Eagles

The high-wire balancing act Howie Roseman is trying to pull

The high-wire balancing act Howie Roseman is trying to pull

It’s a high-wire balancing act for Howie Roseman or any GM.

Try to win now at all costs and risk being stuck with an aging, over-priced roster or slowly build for the future and try to enjoy sustained success.

“That’s the biggest challenge that we have and that I personally have,” Roseman said. “Balancing what we’re doing today with where we’re going to be two or three years from now.”

The 2017 Eagles team that won the Super Bowl was an older team, a typical win-now type of team, built around a lot of free agents who are no longer even in the league.

That team had 21 players 28 or older, and only three of them – Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks – are still here. Eleven of the 21 are no longer in the NFL. Three others are unsigned.

But there was a parade. So it was worth it.

But it leads to difficult decisions, like when to cut ties with popular all-time greats like Jason Peters and Malcolm Jenkins.

Roseman this offseason is trying to pivot the Eagles from the win-now mentality that produced a Super Bowl champion for the first time in franchise history to a team built around younger players that can win over a period of years and be in the mix for a deep playoff run any year.

The Eagles the last two years were still good enough to make the playoffs, but they weren’t championship contenders.

The idea is to try and draft or sign as many players in their prime or just entering their prime at once so you can string together a bunch of 11- or 12-win seasons and get hot in January.

“That puts me in a situation where sometimes I have to be the bad cop,” Roseman said in a conference call last week. “I understand that’s my responsibility. If you had asked me three years ago and said, ‘Hey, here’s the trade off: You can win a Super Bowl, but you’re not going to be able to compete for the next two or three years. Quite honestly, I probably would have signed up for that.”

It’s great in theory, but the problem is you have to hit on a high percentage of draft picks and have an elite quarterback to make it work.

Otherwise you’re patching with Band-Aids, and this franchise has been forced to do way too much of that.

In 2017, they just hit on a perfect blend of Band-Aids.

For the Eagles to surround Carson Wentz with enough talented young players to build the kind of team that contends every year they will need to draft better. They’ll need to avoid picks like Sidney Jones and – it appears – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. They’ll need first-round picks like Andre Dillard and Derek Barnett to be stars, not just average players. They’ll need their handful of remaining older veterans like Jason Kelce and Zach Ertz to continue at their Pro Bowl level.

The perfect balance that Roseman is trying to achieve is building for the long-term while Wentz is in his prime while still trying to be competitive with the NFC’s best teams along the way.

“Where we are now, we would try to do anything we possibly could to win a Super Bowl in the next couple of years,” he said. “But you really can’t put all of your chips in the center of the table when you have a 27-year old quarterback. So we’re trying to balance being in a position where every year we give our team an opportunity to compete and get in the tournament and then try to be as hot as we possibly can.”

The plan is a sound one. All that’s missing is about a half dozen more promising young players to fill in the blanks and make the whole thing work.

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Will Parks happy to get Malcolm Jenkins’ advice about his old position

Will Parks happy to get Malcolm Jenkins’ advice about his old position

Will Parks and Malcolm Jenkins have never been teammates, but it sort of felt that way last week. 

Parks and Jenkins met up with Rodney McLeod and all three safeties worked out together in Philly on Thursday. 

And Jenkins gave plenty of tips to Parks, one of the guys who will try to replace him with the Eagles in 2020. 

[Jenkins] showed up to the workout that we had yesterday and it was just awesome, man,” Parks said to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark on Friday. 

“Him being at that position, being able to teach me so many different things in a span of two hours, as far as what he gained from it, what learned from it, how he thinks I can excel in it. He told me so much yesterday.

This offseason, the Eagles let Jenkins walk as a free agent and he went back to the New Orleans Saints after six years in Philly. As a part of what seems like a multilayered plan to replace Jenkins, the Eagles signed Philly-native Will Parks to a one-year deal. 

Parks said he and Jenkins had worked out before but this time was obviously different. 

Remember, there’s a good chance Parks could be lining up this season next to McLeod in Jenkins’ old spot. And the Saints even play the Eagles this season. 

But Jenkins was happy to give Parks advice last week. 

Parks was asked what that says about Jenkins:

“It speaks to … it’s simple, he’s a man,” Parks said. “It’s not bigger than him. He loves this city, you know what I mean? This city has loved him ever since he got here. Him being able to just say, ‘hey, man, this is what I think, this is what I know you can do,’ just to show me different things, it speaks to him as a man. 

“He’s a great man, a great character guy, obviously with the community things he’s been involved in out here in the city. Hopefully, we can continue to carry that torch and take over where he left off and obviously create a new legacy as well. It’s exciting. He’s a great guy.” 

While Jenkins will be lining up for the Saints in 2020, it’s a little unclear who will be lining up next to his former safety mate, McLeod, in Philly. The Eagles have a few options, including Jalen Mills, rookie K’Von Wallace and, of course, Parks. 

But there’s some obvious uncertainty there. Both Mills and Parks are on one-year deals. Mills is making the switch from corner, Parks is learning a new defense and Wallace is a fourth-round pick. 

When we get to training camp, this will definitely be a battle to watch. Getting two hours of advice from a guy who held down that position for six seasons certainly won’t hurt Parks. 

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Eagles still living rent free in Tom Brady’s head

Eagles still living rent free in Tom Brady’s head

It has been over two years since the Eagles took down the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. 

And Tom Brady still isn’t over it. 

Even though Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, even though he’s won six Super Bowl rings — and one of them has come since then! — the Patriots' 41-33 loss to the Eagles is still rattling around in his head 840 days later. 

It came up on Sunday during The Match: Champions for Charity. 

 

“It’s the Eagles that I cringe, bro, not the Falcons.”

Well, yeah. Brady and the Patriots erased a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI to beat the Falcons to cap off the 2016 season. The Patriots were primed to repeat if the pesky Eagles and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles didn’t get in the way. 

Earlier on Sunday, during the Peyton Manning/Tiger Woods vs. Brady/Phil Mickelson match (they raised $20 million for coronavirus relief efforts, by the way), Manning said he should have brought his brother Eli or Nick Foles to caddy for him just to rattle Brady. Eli and Foles are the two quarterbacks who have taken down Brady in Super Bowls. 

And Foles had some fun playing along too. 

This seems like a good time to remind everyone that there’s a real goat named Foles at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.

Maybe that’s the real reason Brady left New England. Couldn’t even take the family to the zoo without a reminder of Super Bowl LII. 

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