has been news.
Things like releasing Leodis McKelvin to create much needed cap space, word that the Eagles approached Jason Peters in an attempt to restructure his contract to provide cap space (which resulted in well, nothing) and news that the Eagles are shopping Connor Barwin, and reports that as many as five teams are interested in him, along with other tasty nuggets.
This is all run-of-the-mill stuff really. But this is the first TRUE offseason that Pederson has had with the real ability to affect the team’s personnel decisions. We are sure he doesn’t have the control that Chip Kelly had, we were told by Howie Roseman, however, that Pederson will at least have input in building the roster. If that sounds extremely general and open to vast interpretation, that’s because it is.
Look, I think we all know that Roseman will be making the final decisions over the roster and in the War Room during the draft, but exactly how much say will Pederson have in that process?
I reach back several weeks for an example of what has me worried. When the Eagles fired WR coach Greg Lewis and hired Mike Groh, the surrounding situation left me a little concerned. The fact that Lewis was let go isn’t what worries me, nor was it the hiring of Groh. It was that despite Howie Roseman saying at the Senior Bowl that it was Pederson’s decision.
“He decides who the coaches are, he’s in charge of the staff and that’s how we roll.”
I still don’t know what Pederson is really doing during this offseason. Sure, there was also a statement attributed to Pederson that the team released about hiring Groh. For the record it was:
“We are excited to add Mike Groh to our coaching staff.” Mike brings with him a vast array of experience coaching wide receivers in the NFL and college. Over his career, he has demonstrated a great ability as a teacher and as a motivator and we look forward to him getting started in Philadelphia.”
When Roseman was pressed about the decision on a few different occasions, he said those questions would be better answered by Pederson because he has final authority over his staff.
The problem is Pederson has really been M.I.A. this offseason. There have been no real postseason press conferences. He hasn’t been on the radio doing a weekly show like during the season and maybe it’s because of the rollercoaster nature we’ve grown accustomed too..but it all feels a little calm for this time of year.
As we all get excited for things to heat up soon for what is really a very pivotal period of decisions for the Eagles, my point is simply does anyone truly know what Pederson’s role in all this really is? Do the Eagles have a coach that has no say in who the players are on the team or as I mentioned, is Roseman completely in charge of staffing all player personnel?
Is the owner, in what’s becoming a growing impatience towards winning the Super Bowl (as it should be), becoming too involved? We know that it was Jeffrey Lurie – and NOT Pederson – who vetoed Quarterbacks Coach John DeFilippo from interviewing with the New York Jets for their offense coordinator position. Isn’t that act in direct conflict of Roseman’s statement that Pederson has “final authority over his staff”? So do we really know what power Roseman and Pederson have, and more specifically, whatever Pederson’s is, where it begins?
We really can’t be sure of much of this floating power structure the Eagles have seemingly created, because they never give any real definitive statements. My biggest worry isn’t that they are just keeping their cards close to the vest and just not sharing with us. Frankly if they win and this time next year we are talking about how much Carson Wentz has improved, and singing the praises of all the weapons the Eagles got him, and the terrific draft they engineered, and how it was a clear step forward for the organization heading into 2018, then none of this will matter.
What the problem IS, however, is that in absolutely no way, shape, or form have this current Eagles regime earned the benefit of the doubt in that regard. Clarity and transparency along with accountability have been three of the most prominent criteria set by Jeffery Lurie in order to build a new culture. But through the addition of Joe Douglas and Andy Weidl, the influence of Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson have become blurred at times.
Perhaps this is just some offseason procrastination or maybe we’re just not used to an offseason without some kind of controversy. Regardless of how Doug Pederson fits into the Eagles power structure, this remains one of the most important offseasons in recent history. How the team approach this will have a huge knock-on effect..and after an era of instability, it’s the first in which the new front office will have to propel the team forward. Seeing how heavily Doug Pederson is involved in the upcoming facets of the offseason will be telling of just how much responsibility and input he has when it comes to building the team’s roster.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports