Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman met with the media on Wednesday for their end-of-season meetings. It was clearly a meeting scheduled earlier than they’d hoped, coming off of a heartbreaking playoff loss that shattered an underdog dream. There was definitely a lot to take in and in case you missed any of it, here’s everything you need to know.
A new era
Since 2016, Roseman has worked hard to sustain a core of players that would be present throughout a five-year Super Bowl window, especially in the trenches. As the team has gotten older and plug-and-play free agents lose their zing, criticism has started to creep up on the young GM.
The ‘Youth infusion’ has been something I’ve written about a lot recently. Names like Greg Ward Jr, Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Josh Perkins, and Sidney Jones, have all stepped up in key moments, injecting a renewed energy in what was a team drained of it.
The Eagles have 7 picks in the first 4 rounds of the NFL Draft, and it doesn’t look as though that’s going to decrease anytime soon.
“But going forward we need to infuse youth in this team. We have 10 draft picks. We think we’re going to have 10 draft picks in this draft and we’re excited about that. When we look at what the young players did for our team down the stretch, it’s a great tribute to them; it’s a great tribute to our coaching staff and it’s a great tribute to our developmental program that we take a lot of pride in.:
A focus on the medical staff
Injuries, injuries, injuries. That word will cause any Eagles fan to shiver as if they were in a horror movie, but for Howie Roseman, this is a harsh reality. The good news is, he seems very intent on making sure history doesn’t repeat itself as it has done in each of the last two.
“As a front office, we have the ability to do that while the coaches are preparing for games. One of the things that obviously has been an issue for us has been the injury situation. When we look at the last three years, in 2017, we were able to overcome it. The last two years, the injuries have really hurt our football team.
There is a part of that that is natural during the game. Injuries are going to happen. But we have to figure out a way to get better here. We can help from a front office perspective by looking at the players that we bring in. Hope is not a strategy when it comes to injuries. When you bring in guys that are injured, it obviously increases the risk that they will get hurt again.
We have hired a new chief medical officer. This is someone that we are very, very excited to have. He came in in June and what he asked for us was that he would observe, observe through the season, observe our training staff, observe our weight staff, our sports science, our processes, and make recommendations to us that we would carry out. So we’re excited about that.”
So, what does this mean? Maybe the ‘free agent prototype’ will change. Perhaps no more players coming off of injury-stricken seasons, or drafted with injury flags. Most likely, a combination of these and several other factors.
The Eagles guaranteed the 2020 salary of Alshon Jeffery earlier this year and it’s safe to say it’s a move that hasn’t exactly gone down well. Roseman, when asked about his future, spoke glowingly…so it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.
“I think we forget some of the contributions to our team that Alshon has had: during our Super Bowl year, the injury he played with not missing a game and the contributions in that Super Bowl game, and last year  he had 11 catches during the playoffs, and even this year in his last game he had nine catches for over 130 yards in the Miami game.
Alshon is a talented player and he loves being an Eagle and he loves this city. I think about the moment last year, after the New Orleans game, when he went into that school and put himself out there. “
Cut the chord
To say the Eagles are that guy who can’t ever really seem to move on from an ex (can’t relate) would be an understatement. There does seem to be a pressing issue of ‘letting go’ and it’s hurt this team.
Jason Peters was a penalty machine this year, while Darren Sproles has ended both of the last two seasons on IR, with 2018 seeing him take up a valuable roster spot for way too long when injured.
In 2020, that sentiment has to stop, and the Eagles GM acknowledged that.
“It’s very difficult when you have guys who have given their heart and soul to this organization, to this team, who you’ve developed personal relationships to say goodbye, and I’m not talking about those guys [specifically], I’m just talking about that decision.
At the same time, you also need veteran leadership on your football team and you need guys that have been through it. I think you saw that for us at the end of the year, there are guys that have been through the adversity and were able to overcome it and be able to take our young players and lead them and tell them kind of the expectations that they had.
So you try to balance all those things. Now, we haven’t gotten into the evaluation of any of this. We haven’t decided on our plan going forward. Those are all the things that will happen in the coming days and coming weeks.”
And what that means for one ‘incredible Eagle’
Unfortunately, the one man who probably deserves a contract, won’t get it as a result of this shift in mentality. I hope I’m wrong, but Malcolm Jenkins, who somehow played every single defensive snap this year, is deserving of a bump in money after playing with not a single guaranteed dollar in 2019. He recently expressed that he won’t come back without a new deal…but is it likely?
“We’re not going to talk about contracts with any players. But it’s important that we have discussions with our players and communicate with them. We obviously understood where Malcolm was when it came to training camp and the conversations we have.
I mean, what an incredible Eagle; what an incredible player; what an incredible person he is, and has been for us. But after that, you know, obviously we’ll just kind of keep those conversations between us.”
Well, it’s vague….
See what Doug Pederson had to say on the page below.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports