Eagles

The ultimate vindication for Howie the Creator

The ultimate vindication for Howie the Creator

MINNEAPOLIS — You know how cool it was watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl? 

Now imagine you put the team together. 

Imagine that the team you watched on Sunday was crafted by your own two hands. Nearly every player picked by you for one reason or another. The pressure and the reward. 

That's what it had to be like for Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman. Once stripped of his personnel power and banished to the supply closet, Roseman returned with a vengeance, even more bold than he was before, and he put together the team that won Super Bowl LII. 

He drafted Carson Wentz. He traded Sam Bradford. He traded for Tim Jernigan and Jay Ajayi. He signed LeGarrette Blount and Alshon Jeffery and Chris Long and Patrick Robinson and Stefen Wisniewski. And he brought back Nick Foles. He helped hire Doug Pederson and Joe Douglas. He drafted Derek Barnett. 

Roseman put this team together. And then he watched it do something all the others in franchise history couldn't. 

"That's my job. I'm just trying to do my job," Roseman said late on Sunday night. "That's it. Try to do my job, try to do it the best I can. I've got a great staff that helps me. We've got a great coach and great players. It's not about Howie Roseman. It's about the Philadelphia Eagles being Super Bowl champs!"

As Roseman walked through the hallway that led away from the Eagles' locker room at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Lombardi Trophy was still being passed around for photos, he said he hadn't really thought that deeply about watching his creation. 

On Sunday night, Roseman just wanted to soak it all in. 

Roseman, 42, started with the Eagles as an intern in 2000 and slowly worked his way up from there. He was relentless in his pursuit to become an NFL general manager and got there with the Eagles in 2010. He lasted through 2014, when Chip Kelly won a power struggle briefly. 

For a year, Roseman waited in the shadows and eventually outlasted Kelly, who was fired. Roseman then brought in personnel man Joe Douglas, one of the conditions of his reinstatement to power, and started making moves to put together the roster that won Super Bowl LII. 

"It's great," Roseman said, before stopping briefly to make sure the busses weren't about to leave for the party without him. "Happy for the City of Philadelphia, happier for our organization. It hasn't even started yet, man. We got to celebrate with all of us here, but can't wait to do it with all of our families, can't wait to do it with our friends. And I can't wait to do it down Broad Street."

The most impressive thing about the team that Roseman built was that it was built to last through injuries that would have devastated other teams. Sure, coaching had a lot to do with it, but Roseman provided Pederson the players to get it done. 

Last week, owner Jeff Lurie admitted that winning a Super Bowl with this group of players would be even more special because of the adversity they've faced. 

"It's hard to win a world championship," Roseman said. "Everything has to go right. And not everything went right for us. But when you think about it, the city of Philadelphia hasn't had a world championship in 60 years. Is it going to be easy? No! Nothing in life that's worthwhile is easy. And this (Super Bowl) hat. We're world champions forever. This group is a special group."

Eagles Mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

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USA Today Images

Eagles Mailbag: Lead back, Mack Hollins, the LB position

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend. The Eagles are probably enjoying it too — because Tuesday, they’re back to work. 

That’s when the team’s second round of OTAs begin. The Eagles will have a few more weeks of the voluntary offseason program before the mandatory minicamp June 12-14. 

Let’s take a dip into the mailbag: 

Yeah, I’d consider Jay Ajayi the lead back for this coming season. I really think the Eagles are going to ride him a little more than they did last year now that he’s had plenty of time in the offense. But I still don’t see Doug Pederson or Duce Staley abandoning the running back-by-committee approach. So while I think Ajayi will get the bulk of the carries, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles will still play plenty. 

Ajayi will be the feature back, but Pederson will want to keep him fresh for the playoffs too. Sure, the Eagles want to use him up on the final year of his deal, but they shouldn’t do it before they really need him. 

The Eagles really like Mack Hollins and it’s not hard to figure out why. He’s a nice, humble kid who works extremely hard. As a rookie, Hollins played in all 16 games and had just 16 receptions for 226 yards and one touchdown. He was even less productive in the postseason, when he caught one pass for nine yards. 

To answer your question, yes, I think Hollins will be more involved. It also can’t hurt that the Eagles brought in his college position coach, Gunter Brewer. The problem is that as long as everyone’s healthy, he’s still behind Alshon Jeffery, Mike Wallace and Nelson Agholor. He’ll get snaps, but they’ll be limited. He’ll have to make the most of them. 

Quick Hollins story: Late in the season, I asked him about his lack of offensive production and he looked me dead in the eyes and said his job isn’t to catch passes. I probably looked confused. “My job is to help us win,” he said. “And I’ve been doing that.” 

Got a few questions about bringing in a linebacker and I understand why. On the first day of OTAs, the Eagles cut Mychal Kendricks and lost Paul Worrilow for the season. Earlier this week, I looked at the depth the Eagles have. I still wouldn’t worry about the position. 

I think it’s very possible the Eagles bring in another veteran linebacker, but I’m not sure there’s a huge rush. What might have been lost this week is that to cut Kendricks, the Eagles must feel really good about Jordan Hicks’ recovery. And remember, the Eagles are in two-linebacker sets most of the time. Corey Nelson will have a chance to be the weakside guy with Kendricks gone. And there's still decent depth. 

Maybe the Eagles add a player this summer, but it’s also possible they wait a bit to see what they have. For what it’s worth, I’d at least take a look at Bowman to see if there’s anything left.  

Corey Graham is still available and Pederson seemed more than open to bringing him back, so that’s very possible. Graham was a really important addition last offseason because, like you said, it allowed Jenkins to move closer to the line.

A lot of Jenkins playing that hybrid LB position was out of necessity with Hicks gone. According to ProFootballFocus, he played 42 percent of his snaps at LB, so it’s hard to imagine him doing it more in 2018. Still, Jenkins' versatility and his importance to the team can’t be overstated. 

Lane Johnson not pleased with ranking on NFL's top 100

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AP Images

Lane Johnson not pleased with ranking on NFL's top 100

Lane Johnson had a breakout season in 2017, holding down the right tackle spot for the Eagles on his way to his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. 

And he even made the NFL Network’s Top 100 players list, which is voted on by players. 

All the way down at No. 95. 

“Obviously, I think it’s a joke to be honest with you,” Johnson said on the Mike Missanelli Show Friday afternoon. 

That’s when fill-in co-host Eytan Shander interjected: “Good it is a joke. You were robbed.”

Johnson, 28, is considered by most to be the best right tackle in the NFL and there will likely be plenty of the guys he shut down during last season on the list ahead of him. 

“Yeah, but that’s alright,” Johnson answered. “Better luck next year. That’s what they tell me. I think it’s just … there’s so many great players, it’s hard to put them in order. I guess just being on there is cool. Hoping next year, I’ll be a little bit lower on the list.”

Johnson isn’t the only Eagles player who might have a beef with where they’re slotted on the list. So far, the bottom 50 have been revealed and the Eagles have four players so far: 

68. Zach Ertz 
69. Fletcher Cox
95. Lane Johnson 
96. Malcolm Jenkins  

Johnson also talked about a few other topics on Friday shows, which was co-hosted by Shander and Geoff Mosher. He mentioned that he’s obviously hated in Boston and loved in Philly for his comments about the Patriots. 

He also talked about his relationship with Jason Peters, becoming a more vocal leader, and, of course, this …