Eagles

Eagles careful to maintain team culture through NFL draft

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Eagles careful to maintain team culture through NFL draft

Measuring their speed, strength and verticle jump, that’s the easy part.

The far more difficult aspect for NFL teams preparing for the draft or free agency is finding guys who can fit into what they want to do on the field, but who can also fit into a team’s culture.

And for an Eagles team coming off a Super Bowl championship, it’s one of the big challenges of the offseason.

The Eagles have built a powerful chemistry and culture over the past two years that was pivotal in their drive to the franchise's first championship in 57 years.

It was a remarkably close team, a remarkably unselfish team. And now the Eagles are in the process of trying to add talent without ruining that unique chemistry.

Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said Thursday the Eagles’ scouting department spends a tremendous amount of time and resources not just evaluating players’ physical attributes but trying to determine whether they’re good fits for what the Eagles have built.

“I think that’s one of the conversations that we probably have the most,” Roseman said. “Background’s really important. We’ve had some guys who’ve come here, who’ve maybe had a (bad) reputation and fit really well, and there’s also the flip side of that.

“So you try to balance all of those and really rely on coach (Doug) Pederson and his leadership council and the ownership he gives them.”

Roseman revealed that he, vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and Pederson actually involve players already on the roster in the decision-making process.

“We talk to our players about a lot of things, and we talk to them about guys that we’re going to potentially bring in,” Roseman said. “We try to pick their brain.”

It’s not a perfect process. Every team has been burned by a Darryl Worley. But the Eagles clearly are doing a better job than most teams getting 53 unique individuals to mesh together.

“I accept responsibility for the mistakes we made, that’s on me,” Roseman said.

“But we try to get a lot of information and then also talk to our players so a lot of these moves that we’ve made the last two years … and that’s probably not the norm in the National Football League, but that’s really from the leadership of coach Pederson and what he wants us to do.”

Roseman mentioned something called the “Co-habitation Matrix,” devised by Douglas and Eagles director of football administration Jake Rosenberg — "and Keanu Reeves," Roseman joked. That’s basically a way to connect anybody in any role within the organization that has had any previous experience at a previous spot with potential new additions.

It’s all a part of minimizing the risk of shattering the franchise’s powerful culture.

“That’s something that we work so hard to build and it could be the hardest thing to build and it could be the easiest thing to lose and that’s something that we have been working hard on, is just pinpointing the guys that can come in and just add to our culture,” Douglas said Thursday.

“Chemistry really isn’t a thing you can quantify. It’s not an objective thing, but you know when you’ve got it and obviously for us to do what we did last year we had it. So now it’s us trying to keep adding to it.”

When do players know their football days are over?

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When do players know their football days are over?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Father's Day weekend. What kind of basketball parent is Barrett? The guys give their 53-man roster after spring practices. Tom Brady says he can feel his playing days are getting numbered. When do players first start realizing that the end is near and what makes that reality most difficult? Also, how should the Giants handle Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation?

"I think that Saquon [Barkley] is going to be better than [Ezekiel] Elliott." — Barrett Brooks.

1:00 - What kind of basketball parent is Barrett?
3:00 - Father's Day weekend recap.
5:00 - Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices.
15:30 - Tom Brady tells Oprah the end is near ... when do players start seeing that reality?
20:00 - The hardest part about having to say goodbye to football.
23:00 - Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation.

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

The Eagles were just a few days away from the Super Bowl and there was a clear indication of just how loose the team really was. 

On Feb. 1, Carson Wentz tweeted out a photo proving it. 

So, what’s the point of this? Why show a photo that Wentz sent out from an escape room well over four months ago?

Well, because it was a little glimpse into the future. Because the five guys in that photo are going to be the five guys in the Eagles’ quarterback room this season. 

Along with Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld, the other two are Press Taylor (sitting) and Spencer Phillips. This offseason, after John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to take the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota, the Eagles promoted Taylor to take his position as quarterbacks coach and then promoted Phillips to take Taylor’s spot as the assistant quarterbacks coach. 

It was probably a no-brainer. 

And it’s crazy to think, but just a year after the Eagles blocked DeFilippo from leaving the organization, DeFilippo has left … and the Eagles are going to be just fine. 

At the time, before the 2017 season, it made sense to block DeFilippo. He was seemingly integral to the development of a young Wentz and he certainly deserves plenty of credit for the big jump in Wentz’s play last season. But now, without him, the Eagles are going to keep a finely-tuned machine running. And they’re going to do it with a very young and very promising coach. 

Taylor is just 30 years old, which seems incredibly young for a coach who is supposed to lead the most important position room for the Eagles and possibly the most important position room in the entire league. He’s just one year older than Foles. 

He might be young, but Taylor is uniquely positioned to handle this responsibility. And aside from his football acumen — which has been touted by his superiors — it’s his relationship with the players in the room that made him such a no-brainer replacement for DeFilippo. 

“I feel really close (to Wentz, Foles and Sudfeld),” Taylor said last week. “I know what makes them tick going into it. And then we all had our own relationships. Obviously, I wasn’t their quarterbacks coach at the time, but I was in the room, sat through those conversations, had my own conversations out on the practice field. I feel like I know the things they like, the things they didn’t like. And then was able to learn from the other guys, the other coaches in the room.”

After the Super Bowl, Taylor is probably best known in the city for bringing the Philly Special to the Eagles. In his position last year, it was his job to mine gadget plays from around the league and found that play being used by the Bears the season before (see story). And that’s great. But all the stuff we don’t know about last year is what’s going to make the most difference for the Eagles this season. 

Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when Chip Kelly brought him to town. And then Doug Pederson was smart enough (and without ego) to keep Taylor in 2016. The brother of Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Press has quickly worked his way up the ladder. 

Last week, Wentz was asked if the team wanted his opinion before promoting Taylor. 

“I think it was pretty much known how we felt about Press beforehand,” Wentz said. “We’ve seen Press behind the scenes the last couple years and how hard he works. A lot of guys have a ton of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I know that’s where I sit. So far, it’s been great. He understands the game extremely well. We’re very like-minded, both on and off the field. The relationship I have with him personally and the relationship he has with all the quarterbacks has been tremendous so far.”

The relationship between Taylor and the QBs is so important. Relationships for this entire coaching staff are so important. Really, that’s what has made Pederson so special. He has that “emotional intelligence” and understands how to deal with his players. 

Taylor seems to have that too. And really, that’s why the Eagles’ QB room won’t miss a beat. 

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