The offseason is in full swing for the Philadelphia Eagles following their week 17 loss to the Washington Football Team. If you are looking for coverage of that game, click over to our game review. Don’t worry. We’ll still be here when you come back. Otherwise, continue on for a discussion about the most important decision the Eagles have to make this offseason.
Are you back? Great! Before we dive into the discussion about the most important move of this offseason, let’s talk a little bit of history. Why? Because everyone needs a slight break from the Eagles by now. Don’t worry, we will get back to it momentarily.
The Historical Opening
In 1914, a great conflict engulfed nearly all of Europe. It would later spill outside of the European continent and into the entire world. That conflict, World War I, was a clashing of worlds as 20th-century armies tried to learn how technology had changed 19th-century styles of combat. The first months of the war were terrible in terms of both lives lost and strategic blunders. But some benefit of the doubt could be given to the generals who were experimenting and learning lessons about 20th-century warfare as they went. However, no such excuses could be made for General Douglas Haig.
After scapegoating General John French and stealing his job away, General Haig promptly demonstrated that 2 years of watching failed Allied attacks had taught him nothing. This was evidenced by his ordering of an Allied attack at the River Somme in Northern France. Paying no attention to the historical lessons to be learned from charging down entrenched machine guns, Haig ordered a full assault on July 1, 1916. In a matter of minutes, 20,000 British troops were dead.
“Lions led by donkeys”
Not to be deterred by their failure, Haig ordered company after company of troops over the walls to charge. By the end of the day there were 60,000 casualties among the British troops. Despite the early losses, Haig continued to pursue the same strategy over the next 4 months, resulting in 400,000 casualties on the British side in what would become one of the deadliest battles in the history of the world.
Undeterred by his utter failures at Somme, Haig would launch another major offensive at Passchendaele in 1917 where his tactics would remain the same, as would the result: another 275,000 British casualties. After the war, the phrase, “lions led by donkeys” was frequently used to describe the world-class British army led by such incompetent, arrogant, and unlearning leadership.
Back to the Eagles
So why tell you all of that? Because the Philadelphia Eagles have their very own General Haig running the show in Howie Roseman. Roseman’s arrogance and resistance to change is the biggest reason that the Eagles are in the hole they are. He absolutely should not be allowed to retain his job into the offseason, for reasons that I will enumerate below.
1) Contradictory Decision Making
In the 2nd round of the 2019 draft, the Eagles shocked the world by drafting J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. JJAW was a clone of Alshon Jeffrey and did nothing to add speed to the Eagles’ slow, plodding offense. Nevertheless, we reasoned that it was a pick made to allow the Eagles to part ways with Alshon Jeffrey following the 2019 season. But then, mere weeks later, the Eagles restructured Alshon’s contract, guaranteeing his spot on the roster through at least 2020. Since the JJAW draft pick, the duo of Alshon and JJAW have combined for a total of 860 yards in 2 seasons, or an average of 215 yards per player per season.
But Howie wasn’t done making asinine picks in the 2nd round. He doubled down in 2020 selecting QB Jalen Hurts months after giving Carson Wentz a massive contract extension. I think we all know how that turned out.
2) Missed Out on Adding Talent
The Eagles entered the 2020 offseason with no greater need than WR. So when De’Andre Hopkins hit the market, many would have expected the Eagles to be a player. Instead, Hopkins was moved to the Cardinals for a 2nd round pick. There he racked up 1,407 yards on the season. Likewise, Stefon Diggs was traded to Buffalo for a 1st round pick where he turned in a 1,535-yard season. Now, perhaps Howie didn’t want to part with his beloved draft picks.
But then how do you explain WR Robby Anderson who signed a 2 year, 20 million dollar deal with the Carolina Panthers and turned in a 1,096-yard season? Too much money to spend on a WR you say? Then why did the Eagles sign a 3 year, 39 million dollar deal with DT Javon Hargrave who, by the way, managed a total of 8 QB hits on the season? Talk about game-changing impact! Meanwhile, the Eagles failed to have a single receiver go for over 600 yards on the season.
3) Wasted Draft Capital
Perhaps you want to give Howie a pass for not trading draft picks. However, it isn’t like he has never traded them before. In 2018, Howie traded a 3rd round pick for WR Golden Tate, who had 278 yards receiving in his 8 games with the Eagles. In 2019, he traded a 4th round pick for Genard Avery who has 1.5 sacks in his year and a half with the team and has played a total of 8% of the defensive snaps in that time.
4) Ignoring Entire Position Groups While Overvaluing Others
Under Roseman, the Eagles have tremendously undervalued entire position groups in linebacker and safety. In 2020, the team paid their long snapper more than their highest-paid linebacker. The team cut Malcolm Jenkins with no viable backup plan and no young talent at the position due to years of neglect. All this while handing out a $13 million dollar a year contract to a defensive tackle despite already having 2 of the highest-paid defensive tackles in the league. You can’t fix everything that is wrong with a defense by buying more defensive tackles, but Howie Roseman seems to think you can. How long do you think it will be before the Eagles make a move to sign yet another DT in hopes that it somehow fixes the team’s coverage issues?
5) Meddling in the Coaching Staff
At the conclusion of the 2019 season, Head Coach Doug Pederson said that Offensive Coordinator Mike Groh and WR Coach Gunter Brewer would be with the team the next season. The next day Howie Roseman made Pederson fire the coaches he had publicly endorsed. You can argue that they should have been fired to begin with, but what you can’t argue is that a general manager should not be micro-managing a Super Bowl-winning coach in that way.
6) Incompetence in the Draft
In the last 4 drafts the #Eagles have selected 2 players on days 1&2 who I am confident will be good players long term: RB Miles Sanders and TE Dallas Goedert. That is a hit rate of 20% (2 of 10) and the hits came at 2 of the least important positions on the field.— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) January 3, 2021
Let’s take a trip down memory lane at the last 4 draft classes, shall we?
The 2017 Draft Class
1st Round – DE Derek Barnett – While Barnett has been a good DE2, he has hardly become what you would expect of the 14th overall pick in the draft. His 19.5 sacks put him just below 5 sacks per year over the course of his career so far.
2nd Round – CB Sidney Jones – Jones was a complete and utter failure by the front office. Needing CB help desperately, the Eagles chose a corner that wouldn’t be able to play all season due to injury and would never show anything on the field in subsequent years. He is no longer with the team.
3rd Round – CB Rasul Douglas – Douglas is yet another failure at the cornerback position, and never made sense to begin with. Why draft a corner that is only effective when pressing receivers at the line of scrimmage when you run an exclusively off-ball defense?
4th Round – WR Mack Hollins and RB Donnel Pumphrey – Hollins had 351 career receiving yards for the Eagles and Donnel Pumphrey never played a snap in the NFL.
5th Round – WR Shelton Gibson and LB Nate Gerry – Gibson has 59 career receiving yards while Gerry is perhaps the worst starting linebacker in the NFL.
6th round – DT Elijah Qualls – Qualls played in 6 total games in his career and recorded 4 tackles for the team.
Summary: Only 2 of the 8 selections from the 2017 draft class played out their entire rookie contract with the team
You know what? I don’t really even want to go down the list of the last 3 classes. It is too depressing. Let me part with 2 poignant examples from the last 2 classes and then I will send you on your way:
DK Metcalf set a Seahawks record on Sunday for season receiving yards with 1,303. The receiver that Howie selected instead, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, also had a great day putting up the 2nd best performance of his career: 2 receptions for 40 yards. #HowieSeason— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) January 5, 2021
Justin Jefferson set an NFL record for most rookie receiving yards in the Super Bowl Era on Sunday with 1,400 yards. Jalen Reagor, who Howie selected 1 pick ahead of Jefferson, caught 1 pass for 15 yards to cap his exciting 396 yard rookie season.#HowieSeason— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) January 5, 2021
You really don’t need me to point anything else out to you. Football Outsiders lists the Eagles as the team with the 2nd worst draft returns since 2015. Over the Cap lists the Eagles with 2 of the 10 worst contracts in the NFL and the 2nd worst cap situation in the league. And for what? 4-11-1?
This roster is old, bad, expensive, and void of young talent. There is a QB controversy, infighting amongst coaches and front office members, and all of it rests squarely on the shoulders of Howie Roseman. There is little hope for the Eagles 2021 season. This isn’t a team that can be fixed in one offseason. It will take a plan put together by someone who works in conjunction with the coaching staff and is dedicated to the plan long term. It will take a realization that the team is in a hole that no quick band-aid can fix. Is Howie capable of that level of self-awareness and self-control? I sincerely doubt it. But even if he is, he doesn’t deserve the opportunity. It is time for the Eagles to wake up and realize that the biggest issue facing the franchise isn’t in the locker room or on the sidelines. He was in the front office all along.
Making that realization now could save the Eagles from yet another woeful offseason. Otherwise, we all know what is coming in April:
If you would like to hear me rant about Howie Roseman some more, be sure to check out our youtube channel, where I posted a video doing just that yesterday.