Eagles find healthy front office culture with Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas

Eagles find healthy front office culture with Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas

Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas are sitting in comfy chairs facing a couple of dozen members of the media, and the subject of their working relationship comes up.

“What do you guys like about working together?” they’re asked.

“Not much,” Roseman deadpans, and everybody in the room cracks up.

It was funny, and it just goes to show you how terrific the relationship is between the two most important guys in the Eagles' scouting department.

It was a long time coming.

Roseman, during his decade running the Eagles’ scouting department, has gone through a number of No. 2 personnel executives, including Jason Licht, Tom Gamble, Ed Marynowicz, Ryan Grigson and Louis Riddick. 

And Riddick, now with ESPN, was very public in his assertion that Roseman’s track record proved he was difficult to work with.

When the Eagles cut ties with Gamble late in 2014, Riddick tweeted as much:


But you don’t hear that kind of thing very much anymore. 

You don’t hear it at all.

And as Roseman will tell you, the turnover was really just the product of the franchise searching for the right combination of people running the front office.

By all accounts, they have that now.

There’s been a lot of vindication for Roseman since he was restored to power following Chip Kelly’s firing.

And both Roseman and Douglas believe their healthy, productive, honest relationship has had a lot to do with the Eagles’ recent success.

I think the best part about our relationship — and really the relationships we have in the building — is that people aren’t afraid to disagree, people aren’t afraid to say, ‘That’s not what I think,’ and then all of us I think do a good job of sitting back and thinking about what the other person says,” Roseman said. “I know since Joe’s been here I probably need three or four hands for things I thought when I entered his office or starting the discussion and I came back the next day and I said, ‘You know what? I think what you said makes a lot of sense, I think that’s what we should do.’ And I think the same thing from him. The honest conversations. There’s a lot of things that Joe is, and being a ’Yes Man’ isn’t one of them, and I think that’s really been the best part about our building, that we have a lot of opinions, a lot of strong opinions, we have a lot of good people in our building, and nobody is just agreeing for the sake of agreeing.

Douglas began his NFL scouting career in a similar environment in Baltimore, where he won two Super Bowl rings working under legendary GM Ozzie Newsome.

After a year with the Bears, Douglas joined the Eagles immediately after the 2016 draft, and he’s widely credited for helping build a roster that won a Super Bowl in 2017 and came within a play or two of reaching another NFC Championship Game last year.

We’re both extremely passionate about this game and we want nothing more than to win championships at the highest level,” Douglas said. “I think what makes our relationship work is that we’re not afraid to have tough conversations. Oftentimes we can set our egos aside and come up with the best solutions for the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s been a wild ride for Roseman, who first joined the Eagles as a 24-year-old salary cap intern in 2000 and moved up the ranks to general manager in 2010.

In 2017, just a year after his one-year banishment at the hands of Kelly, he was selected as NFL Executive of the Year.

But Roseman is quick to credit owner Jeff Lurie for creating a culture where it’s possible to have this sort of productive front office, where every voice is heard and taken seriously.

“It starts with Jeffrey,” Roseman said. “Jeffrey’s big on having collaboration and wanting to hear everyone’s voice and their opinions and so when you have an owner who fosters that kind of dynamic and gets everyone in a room and says, ‘I want to hear what you’re saying,’ whether you’re in a coaching staff, whether you’re in the front office, whether you’re in personnel, whether you’re in analytics, it’s our job to follow his lead.”

The key is having a group of people who respect each other enough to listen to dissenting opinions and not take it personally.

That seems to be the case not just with Roseman and Douglas but with director of player personnel Andy Weidl, senior director of college scouting Anthony Patch and the rest of the Eagles' sprawling scouting department.

It’s our responsibility to hire people who aren’t afraid to have differences of opinions, but at the same time when we make a decision, to walk out of that room and all be aligned,” Roseman said. “We have a lot of trust in each other and the reason for that is because we’ve had success on the field, and when you have success on the field people feel more confident in the process and the way you do things. It’s fun. Put a camera in these debates and discussions, it would be fun to watch one day.

This week, the Douglas-Roseman front office will draft together for the third time. It’s an important draft, with the Eagles holding three of the first 57 picks for the first time in 25 years.

There will be disagreements, there will be arguments, there might even be some shouting. 

But in the end, it should lead to the Eagles drafting some pretty good players.

“There’s mutual respect,” Douglas said. “Because everyone’s done the work, everyone’s put their time in, everyone’s been able to check their ego at the door and just come to the best solution for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

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Alshon vs. Thrash in Roob's 10 Observations!

Alshon vs. Thrash in Roob's 10 Observations!

Alshon Jeffery vs. James Thrash, Henry Ruggs’ 40 time, the Gin Blossoms and Mark Duper all found their way into this weekend’s edition of Roob’s 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations.

I’m guessing that’s never happened before!

ALSHON VS. JAMES THRASH: Forget all the Carson stuff. Forget about the injuries and the terrible body language and the awful contract and the dropped passes that turned into Nick Foles interceptions in the Super Bowl and the playoff loss to the Saints. Let’s just focus on production, and Alshon Jeffery in three seasons in an Eagles uniform has 165 catches, 2,122 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Let’s do a little comparison of three WRs. These are averages based on their years when they were regulars on the Eagles:

Todd Pinkston: 44 catches, 659 yards, 15.0 ypc, 4.0 TDs

James Thrash: 55 catches, 675 yards, 12.4 ypc, 5.0 TDs

Alshon Jeffery: 55 catches, 707 yards, 12.9 ypc, 6 TDs

Jeffery did have a big 2017 postseason, but for the most part he’s been a pedestrian receiver since he’s been here. He’s the 14th-highest-paid WR in the NFL, but since 2017 he’s 37th among WRs in yards per game (54).

He’s an underachieving, overpaid, injury-prone 30-year-old James Thrash clone. Howie’s gotta find an exit strategy.

HOW FAST WILL HE RUN? I’ve never been a huge Combine fan, but I'll be glued to the TV Thursday when the wide receivers run the 40. How fast can Henry Ruggs go? In a way, Eagles fans should hope he doesn’t put up a 4.23 or something absurd because that might move him up too high for the Eagles to even trade up for. But I just want to see this kid run. It’s been a long time since one player made so much sense for the Eagles.

GET THIS MAN A CONTRACT: Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are both scheduled to speak at the Combine on Tuesday, and it will be the first time we’ve heard from them in about six weeks, since Doug assured us that Mike Groh and Carson Walch weren’t getting fired. I’m most interested to hear what Howie has to say about Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles need to resolve this situation quickly because the last thing they need this offsaeson is a growing impasse between the franchise and one of their best players and the drama and distraction it would bring. Jenkins deserves a new deal. They have the money. Get it done.

NICK AND DENNIS: It’s hilarious to me that the two players the Eagles took in the 2012 draft who’ve caught postseason touchdown passes are Nick Foles and Dennis Kelly.

WHO'S AFTER MILES AND DALLAS? I was going to make a list of the top 5 Eagles 25 or younger but after I jotted down Miles Sanders and Dallas Goedert I got stuck. Who else would you put on that list? Derek Barnett? Nate Gerry? Jake Elliott? Avonte Maddox? Boston Scott? Greg Ward? Cre’von LeBlanc? Andre Dillard? Sidney Jones?

I guess I’d go:

1. Miles Sanders

2. Dallas Goedert

3. Derek Barnett

4. Avonte Maddox

5. Jake Elliott

MARK DUPER'S BRIEF EAGLES CAREER: History has forgotten it, but Mark Duper was briefly with the Eagles during 1993 training camp. You won’t find it mentioned on his Wikipedia page or his Pro Football Reference page. None of his on-line bios mention it. But after spending 1982 through 1992 with the Dolphins – he was a three-time Pro Bowler and had four 1,000-yard seasons – Duper signed in the summer of 1993 with the Bengals. It didn’t go well. They released him a couple weeks into training camp. Rich Kotite, desperate for more old broken-down players who couldn’t play anymore, immediately signed the 34-year-old Duper. He arrived at training camp in West Chester late in the day on Aug. 19, and a group of us grabbed him walking into the dining hall:

“The biggest mistake I ever made was going to the Bengals,” he said, adding, “I feel like I still have a few good years of football left.”

Turned out he didn’t even have a few weeks of football left. Duper was 34, which made him a typical Rich Kotite favorite. Not surprisingly, he couldn’t run anymore. We saw it in his first practice. The Eagles released him a couple weeks later, and he never played football again.

FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU: Anybody remember when the Gin Blossoms played the Eagles’ 2004 pep rally in the Headhouse Plaza outside the Linc? It was Sept. 9, 2004, three days before the 2004 Super Bowl season began. Did you know that gig was the first time several songs from their next record, Major Lodge Victory, were ever played live? And the next night the entire band was at the TLA on South Street to see the late, great Tommy Keene, a long-time Gin Blossoms collaborator, open for Guided by Voices?

1-FOR-62: The Eagles have selected 62 defensive players in their last 14 drafts, and one has gone to a Pro Bowl. Fletcher Cox, naturally. The rest of the league has drafted 171 Pro Bowl defensive players over the last 14 years.

BEING GREG LEWIS: How about Greg Lewis’s career. As a player, he made little impact in his five years with the Eagles – he averaged just 25 catches and 339 yards per season – but he caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl on what may have been the best pass Donovan McNabb ever threw. Then he goes to Minnesota in 2009, playing for Brad Childress, and in his first game with the Vikings makes that insane miracle 32-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone with 2 seconds left against the 49ers that wins him a freaking ESPY for Play of the Year. Then he becomes Eagles WRs coach in 2016 and gets fired after one year. Then he goes to the Chiefs in the same role and wins a Super Bowl.

WHAT ABOUT THIS GUY? So maybe there’s hope for Carson Walch, too!

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Four reasons the NFL's CBA proposal is bad for the players

Four reasons the NFL's CBA proposal is bad for the players

If you're a football fan, you've probably read about ongoing negotiations on a new CBA between the NFLPA, which the union representing the players, and management council, which represents the 32 NFL owners.

The NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season, but negotiations have been ongoing this offseason.

The NFLPA executive committee voted 6-5 to not recommend the current proposal to the members, so negotiations continue.

The complete proposal hasn’t been made available to the public, but enough details have leaked over the last two days to get some sense of what’s included.

The NFLPA released this fact sheet outlining key points in the CBA proposal.

And there are a lot of positives for the players. It expands pension eligibility and improves insurance benefits for retired players and raises minimum salaries, eases drug testing and reduces fines.

All good.

But there are plenty of red flags, enough that numerous high-profile players have been tweeting against the proposal.

Here are four reasons the deal as currently proposed is a bad one for the players:

1. The proposal calls for a 17-game regular-season schedule while also calling for an increase in player revenue from the current 47 to 48.5 percent. That’s about a 3.1 percent revenue increase for a 6.3 increase in games played. How is that fair? The owners are going to be raking in massive TV revenue increases, especially with the expanded playoff schedule, but the players won’t be receiving an equivalent share of that money.

2.  All players under contract when the league goes to a 17-game schedule — presumably in 2021 — will be paid only $250,000 more for that 17th game game. So anybody with a base salary over $4.25 million in 2021 will essentially be taking a pay cut. The Eagles have 10 players with 2021 base salaries of at least $5 million. Carson Wentz is on the books at $15.4 million. That’s $905,882 per week based on a 17-week schedule. So his weekly salary would go down to $869,440. That’s a $36,000 pay CUT per week. He’ll essentially be making less money per week. Now multiple that pay cut by several hundred players. The NFL will be raking in billions more dollars by increasing the regular season from 256 games to 272 - and eventually more with expansion - and increasing the postseason from 11 games to 13. While essentially asking the players to earn less per week.
3.  The proposal does shorten the preseason from four games to three, but there is apparently no second bye week included. So the players are being asked to play 17 regular-season games in an 18-week span in an era where the NFL loves blabbing about player safety. Add to that the likelihood of increased international travel and the wear and tear that takes on a player as the league explores more and more international games. This is just pure greed on the NFL’s part. It’s clear that everything the league says about player safety is just lip service if they are so desperate to add a 17th regular-season game in an era with increased focus on concussions, injuries and player health after football.  

4. The NFL is way too eager to get a deal done now when the current CBA doesn’t expire for another year. It definitely benefits both sides to have a deal hammered out and guarantee labor peace for a decade. But you just get the feeling the owners want to get this done before the NFLPA really has a chance to digest the full proposal and its long-term financial implications for the players. The owners over the last few days have embarked on a carefully strategized PR campaign to make this proposal seem like a good one for the players and try to rush a vote through before everybody knew what the implications were. Nobody wants a strike. Nobody wants a lockout. But the players are what makes the league work. Without them there is no NFL. They deserve more than what this CBA proposal calls for.

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