Why Howie Roseman can't stop adding new players

Why Howie Roseman can't stop adding new players

Howie Roseman built a roster for training camp. Then he built another one.

Roseman isn’t one to sit around and admire his handiwork. The Eagles’ personnel guru has added 14 players since the START of training camp and hasn’t gone more than two days since camp began without bringing in somebody new.

That's 16 percent of the roster.

No team has brought in more players than the Eagles since training camps began in late July.

The Colts have also added 14 players and the Titans (13), Buccaneers (13) and Raiders (10) are also in double figures. The NFL average is 5.3.

Some of the moves have been necessitated by injury, but for the most part, Roseman is constantly looking for ways to not only upgrade the starting lineup and 53-man roster but also give his coaches and scouts every opportunity to evaluate as many players as possible on the 90-man roster.

Of those 14 new guys, 13 are still on the roster. And a few have legit shots at making the 53.

Let’s take a look at the Howie Roseman 14, where they came from, when they got here, how they’ve done and whether they have a chance to stick:

CB Alex Brown
Signed July 26.
NFL experience: Undrafted free agent.
Chances to stick: Brown was released on Aug. 4.

LB Asantay Brown
Signed Aug. 4.
NFL experience:  This is Brown’s fifth stint with the Eagles in the last year. He’s never been on the 53-man roster, but he did have two stints on the practice squad last year.
Chances to stick:  Despite the Eagles’ injuries at linebacker, Brown is facing long odds to stick. But the fact that they keep bringing him back means there’s something there they like.

S Jonathan Cyprien
Signed Aug. 2.
NFL experience: This is Cyprien’s sixth NFL season. He’s played in 70 games for the Jaguars and Titans, starting all 70.
Chances to stick: Cyprien is definitely in the mix as a backup safety who is also big and physical enough to play linebacker in dime, which considering the Eagles’ linebacker injuries could be huge.

TE Alex Ellis
Signed Aug. 2.
NFL experience: Ellis began his career as an undrafted rookie with the Titans in 2016, has been with five teams over the last four years and has played in eight career games with the Jaguars and Chiefs. He has three career receptions, all in 2016.
Chances to stick: Ellis has caught the ball well since he got here both at practice -- he had a nine-yard TD Thursday night against the Ravens — and seems to be a decent blocker. With Richard Rodgers injured, there’s an opening for a third tight end. It’ll probably be Josh Perkins, but Ellis isn’t bad and definitely a practice squad candidate.

DE Kasim Edebali
Signed Aug. 6
NFL experience:  Has bounced around the league for six years (Saints, Broncos, Lions, Rams, Saints, Bears, Bengals) and played in 62 games with two starts. He has eight career sacks, five in 2015 with the Saints but none since 2016.
Chances to stick: Edebali hasn’t made a huge impression since he got here and although the Eagles need defensive end depth he’s behind Daeshon Hall, Sharif Miller and Josh Sweat.

S Rudy Ford 
Aug. 22.
NFL experience:  Ford, the Cards’ sixth-round pick in 2017, has played in 23 games with one start for Arizona the last two years, mainly on special teams. He’s averaged 20 special teams snaps in those 23 games, which is a ton.
Chances to stick: Ford doesn’t have a ton of time to impress the coaches, but his special teams experience gives him a fighting chance.

DE Eli Harold 
Aug. 9
NFL experience:  Harold was the 49ers’ third-round pick in 2015 but only had five sacks in three seasons in San Francisco before spending a year with the Lions last year, adding four more sacks. He’s in his fifth season but only 25 years old.
Chances to stick: Harold hasn’t flashed in limited playing time the last two preseason games — 29 total snaps, which tells you he’s probably still on the outside looking in.

CB Ajene Harris
Aug. 6
NFL experience:  Undrafted rookie out of Stanford.
Chances to stick:  Slim, considering the Eagles’ depth at corner, but he’s definitely a practice squad candidate. Harris even had a sack on a blitz in the Titans preseason game.

QB Josh McCown
 Aug. 17
NFL experience: McCown has played in 99 games with 76 starts for the Cards, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns and Jets since the Cards drafted him in the third round of the 2002 draft.
Chances to stick:  McCown begins the season as the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback and will remain there until — and possibly beyond

CB Orlando Scandrick
 July 27
NFL experience:  Scandrick has played 140 games starting 76 over 11 years, the first 10 with the Cowboys, last year with the Chiefs.
Chances to stick:  He’s looked OK since arriving here. The Eagles need a backup slot corner with Cre’Von LeBlanc out indefinitely, and Scandrick probably has the inside track.

CB Sojourn Shelton
 Aug. 11
NFL experience: Shelton had two stints on the Bengals’ practice squad in 2017 but was out of football last year after the Bengals released him in late August.
Chances to stick:  Shelton is a long-range project but could find himself on the practice squad.

DT Aziz Shittu
 Aug. 13
NFL experience:  Shittu has bounced around for four years but has never played in a regular-season game. He was at OTAs with the Eagles in 2016 and in camp here in 2017 and 2018 then spent some time on the Cowboys’ practice squad last year.
Chances to stick: The Eagles like Shittu enough to keep bringing him back for camp, but with their depth at defensive tackle, his best hope at this point is the practice squad.

OT Brett Toth
 Aug. 16
NFL experience:  Undrafted rookie.
Chances to stick:  Toth is an interesting case. You can read his whole story here, but he hasn’t played since the end of the 2017 season at Army and is much lighter than he needs to be to really compete on the o-line. The Eagles actually could keep him on the 53 to protect him from the waiver process.

LB Chris Worley
Acquired:  Aug. 18
NFL experience:  Played two games last year for the Bengals as an undrafted rookie, with all 37 snaps coming on special teams.
Chances to stick: Slim, but you never know. The Eagles certainly need linebacking depth and if they like what they see from Worley on special teams he could stick around.

The moves:
July 26: Claimed CB Alex Brown off waivers
July 27: Signed CB Orlando Scandrick, waived DT Anthony Rush
Aug. 2: Signed S Jonathan Cyprien, waived LB Joey Alfieri
Aug. 2: Signed TE Alex Ellis, waived S Godwin Igwebuike
Aug. 4: Signed LB Asantay Brown, waived CB Alex Brown
Aug. 6: Signed DE Kasim Edebali, placed DE Joe Ostman on IR
Aug. 6: Signed CB Ajene Harris, waived/injured OT Casey Tucker
Aug. 9: Acquired DE Eli Harold from Bills for OT Ryan Bates
Aug. 11: Signed CB Sojourn Shelton, waived/injured WR Shelton Gibson
Aug. 13: Signed DT Aziz Shittu, waived S Blake Countess w. injury settlement
Aug. 16: Signed OT Brett Toth, waived CB Jay Liggins
Aug. 17: Signed QB Josh McCown, waived WR Braxton Miller
Aug. 18: Signed LB Chris Worley, waived LB Paul Worrilow
Aug. 22: Acquired S Rudy Ford from Cards for DT Bruce Hector

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10 Eagles observations, including the greatness of Reggie White

10 Eagles observations, including the greatness of Reggie White

A wild Nick Foles stat that has nothing to do with the Super Bowl, the miracle of the A.J. Feeley trade, the greatness of Reggie White and the bizarre career of Hank Baskett!

That's only a small sliver of the wonders that await you in this weekend's edition of Roob's 10 Random Offseason Eagles Observations! 

1. I can't even imagine an Eagles game without fans. I can imagine empty venues for other sports. I’ve watched some of those Korean baseball games over the past couple weeks and barely even notice there are no fans. Hockey and hoops, the crowds are more active and louder. But football? NFL? Eagles? The synergy between what’s happening on the field and the fans is so different in football than any other sport, and the old cliche about players feeding off the fans’ energy is very real. You can feel it. You can sense it. When the Linc erupts after an Eagles touchdown or big play, there’s literally nothing like it. It's not just cheering, it's an ocean of joyous noise that envelops your soul. I’d rather have Eagles football with no fans than no football at all, but I just can’t visualize Carson Wentz throwing a game-winning touchdown pass to Zach Ertz and … complete silence. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, it’s really going to be weird.   

2. One of the most amazing things about Nick Foles’ Eagles career has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or even the 2017 season. In 2013, Foles threw 27 touchdown passes in just 317 attempts. That’s the fewest attempts by any QB throwing at least 27 TDs in the last 44 years.

3. When I was putting together the all-time Eagles Never-Made-a-Pro Bowl teams last week, I was reminded of what Ron Baker said the day he announced his retirement at JFK Stadium at the start of training camp in the summer of 1989. Baker, a solid right guard, had played 11 NFL seasons as a 10th-round pick, the last nine seasons with the Eagles. He and Roynell Young were the only guys who played in the 1980 Super Bowl and were still with the Eagles in 1988 for the Fog Bowl. But when a 34-year-old Baker showed up for camp in 1989 and saw the Eagles’ depth chart, he knew it was time: “When I looked at the depth chart, I saw that I was on the fourth team, and I’ve been around long enough to know there is no fourth team.” And with that, he hung up the cleats and never looked back. Class act, Ron Baker.  

4. From 1997 through 1999, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh, Jon Gruden, Doug Pederson, Bill Callahan, Ron Rivera and Andy Reid were all with the Eagles as a player or coach. All seven became Super Bowl head coaches and all but Rivera and Callahan won. Those three teams Eagles teams? They went 14-33-1. 

5. The last time the Cowboys won playoff games in consecutive seasons was 1995 and 1996. The last time they even reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons was 2006 and 2007. 

6. I think back to training camp in 2011 when every fan in attendance at Lehigh could hear new defensive line coach Jim Washburn constantly berating and insulting his players in a way that was so inappropriate and so offensive and so demeaning I’m surprised Andy Reid let it continue. This went way beyond a coach being a hard-ass or a strict disciplinarian. This was awful. Reid finally fired Washburn halfway through the 2012 season, but a lot of damage had been done. I wouldn’t want that guy coaching my worst enemy.

7. Reggie White had 33 games as an Eagle with two or more sacks. Only six other Eagles have had 33 games with at least one sack.

8. It still blows my mind that the Eagles were able to trade A.J. Feeley to the Dolphins for a 2nd-round pick — a very high 2nd-round pick — after the 2003 season. What had A.J. done to convince the Dolphins he was their QB of the future? In 2002 he went 4-1 in relief of an injured Donovan McNabb, although he had just five TDs and five INTs and a modest 72.6 passer rating in those games. Nonetheless, the Dolphins not only traded the Eagles a 2nd-round pick, they gave A.J. a $3 million signing bonus when they restructured his deal. Feeley went 3-5 with 11 TDs and 15 INTs in eight starts in Miami before the Dolphins gave up on him, benching and eventually releasing him. The Eagles drafted Reggie Brown with the pick they got from the Dolphins — the 35th pick overall in 2005 — and Feeley wound up rejoining the Eagles and even threw a TD to Brown in a game against the Patriots. The Dolphins haven’t won a playoff game since making that trade.

9. Before last year, only four players in Eagles history had netted 150 yards both rushing and receiving over the last four games of a season (Wilbert Montgomery twice, Keith Byars in 1988, Herschel Walker in 1993 and Brian Westbrook twice). Last year, both Miles Sanders AND Boston Scott did it, making the Eagles the first team in NFL history with that distinction. Doug Pederson’s ability to effectively use both backs as receivers and runners with the wide receiver cupboard bare was a crucial dimension of the Eagles’ 4-0 finish. It will be interesting to see how Doug deploys his backs this year with presumably an upgraded wide receiving corps because they sure look like a lethal combination. Scott needs a role in this offense. 

10. Gotta finish with a great Hank Baskett stat! The fact that Baskett is one of only five players in NFL history with three career touchdown catches of at least 85 yards is one of the strangest things in football history. Hank only had three other touchdown catches in his career, none longer than 10 yards. He actually had three TD catches of at least 87 yards but NONE between 11 and 86 yards. That’s absurd.

