Eagles

Eagles fans deserve more than silence from front office

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Eagles fans deserve more than silence from front office

What makes Jeff Lurie think Chip Kelly can handle complete control of personnel just two years after getting his very first NFL job?

Why did Lurie reassign Howie Roseman and pay him nearly $2 million to not be involved in personnel?

And what exactly will Roseman do on a daily basis to earn that roughly $33,000 he’s earning per week?

What makes 30-year-old Ed Marynowitz the right guy to be Kelly’s top personnel assistant?

Where did things go wrong with Tom Gamble? And if Kelly had been given complete personnel control a few days earlier, would Gamble still be here?

Why was Kelly so adamant about creating a front office where Roseman, the Eagles’ GM for five years, was no longer involved in evaluating and selecting players?

What involvement, if any, will Roseman have on draft day?

So many questions. So many questions Eagles fans deserve to have answered.

Yet here we are, more than six weeks after the Eagles’ dramatic front office restructure and still not a peep from Kelly, from Lurie, from anybody in the Eagles’ organization explaining why this happened and what it means.

We’re not talking about signing a free agent or firing a regional scout or placing an injured player on IR.

We’re talking about a historic shakeup of the Eagles’ front office that fundamentally changes the way the team will select players and gives the coach unprecedented powers for his level of experience and accomplishment.

And nothing but silence from the NovaCare Complex.

The NFL Scouting Combine starts Wednesday morning at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, and representatives from 29 teams will be available for interviews to talk about the draft, to talk about their needs, to talk about the future. Some 19 teams will have both their coach and a GM or personnel exec available.

They don't have to be there. But those franchises believe it's important for their fans to know what they're thinking.

Guess who won’t be anywhere to be seen. Saints, Patriots and Eagles.

Two teams that have won a Super Bowl in the past few years, and one team that drafted Marcus Smith in the first round.

This isn’t about disgruntled media not having access to the owner or coach. We’ll find other stories to write. We’ll find other people to talk to. We’ll still be able to do our jobs just fine.

It’s not about us. It’s about you.

It’s about a football team that charges about $100 per average ticket, ninth-highest in the NFL, but refuses to explain its thinking to its loyal and die-hard fans, many of whom have supported the team during its half century without a championship.

The Eagles don’t believe it’s important to communicate with you and your friends and family, and that’s their right, but it’s a real slap in the face to fans who spend thousands of dollars a year in tickets, parking, jerseys, food and merchandise a year to support their team.

Last time Lurie spoke, minutes after the season-ending win over the Giants, he told a group of writers in the visiting locker room at MetLife Stadium that Roseman would remain as general manager, and he mocked writers who asked about Roseman’s future.

Last time Kelly spoke, he said he had a good relationship with Roseman and wouldn’t address rumors of a fractured front office.

That was six weeks ago.

Since then, Lurie and Kelly have hidden behind a couple prepared statements, electing to explain one of the most significant front office changes in franchise history through the PR department instead of fielding questions that all Eagles fans need to have answered.

Lurie did what he once said he would never do again, giving a coach complete control. Kelly’s role changed, adding player evaluation to his coaching duties before he even won a playoff game. Roseman’s role changed, with a raise and a vague new role. Gamble left, Marynowitz got a promotion.

And not a word from anybody involved.

When the Eagles want the media to hear about stadium improvements, they make sure somebody is available to tell us all about it.

When they announce their mural arts program, they make sure somebody from the front office is available to tell us all about it.

When they announce “new food and beverage concepts” at the Linc, they make sure somebody from the front office is available to discuss the long-term ramifications.

But reconfigure the front office so dramatically that it will affect the franchise for the next 10 years or more?

Silence.

Kelly is required to speak with the media at the owner’s meetings, which is in late March. By then it will have been nearly three months since the front-office shakeup.

Lurie isn’t required to speak at all, but he more than anybody owes it to the fans to take a few minutes out of his schedule to share his drastically altered vision for the franchise and explain why he believes this unusual structure will work.

When we last heard from Lurie, he was openly mocking a reporter for asking if Roseman would be back in 2015 as general manager.

“Is that a question?”

Yeah. It is a question. A good one. And lately, that’s all we have. Lots and lots of questions. And absolutely no answers.

Carson Wentz fought back against jealousy toward Nick Foles

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Carson Wentz fought back against jealousy toward Nick Foles

Was he jealous? Was he envious of Nick Foles? Carson Wentz doesn’t exactly say yes. But he doesn’t say no, either.

“You’ve got to fight that, you’ve got to fight that,” Wentz said Tuesday.

“It’s human nature to want to be on that podium and be the guy. You grow up wanting to be there, but not being able to be up there, there’s nobody I’d rather have up there than Nick.”

Wentz may have been the most valuable player in the NFL, but Foles, his close friend and teammate, is the one with a Super Bowl MVP trophy.

Wentz did everything he could to support Foles once he suffered a season-ending knee injury in early December. And Foles has spoken several times about what a good teammate Wentz was.

But after leading the Eagles to a 10-2 record with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, it wasn’t the easiest thing to watch his backup achieve football immortality with a record-setting run through the postseason.

“It was pretty different but pretty special,” Wentz said. “We’ve become so close ever since he first got here. Developed a real friendship, a real relationship, more than just a working relationship, a true friendship between me and him — and Nate (Sudfeld) as well. So to go through that experience last year was pretty cool.”

For now, Foles is back with the Eagles, and depending on how fast Wentz recovers from his injury (see story), he will either begin the season backing up Wentz or starting until Wentz is ready.

This is unprecedented stuff. No quarterback has ever been a Super Bowl MVP and then been a backup on the same team the next year.

Without the right two guys, it wouldn’t work. It couldn’t work.

But Zach Ertz, who is close to both Foles and Wentz, said their unique relationship makes it possible.

“First and foremost, they have an amazing relationship with one another, and I think their faith is part of their relationship,” he said.

“They’re able to step back and just focus on the team. Both guys have no egos, especially Nick. That guy is as cool as they come. He’s a phenomenal teammate, I think everyone saw that come out last year, his ability even at the beginning of the year, what he was able to do with Carson, kind of helping him out.

“When Carson was playing, Nick would be a sounding board. So the dynamic really hasn’t changed in that regard. Even when Nick was playing, Carson did the same thing for him. So that relationship started to grow last year, and I’m assuming it’s going to be the same.”

Foles has made it clear he wants to be a starter (see story), so this could be a difficult situation. But it won’t be, Ertz promises.

“Nick is not a guy that’s going to demand anything,” he said. “Obviously, he could do some things in the best interests of his career down the road, but right now I mean the guy loves being in Philadelphia and I think he’s really having fun in playing football with this team.”

Zach Ertz missing Brent Celek as he takes his leadership role

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Zach Ertz missing Brent Celek as he takes his leadership role

There was a noticeable difference in the NovaCare Complex when Zach Ertz arrived on Monday for the first day of the Eagles’ offseason workout program. 

No Brent Celek. 

Celek, the 11-year pro, was cut earlier this offseason after a tremendous career with the Eagles. For the first time in Ertz’s six-year career, Celek won’t be around. 

And weirdly, Ertz will now assume Celek’s old role as the veteran leader in the Eagles’ tight end room. 

“It’s tough, obviously,” Ertz said on Tuesday. “He was the guy that when they brought me in, he was the guy, the veteran tight end in Philadelphia. He was the guy everyone knew about. And he didn’t treat me as a guy who was a competitor to him; he treated me as the guy who could help him further his career, where he didn’t have to take every snap. So it’s tough. That guy has been with me from the beginning, pretty much taught me how to be a pro in Philadelphia. 

“Even a couple years back, when the playing time began to increase in my way, he let me kind of take on a leadership role. He wasn’t overbearing by any means. He kind of let me lead in my own way. Even though he was the leader of the room, per se, he let me lead and slowly earn more of a leadership role in our room. He kind of set me up for this moment. I owe a lot of my success to Brent, the way he was a dominant blocking tight end, I was able to learn from that for a lot of years. I’m extremely thankful for him.”

While Ertz learned how to be a pro from Celek, he always tried to become a top-notch tight end like the Cowboys’ Jason Witten. He’s long admired his game. While some would argue Ertz finally had a breakout season in 2017, his last three years have been elite. Since 2015, he has 227 catches for 2,493 yards and 14 touchdowns. The only other TEs to put up those numbers or better over that span are Travis Kelce and Delanie Walker. And in 2017, Ertz did something Celek never did: he made a Pro Bowl. 

Celek was released and Trey Burton signed a lucrative deal to become the top tight end in Chicago, so Ertz is the only player left from last year’s tight end room. The Eagles brought in Richard Rodgers as a free agent and have a few younger prospects already on the expanded roster, but the Eagles’ brass has commented about how good of a tight end draft this is, so it would make sense if they add one later this month. 

If the Eagles do draft a tight end, the 27-year-old Ertz is going to try to be a strong veteran presence for the young player … kind of like what Celek was for him. 

“I told the guys the other day, I’m here to help however I can, whether that be talking football or just allowing them to watch how I approach things,” Ertz said. “I kind of was able to learn from Brent how to treat young tight ends coming in, young players coming in, so that’s one of the things that he kind of told me as he was leaving: that I kind of set the blueprint for your success. He didn’t say that verbally, but that’s how I took it. I want to repeat that for whoever comes in.”

Celek is gone, but through Ertz, his impact is still going to be felt in the NovaCare Complex for years to come.