A lot has changed for the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. Some heartbreaking goodbyes and some heartwarming greetings have filled the air at different times, but it’s been a rollercoaster. With so many ups and downs, there have been some decisions made by Howie Roseman that have flown under the radar. So with that in mind, here are the five most overlooked moves of the offseason.
K’ving the way
The Eagles had a blast in the heart of the NFL Draft and if you ask any fan who endured the confusion at the time surrounding the Jalen Hurts selection, they’ll say it was needed. Howie Roseman went from a potential villain to a certified hero once more within the space of three selections – largely thanks to the drafting of Clemson Safety K’Von Wallace.
He may be a little undersized at 5’11, 206 lbs, but Wallace is a scary athlete who ran a 4.53 40 at the combine and had the fourth-best vertical among safeties at 38.0 inches.
With Weapon-X on his side due to a friendship with his son, Wallace emerged as a decimating defender as a senior, racking up a career-high 47 solo tackles, 3 TFL, 10 passes defensed, and 2 interceptions.
Howie worked hard to fill the gaping hole left by Malcolm Jenkins, and Wallace could well be the cub that one day develops into the Lion that Jenkins is now.
Hassan Ridgeway’s return
Sure, the Eagles spent big money on Javon Hargrave, and yes, did the same with Malik Jackson one year ago. But don’t let the return of Hassan Ridgeway go overlooked here.
With 2 sacks and 6 tackles in 3 weeks following injuries to the starters, Ridgeway was firing on all cylinders until the inevitable injury bug found its way to the bright young talent.
One week after the best game of his career as an Eagle, Hassan Ridgeway was placed on injured reserve. He notched 2 sacks, 4 QB hits, and 4 tackles for a loss in his short stint replacing the DT’s above him on the roster and flashed plenty of upside in the process.
He may only be the DT4 on the roster, but think how important guys like Beau Allen were during the Super Bowl run. This move is an important one.
A future CB2?
Darius Slay was the flashy signing and Nickell Robey-Coleman brings that toughness that was arguably lacking as someone that rarely misses a beat, but it’s Trevor Williams who has some ‘Patrick Robinson’ in his veins.
Now 26-years-old, the former UDFA has endured a career filled with injury setbacks and question marks. But when healthy, that’s a different story as our man Morgan Burkett explains.
However, in 2017, his last healthy season, he allowed a passer rating of just 70.5 and registered 12 PBUs. He was PFF’s 10th ranked overall corner, being particularly excellent in coverage. What was most impressive was his performance against long-winded throws. On throws more than 2.6 seconds after the snap of the football, he was the number one corner in the league, allowing a shockingly low passer rating of 10.4. That figure was 6 below A.J. Bouye, the second-place finisher.
He may not be a surefire starter, but if Williams can use this extended offseason to ensure he’s 100% raring to go by the time the season arrives, then who knows just how shiny this gem really is.
Replacing the irreplaceable
Losing Malcolm Jenkins was a bitter pill to swallow for everybody involved, but it was a decision Howie had to make. What the Eagles GM basically had to do, was for the same 2020 price, choose between a collective of versatile safeties, or an aging, yet durable, productive, and influential leader in Malcolm Jenkins.
Will Parks, Rodney McLeod, and Jalen Mills will all do their bit in shaping a defense without the engine that drove it for so long and K’Von Wallace may well be the missing piece. It was a business decision and one that was made with the long-term stability of the team in mind.
There may be no move that has gone more underrated than the complete coaching overhaul the team has undergone. Oddly, I have a feeling it all ties to one decision that sticks out like a sore thumb when looking back…
Roseman has come under a lot of fire for his ‘drafting’ credentials in recent months, but he also understood that it’s not all on the selections. If you have ingredients to make a cake but don’t know how to make one, it’s pointless.
Mike Groh was fired after a torrid time as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Carson Walch and his odd love for Mack Hollins were banished.
Phillip Daniels was oddly fired and replaced with Matt Burke.
The Eagles went and hired Marquand Manuel as their new DB’s coach.
This isn’t even mentioning the ‘offensive coordinator by committee’ approach that sees a collection of footballing minds who all have strengths in the way of getting quarterbacks into the open field, expanding the playbook, and using speed and misconception to win the day.
The Eagles laid a foundation to build on throughout the offseason and without it, the draft, free agent signings, and even trades, would be rendered meaningless. By far, the team’s most overlooked move of all, was setting themselves up for success to begin with.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports