This is not all on Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas and the Eagles’ player personnel department. The coaching staff is very much involved in the team’s preparation for the April 27-29 NFL Draft. Even though there are no games being played, the coaching staff is busy with the information-gathering part of the business in this first week of April.
Have you ever wondered what coaches do when there are no football games? They certainly stay busy, not necessarily to the degree of their in-season schedule, which is relentless, so the offseason is, really, anything but an “off” season.
“It’s a step-by-step process for me and our coaching staff,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “We spend the first month or so after the season ends reviewing the season and the calls we made and everything about the previous year. It’s very in-depth stuff, the self-scouting that we do.”
We’re long past that in early April. The coaches have gone through their review of 2016. They have scripted the practices for the Organized Team Activities, which begin in early May and run through the June 13-15 mandatory minicamp at the NovaCare Complex.
At the moment, coaches are very involved with the NFL Draft.
“We have a chance to review the list of players given to us, and sometimes that means we go on the road and meet the players and do interviews and watch their Pro Days – anything we can do to acquire more information on each guy,” defensive line coach Chris Wilson said. “It’s something that I enjoy very much. This is my second offseason doing it, and it’s part of the process that helps all of us. The more information you have on players, the better prepared you are for the draft.”
“This is the time of the year when we have wall-to-wall meetings about the draft,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “We’re detailing everything about every prospect out there. The draft is right around the corner, so it’s all hands on deck to get ready.”
Coaches aren’t able to contact players on the current roster to discuss anything football related until the offseason conditioning programs around the league begin – the Eagles start on April 17. Even at that time, coaches are not permitted on the field as players take part in two hours of strength and conditioning drills and up to two hours of on-field time, minus the coaches.
Not until Phase 2 of the offseason program begins – on May 1, for the Eagles – can coaches work on the field with players.
In the meantime, coaches fill up their days with trips to see draft prospects, hours upon hours of film study and filing reports of those players, and meetings.
There really is no such thing as the “off” season.
“If you’re coaching at the college level you spend your offseason recruiting and then getting right into spring workouts and practices,” linebackers coach Ken Flajole said. “There isn’t really any downtime. There isn’t much here, either, but instead of going out on the road and talking to recruits, you’re reviewing the previous season, you’re seeing what went right and what you need to do better, and then you take a look at the list of free agents who are expected to go on the market, and then it’s draft time and preparing for that.
“It’s great to be involved and to be a part of the process.”
Coaches need to keep their schedules flexible and have the ability to churn out information quickly. They make notes as they watch film, or take in a Pro Day, and then they must submit reports to the personnel department to be added to the stacks of information Roseman and Douglas have on players.
Everything is considered. Each observation is valuable.
“We take it all into account as we go through the evaluation process,” Roseman said. “The input is valuable to us. It’s obviously a very involved group effort.”
And the coaches are part of it. They aren’t just sitting around waiting for the players to report to the NovaCare Complex on April 17. Coaches have wrapped up their 2016 reviews and are deep into X's and O's and a whole lot more looking ahead to the season in front of all of us.