Tom Gamble admitted there was not another situation for which he would have made a lateral move.
Gamble left his position as vice president of player personnel for the San Francisco 49ers because the pull of coming back home to Philadelphia and being part of this new era of Eagles football proved too enticing, too exciting an opportunity.
"I came in at a good time, I think," Gamble said. "It's a comfortable fit, no different than what I had in San Francisco, with (general manager) Howie (Roseman). ... There's plenty of work to do. That's how I look at it. We share the same energy, the same passion, want the same results. We want to win. We want to see this organization win. We'd like nothing better (than to make that happen). For me, it's a new challenge. ... the passion, the energy here, it's special. It's different, it really is."
Gamble specifically enjoys the overall working atmosphere of the player personnel department, which he described as "always open." There is "constant communication," "everybody works together" and "everybody's got a voice."
"It's about bringing the right people into the building, having the right people around, asking the right questions, listening to the right people," Gamble said. "That's good. The dialogue's good. The communication's good. Communication with coaches is good. … (The player personnel department) is as good as anywhere I’ve ever been in terms of dialogue, communication, how we’re set up, staffing. … It’s been nothing but let’s go out and get the right guy.”
Roseman was effusive in his praise of Gamble:
"He's been awesome. From the day he came in, he fit in perfectly. His personality, his demeanor, having familiarity with the market; it's been a real huge bonus for our football team, I think, and for me, personally, to have Tom here."
When asked about the scouting staff, in general, Roseman beamed and echoed some of Gamble's sentiments:
"It's a great combination of experienced guys, and then young guys with great potential and great energy. In anything you do, and specifically in (player personnel), you want to have the best people around you. The timing worked out great for us to be able to get some of these guys who we think are really good at what they do, and they fit as pieces of the puzzle, all fit together. Everyone likes being with each other. It's OK to have difference of opinions. We iron a lot of those things out. There are a lot more people involved in the process than maybe we've had in the past."
Roseman revealed that some of his responsibilities in terms of watching players and visiting college campuses have been reduced due to other job obligations, but that it works because he is confident in the people around him and how information is filtered. Honesty, trust and collaboration appear to be the prevalent tenets of the revamped player personnel department.
"We don't sit there and just 'yes' each other. We have a lot of discussions. We have a lot of debate, which I think's important, it's good," Roseman said. "But at the end of the day, we're all on the same page."
Roseman delved deeper into his player evaluation philosophies, touching on the evolution of scouting in the NFL and the increasing role of analytics. The Eagles are going to make sure they always adapt to the changing landscape and seek every resource and advantage possible. While the player personnel department prides itself on being at the forefront of the analytics curve, Roseman intimated there is no replacement for a player's tape.
"The tape's going to be the most important thing for us,” Roseman said. “We would love for the tape to marry the analytics because when you have those two things together, you feel really good about your decision-making process. So at the end of the day, we're going to make sure that the tape's really good, but you also want to have the characteristics that make successful NFL players come about. That's why you have someone like (special assistant to the general manager) Alec (Halaby) here who helps us with that."
Integrating statistical data is not new to Gamble, and that he was first exposed to the practice during his days working for former general manager Bill Polian and the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2004.
“You saw it in baseball a while ago. We’ve always used numbers, references, percentages; it’s always been a big piece of what we do … It’s gathering a whole load of information and in a short period of time putting it together. We use all of it,” Gamble said. “I don’t think anybody who’s worth their salt (in this business) pigeonholes themselves on how they scout. I think they’re always open to new ideas.”
Analytics has been an invaluable tool in assessing risk and attempting to minimize it, and that “the big thing about it is in making comparisons (to other players),” Gamble explained.
Roseman emphasized that, even with the rise of analytics,what a player is like at his core remains of paramount importance:
"We've always stressed to our scouts that their most important responsibility is the character, knowing the character of these players backwards and forwards because I may go into a school once, I may not go into a school, I may meet someone at the Combine, but we're going to rely on (the scouts') background information. It's an integral part of our whole process," Roseman said.
As for what fans might expect to see on the field with Chip Kelly as head coach, Gamble provided some insight by referencing the teams he helped build in San Francisco.
"The style of offense, the style of guys, the size and the stamina ... (the 49ers) were a downhill, counter, power, lead football team, dominate the line of scrimmage. … The style of play is a little bit different.”
The Eagles covet quick, athletic linemen who can operate in space and handle the demands of Kelly’s up-tempo offense. At the same time, the team will look to employ a power component on offense as it shifts to a more run-heavy style. Gamble is still figuring out what the new regime wants and what kind of players to look for, but he’s eager to move forward and help build the Eagles in Roseman and Kelly’s image.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider