Eagles

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:

and

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.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Way too soon to write off forgotten Eagles running back Josh Adams

Way too soon to write off forgotten Eagles running back Josh Adams

Every conversation we’ve had about Josh Adams this offseason, every podcast, every roster projection, every Twitter discussion, has come to the same conclusion.

“Oh, he's not going to make the team.”

It’s an understandable opinion.

The Eagles’ backfield is crowded. Corey Clement is back, Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard have been added, Boston Scott had an impressive summer. Wendell Smallwood always seems to find a way to stick around. One-time fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey is still here.

And Adams? Because his production dropped late in the season and then he was the forgotten man in the postseason, playing just one combined snap against the Bears and Saints, we’ve all just kind of assumed he’s gone.

And maybe he is.

But let’s take a minute to take a fresh look at Adams.

There was a stretch in the middle of last season when he was actually one of the more productive running backs in the league.

From Week 7 through Week 14, a span of seven games, Adams averaged 5.1 yards per carry, seventh-best among all running backs in the league who had at least 75 carries during that stretch.

Look at this stretch from the Jaguars game in London through the overtime loss to the Cowboys in Dallas:

9-for-61, 6.8 at Jaguars
7-for-47, 6.7 vs. Cowboys
7-for-53, 7.6 at Saints
22-for-84, 3.8, vs. Giants
20-for-85, 4.3 vs. Redskins
7-for-36, 5.1 at Cowboys

That’s solid, consistent production, especially for an undrafted rookie who began the year on the practice squad.

Here’s one thing I really liked about Adams: He was always good for at least one long run per game. During the seven-week stretch from the Jaguars game through the first Redskins game, he ripped off six runs of 18 yards or longer, and during that period, only Saquon Barkley (8) and Joe Mixon (7) had more in the entire NFL.

Now at some point late in the season, Adams hurt his shoulder seriously enough that he needed post-season surgery to repair a torn labrum.

It’s not clear when Adams got hurt, but he kept playing, and the injury would certainly help explain the late-season drop in production.

Adams averaged just 2.7 yards per carry the last three weeks of the regular season and then got that one postseason snap, a two-yard carry against the Bears.

But when evaluating Adams and his possible future as an Eagle, we have to take the injury into consideration.

Adams did enough during that two-month stretch in the middle of the season to at least warrant an honest look this summer.

Even starting the season on the practice squad, getting just 11 carries the first seven weeks of the season and then getting hurt, Adams still led the Eagles in rushing and became the 20th undrafted rookie in NFL history to rush for at least 500 yards, three or more TDs and an average of 4.3 yards per-carry or higher.

When you step back and look at his season, he was pretty darn good in all but the two December games against the Rams, the NFC champs, and the Texans, who had the No. 3 rush defense in the NFL.

Obviously, Sanders and Howard project to be the heart of the running attack. A healthy Clement can catch, run, block and play special teams. Smallwood and Scott can both run, catch and return.

Adams is limited. He isn’t a polished receiver — he caught just seven passes last year — and he plays very little on special teams — just 48 snaps as a rookie, only two in the last six games.

That puts him at a disadvantage from the start. So for him to win a spot on the 53 the Warrington native and former Notre Dame star has to have a healthy training camp and show exceptional production as a runner.

The odds are against him. But Adams is 22, he was the Eagles’ leading rusher last year, and undrafted rookies don’t have an eight-game stretch averaging 5.1 yards per carry by accident.

If we got rid of every rookie running back who had two mediocre games at the end of a productive season there wouldn’t be any running backs left.

Adams is talented. It’s tough to say where he fits in, but it’s way too early to say he doesn’t.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at defensive end?

ap_derek_barnett_eagles.jpg
AP Images/Winslow Townson

Are 2019 Eagles better or worse at defensive end?

It was out with the old, and in with some more of the old for the Eagles at defensive end this offseason. Will the returning players make the unit better or worse in 2019?

Key additions: Vinny Curry (free agent, Buccaneers), Shareef Miller (draft, fourth round) 
Key departures: Michael Bennett (trade, Patriots), Chris Long (retired)

Why they could be better: Derek Barnett’s potential

Barnett had a nice rookie season with 6.0 sacks, including playoffs, and finished fourth on the club with eight tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hits, all while playing only 41 percent of the snaps. It was looking like he could take the next step in 2018, too, with 2.5 sacks four games into the campaign — until a shoulder injury struck. Then it was a matter of weeks before he wound up on the injured reserve list. Up to that point, it looked like the former 14th-overall draft pick was very much on the verge of a breakout season.

There’s really no reason that can’t still be the case. At least, nobody ever expects a shoulder injury to derail a defensive end’s career. The Eagles are likely penciling him in for the starting job on the opposite end from Brandon Graham, and why not? As long as he’s healthy, Barnett’s body of work thus far suggests he’s on his way to enjoying a successful NFL career.

Why they could be worse: Michael Bennett’s proven production

One can assume the real reason the Eagles’decided to part ways with Bennett was over something (or things) behind the scenes. It wasn’t the return — a fifth-round pick for Bennett and a seventh. It wasn’t the contract, because the Patriots only wound up giving him an additional $1.25 million in base salary and no new years. And it sure as hell wasn’t production, because the three-time Pro Bowler was the Eagles’ most disruptive pass-rusher off the edge by a wide margin.

Bennett finished with 10.0 sacks last season, including playoffs, and it should’ve been 12.0 except for two blatantly incorrect roughing penalties. He also ranked fourth in the entire NFL with 30 quarterback hits, and narrowly finished outside the top-10 with 15 tackles for loss. Granted, Bennett turns 34 in November, and it’s possible his personality simply wasn’t a fit here. Regardless, the numbers speak for themselves.

The X-factor: Brandon Graham’s inevitable decline

Everybody loves BG. The sack totals haven’t always been there, save for the 9.5 he registered in 2017 — plus one pivotal strip sack in the Super Bowl — but he was always more productive than traditional counting stats indicated. Graham is 31 now, though, and last year was his least effective rushing the passer in a long time. His 4.0 regular season sacks and 1 forced fumble were his lowest since 2013, and this wasn’t merely a matter of racking up a bunch of Mamulas, either, as he landed just 11 quarterback hits.

Fortunately for the Eagles, who just signed Graham to a new three-year deal worth $40 million in the offseason, there are reasons to believe he could bounce back. First, he was coming off of offseason ankle surgery and only rejoined the team in mid-August. Second, he was still stout against the run. Third, Graham showed signs of life in the playoffs with 1.5 sacks and a strip. So, was his down season a matter of circumstance, or is this the new BG?

Are the Eagles’ defensive ends better or worse?

If he’s 100 percent, Barnett has the ability to blossom into a star. He was well on his way last season. Yet, the Eagles are depending on him to replace Bennett’s production, re-signed Vinny Curry to replace retired Chris Long’s production, and Brandon Graham to stop aging so noticeably. It also wouldn’t hurt if one of Shareef Miller, Josh Sweat or Joe Ostman became a reliable fifth rusher. The Eagles got younger, and arguably more talented, but there are too many questions to say the ends are better on paper. 

WORSE

More from the series