Howie Roseman quickly working to undo Chip Kelly's roster mistakes


Howie Roseman quickly working to undo Chip Kelly's roster mistakes

It’s almost like Chip Kelly never existed.

Such is the decisiveness and completeness that Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are eliminating every shred of his 361-day run as de facto general manager of the Eagles.

Byron Maxwell. Gone.

Kiko Alsono. Gone.

DeMarco Murray. Gone.

In the span of three days last March, Kelly spent roughly $105.8 million to acquire the trio.

In the span of about three hours this March, Roseman found takers for all three.

It’s astonishing how quickly and effectively Roseman and Pederson have moved to shed the roster of Kelly's prize free agents. All in the wake of the Eagles' moving just as quickly and effectively to extend guys like Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Malcolm Jenkins and Vinny Curry.

We don’t know all the contract terms or even whether the Eagles will have to pay some salary, but we do know Roseman scammed the Dolphins to take Alonso and Maxwell (see story) and conned the Titans to take Murray (see story).

Let’s start with what we know: The Eagles rid themselves of an underachieving and overpaid cornerback, a hobbled linebacker and a declining running back, they cleared about $9.84 million in cap space that will sure come in handy when it’s time to pay Fletcher Cox, they opened the door to re-signing Nolan Carroll, and they re-stocked the draft pick cupboard that had been gutted by Chipper.

All that’s left from Kelly’s signing spree a year ago are Sam Bradford, who just signed to a two-year extension, and Ryan Mathews, who should probably be expecting a phone call any minute now that he’s been shipped off to Siberia or somewhere.

So what’s left of the Kelly era? A few assistant coaches, a few draft picks and a smoothie machine.

And while Roseman deserves credit for making all these moves happen, Pederson deserves just as much credit for having a clear vision from Day 1 of what kind of football team he wanted.

One that didn’t include a DeMarco Murray, who seemed to lack power, speed and explosion in his one season in Philly. One that didn’t include a Byron Maxwell that improved gradually throughout his one season here until he reached consistent mediocrity late in the year. One that didn’t include a Kiko Alonso, who was so slow-footed and unsure a year after ACL surgery it was hard to imagine he’d ever be the player he was as a rookie.

Pederson and Roseman have both been clear that they want to build through the draft. That they want players who have grown up with the team, not rentals who have nothing invested in the jersey they’re wearing.

And while we don’t know the specifics of these deals yet, the draft picks the Eagles get in return could become just as important as the cap savings and the roster clean out.

How did the Eagles have such success early in the Andy Reid era? From 1998 through 2002, they drafted Tra Thomas, Jeremiah Trotter, Ike Reese, Donovan McNabb, Corey Simon, Correll Buckhalter, Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, Michael Lewis and Brian Westbrook.

That was the backbone of a roster that won 10 playoff games in a nine-year span.

We know Jeff Lurie hired Pederson to try and replicate the Andy Reid era, and here we are with a bunch of draft picks signed to new long-term deals and a bunch of free-agent pickups jettisoned as soon as the NFL allows it.

The level of sophistication the Eagles’ front office is performing with right now is so high it’s really highlighting just how over-matched Kelly was as a GM.

We should have known after the Dream Team disaster in 2011 that accumulating veteran Pro Bowlers isn’t the way to build.

For Roseman and Pederson to undo so many of Kelly’s mistakes so quickly and restore order to the franchise so emphatically is really quite remarkable.

That said, the Eagles still have to draft the right players with this new cache of draft picks, and they still have to pick and choose the right free agents to supplement the roster.

There’s still an offensive line to rebuild, still a lot of questions in the secondary, still a suddenly thin running back corps, no experience at wideout and a 28-year-old quarterback with a $36 million extension and zero playoff appearances under his belt.

But the Eagles are in far better shape today than they were yesterday.

Now, maybe Connor Barwin and Mychal Kendricks play outside linebacker with Jordan Hicks in the middle, leaving Curry and Brandon Graham to start at defensive end, with Bennie Logan and Cox in the middle.

Now, maybe Carroll and Eric Rowe form a secondary that to me is stronger than Rowe and Maxwell.

Now, maybe the Eagles have the resources to sign Cox without limiting their ability to dabble in free agency.

Last year was a disaster for the Eagles, and Lurie, Roseman and Pederson are working together to eliminate the causes of that disaster.

The DeChipping of the Eagles is a wonder to watch.

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Navy pulls off iconic Philly Special at the Linc

Let's just say, the Navy Midshipmen certainly know how to win over a crowd in Philadelphia.

On Saturday during the 120th Army-Navy game, a familiar play call was seen.

You might have seen it before. There's a statue immortalizing it in front of the Linc. It happened during Super Bowl LII. Anything come to mind?

That's right. The Philly Special.

What an awesome moment in the middle of one of the best days in sports. Check it out:

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A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

A myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd and much more in Roob's 10 Random Eagles Observations!

Another myth dispelled, thoughts on the Carson Sucks crowd, an observation about Duce Staley and lots more in this weekend's edition of Roob's Random Eagles Observations! 

1. Dwayne Haskins may develop into a big-time NFL quarterback. He certainly has the arm. But right now he’s a 22-year-old rookie with 3 TDs and 7 INTs in seven career games and a miserable 61.2 passer rating — worst among current starter QBs. This is a quarterback the Eagles need to dominate. Pressure him. Mix coverages and blitzes. Confuse him. When you get your hands on a ball, make the interception. When you get your hands around him, bring him down. He can’t drive the offense 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, but he's got a legit arm so don’t allow big plays over the top. Don’t give the Redskins a reason to keep fighting like you did the last two weeks against bad teams. The Eagles are 4-1 against rookie quarterbacks under Jim Schwartz, allowing 12 points per game. More of that Sunday. This shouldn’t even be a game by 2:30 p.m. But I'm afraid it will be.

2. Here’s one for the Carson Sucks crowd: Despite missing eight games the last two years and with three games still to go, Wentz already has the 9th-most TD passes in NFL history by a QB in his first four seasons. Three more in the last three games move him up to 6th. He’s also thrown 35 interceptions. Of the 10 QBs currently ahead of him in TD passes over their first four seasons, only Russell Wilson has also thrown fewer than 44  interceptions in his first four years, and only Wilson and Dan Marino have a higher passer rating. Worst QB ever.

3. The Eagles have used 18 cornerbacks since 2016.  Eight of them are no longer in the NFL.

4. I’m always up for a good conspiracy theory. Did you know the first manned moon landing was actually fabricated and the astronauts were actually on a film set in Arizona made to look like the moon? For real! I saw it in Capricorn One! Some conspiracy theories are hilarious, like the one making the rounds this week. Did you know Jordan Howard isn’t really hurt, he’s sitting out to protest not having a long-term contract? I swear, I got that from at least a dozen people this past week. Yeah, that’s a great way to get a new contract! Pretend you’re hurt, lie about a neck injury, miss five games, watch your free agency value plummet and hope that the Eagles just happen to forget to inform other teams that you were healthy all along but just didn’t feel like playing. Makes perfect sense!  

5. MYTH: “Jim Schwartz NEVER ADJUSTS.”
REALITY: Since 2016, the Eagles have allowed the 11th-fewest first-half points in the NFL  [11.0 per game], but they’ve allowed the 4th-fewest second-half points [9.6], behind the Vikings, Patriots and Ravens. Among the top 20 defenses in the league over the last four years, only the Vikings [2.1-point differential] have a larger first-half / second-half point differential than the Eagles [1.4 points]. Overall, the Eagles have allowed the 7th-fewest points in the NFL over the last four years.

6. I count 21 Eagles players who’ve missed a total of 105 games so far this year, a figure that will go up considering how many won’t be playing the next three. Two things: 1) The Eagles have to take an honest look at every facet of their training, conditioning and rehab this offseason and figure out why half the team is always hurt. And 2) It really makes you appreciate guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Jason Kelce, the only Eagles to start and finish all 45 games since opening day 2017. Not far behind are Brandon Graham and Brandon Brooks (44), Fletcher Cox (43) and Zach Ertz (42). Those guys have been there for their team every step of the way — or almost every step — for three years now. They're all-time Eagles.

7. What the heck is going on with Genard Avery? The Eagles spent a 4th-round draft pick to acquire Avery from the Browns in October, and he’s played 20 snaps on defense in five games since. TWENTY SNAPS. He didn’t play a snap on defense in the Giants game. His snaps were supposed to go up as he got acclimated to the defense. Now he’s not even playing. He’s been here seven weeks now, and he can’t even get a single snap on defense? He’s playing a lot on special teams (19 snaps per game), but that’s an awfully expensive special teamer.

8. How bad are the Redskins? They've scored 79 points in six home games. They have eight offensive touchdowns at Fedex Field this year. And five of them were in their first two games. They've scored THREE offensive touchdowns in their last four home games. The Eagles are actually 3rd-BEST in the NFL in road scoring at 29.3 points per game. This REALLY needs to be a blowout.

9. Rasul Douglas is the Eagles’ best cornerback.

10. Think about Duce Staley’s body of work as Eagles running backs coach: 1) Got a 776-yard, 9-TD season out of Ryan Mathews in 2016. 2) Won a Super Bowl with LeGarrette Blount on his last legs and Jay Ajayi coming in halfway through the season. 3) Undrafted rookie Corey Clement, who had 10 catches all year, had a 100-yard receiving game and miracle TD in a Super Bowl. 4) Got over 500 yards and a 4.3 average from undrafted rookie Josh Adams in 2018. 5) Miles Sanders has already broken the franchise record for scrimmage yards by a rookie. 6) Jordan Howard was in the midst of a comeback year with a 4.4 average and 7 TDs before he got hurt. 7) Darren Sproles netted nearly 1,400 scrimmage yards in just 30 games, all after turning 33. 8) Boston Scott comes off the practice squad to pile up 128 scrimmage yards in a critical win over the Giants. 9) Eagles are the No. 12 rushing team in the NFL in four years under Staley even though nobody on the roster has rushed for more than 850 yards TOTAL during that span. 10) All 11 running backs who’ve gotten at least 30 carries under Staley have averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry under Duce. Nine of them have averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry. The Eagles haven’t had a back with 550 yards in consecutive years since Shady, yet the Eagles always seem to run the ball well. The guy’s really good.

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