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Giving No Sense Of Plans Ahead

Posted Feb 16, 2012

Andy Reid and Howie Roseman are going to meet the media next week at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and they are going to field all the questions you can imagine. The message from them will be the same ...

Welcome to the usual pre-offseason song-and-dance routine, where front offices around the league prattle on about nothing, say very little among a lot of words and provide no hint of their plans in free agency and the draft.

What we're hearing from the Eagles is this:

1. They would like to take care of their own potential unrestricted free agents and keep the core of their roster together for 2012. The Eagles have 10 veterans scheduled for unrestricted free agency, including key players such as wide receiver DeSean Jackson and left guard Evan Mathis. They also have defensive tackle Antonio Dixon set to become a restricted free agent. So there is some substantial decision making and, even, negotiating to do prior to March 13's free agency. As for the idea that Jackson is going to immediately be given the franchise tag, I wouldn't be so sure. Is there a rush to do anything?

2. Don't expect a mad dash in free agency, as the team enjoyed last July and August. It isn't going to happen this time around. Oh, there may be a move or two -- minor or otherwise -- but go into free agency understanding that the Eagles aren't going to be the major players they were in 2011.

3. There are other contract issues to consider. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is due for a $7.5 million roster bonus. Players like running back LeSean McCoy and perhaps others are going to have interest in talking about new contracts. It is a handful to consider for the front office.

4. There is no "we-are-great" talk coming from the front office. Indeed, everything you hear from Roseman and Reid and all of the coaches is that the team needs to work hard, needs to be humble and must have a good batting average on decisions made in the offseason.

So get ready for the ride ahead. The football operations staff moves to Indy next week for the Combine. Then they return and finalize the plan for free agency, which thankfully is only a month away. The team's offseason conditioning program begins in mid-April, prior to the 2012 NFL draft.

You will hear a lot of talk and be asked to sift through a lot of rumors in the weeks to come, and that is the fun part of the offseason. Understand how little of it will come from the Eagles, who are going to stay quiet and do the work, knowing that the time to prove how good the team is comes in September, not now.

The Eagles have a lot of work to do and a lot to prove in 2012. They aren't going to win any games by talking the talk in February and March. They are right to keep their heads down and stay hard at work and put together the best roster they can have for a critical season to come.

NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT

  • So far, nothing of substance coming from the Eagles on additional personnel moves. In other words, the team didn't rush out to sign Albert Haynesworth, who isn't going to generate much, if any, interest right now. Any team that signs Haynesworth is likely to offer him an incentive-laden deal for 2012. He needs to start from the bottom this time around.
  • Boy, the Randy Moss Train took a major hit in the days since he announced that he wanted to play this season. It can get back on track easily enough: Moss has to work out for a team, or teams, and show he can run. Otherwise, he isn't going to find a home. It's as simple as that.
  • Eagles Live! airs on Tuesday next week at 11 a.m. The offices are closed for President's Day on Monday.
  • Follow me, please, on Twitter @Dave Spadaro. I am hoping that we turn it into a constant question-and-answer session, and so far it's been a blast. Thanks to all who have followed in the last week and a half.
  • There have been more and more players reporting to the NovaCare Complex to work out on their own. The rules state that players are permitted to work out on their own, but not to have any organized activities or watch film with coaches, etc. Quarterback Michael Vick, offensive guard Danny Watkins, cornerback Curtis Marsh, defensive tackle Trevor Laws and several others, along with the injured players who are rehabilitating injuries, have been around quite a bit. The list grows every day.
  • Which player needs to make the largest jump from 2011 to 2012? It's a question that could have several worthy answers, but here are a couple of names: defensive end Brandon Graham has to come through and be a big-time player. His injury is no longer an issue. Marsh could really help the cornerback situation with a large step forward. Watkins, of course. Safety Nate Allen may be the most important of all. If he gets to where the Eagles think he can be, Allen can be a really terrific player.

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