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Howie Roseman’s 5 best trades as Eagles GM

Howie Roseman’s 5 best trades as Eagles GM

Howie Roseman is never afraid to be aggressive when it comes to making trades. 

Some of them work and some of them don’t. 

Roseman spent most of the last decade in charge of every Eagles trade. He has been the Eagles’ GM or de facto GM from 2010-14 and 2016-now. 

Here’s my ranking of the top five trades in Roseman’s time as the Eagles’ GM:

5. Trading Kevin Kolb to Arizona 

Back in July of 2011, the Eagles shipped Kolb to the Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick. While with the Eagles, Kolb had started just seven games and with the emergence of Mike Vick had become expendable. So the Eagles flipped him to the Cardinals who were banking on the hope that Kolb could become their guy. 

Kolb started 14 games for the Cardinals over the next two seasons. He had a 6-8 record and 17 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Kolb was out of the league not long after because of post-concussion syndrome. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles got DRC, who played two years in Philly. They also got the 51st selection in the draft, which they turned into Vinny Curry (at 59) and Brandon Boykin (at 123). 

4. Cutting ties with Donovan McNabb 

Roseman was the Eagles’ GM for technically just a few months before the Eagles traded away the best quarterback in franchise history. While the credit for this move should undoubtedly go to Andy Reid, Roseman was a part of it. It wasn’t just that the Eagles got back three draft picks, including a 2nd-rounder, when they traded him away on Easter Sunday, it was that they made the shrewd decisions to move on from McNabb when they spotted the decline. 

The Eagles used the three picks they got from Washington on Nate Allen, Trevor Laws and Quintin Demps. Meanwhile, McNabb played just 13 games with the Redskins in 2010 and was out of the league two years later. 

3. Trading for Darren Sproles 

In March of 2014, the Eagles were able to send a 5th-round pick to New Orleans for Sproles, who was one of the most exciting offensive weapons and return men in the league. While Sproles was good in New Orleans and San Diego before that, he ended up being a Pro Bowler in each of his first three seasons with the Eagles. Sproles put together a borderline Hall of Fame career and the Eagles got the best seasons from him. 

Meanwhile, the Saints used that 4th-round pick on linebacker Ronald Powell, who lasted one year in New Orleans. 

2. Dumping Sam Bradford  

With the 2016 season days away, the Eagles decided that Carson Wentz was ready to be their starter. The problem was that they still had Bradford under contract and had been preparing him to start. But Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrific injury on Aug. 30 and the Vikings found themselves in desperate need of a starting quarterback. 

Give the Eagles a ton of credit here: They were very opportunistic. They were able to get back a first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2017. Remember, the Eagles weren’t supposed to have a first-round pick in 2017 after trading up to get Wentz, so this move recovered that pick. 

Eventually, that first-rounder became Derek Barnett and that fourth-rounder became Josh Sweat. Bradford played in 17 games for the Vikings in 2016-17 and posted a 9-8 record. 

1. Unloading Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso 

The trade with Miami in 2016 was the first step toward the Eagles’ landing Carson Wentz at No. 2. They unloaded two players who weren’t in their future to move up from the 13th draft pick to the 8th. This trade put them in a position to eventually trade up to the No. 2 spot to get Wentz. The price to trade up from 8 to 2 was steep — ultimately it was worth it — but the master stroke was moving two players they didn’t want as the first step to getting their franchise quarterback. 

This is a trade Roseman has talked about a lot. It came together because of Roseman’s long-standing relationship with then-Dolphins GM Mike Tannenbaum and began at the NFL combine that year. It wasn’t a complete loss for the Dolphins as Alonso played three full seasons for them, but Maxwell was cut two games into the 2017 season. 

Honorable mentions: Trading for DeMeco Ryans, Trading for Jay Ajayi, trading for Tim Jernigan, dumping DeMarco Murray. 

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