Howie Roseman left no doubt about the team's plans for the quarterback position in 2022, saying on Wednesday at a joint end-of-season press conference with Head Coach Nick Sirianni that Jalen Hurts is the starter. It was one of many topics the two hit on, and clearly, it was the one most on people's minds.
"When we talk about Jalen and the growth he had – really, first-year starter, second-year player – leading this team to the playoffs, tremendously impressed by his work ethic, his leadership. The last time we talked was during (Training) Camp and we said we wanted to see him take the bull by the horns and he certainly did that," Roseman said. "We've got to do whatever we can to continue to help him develop and how do we do that? By surrounding him with really good players. Players continue to grow. That's a huge part of developing. They grow. How they are in their second year is not how they're going to be in Year 4, 5, 6, and 7. They're also products of the people around them.
"That's on us to continue to build this team."
What began as a "transition" year in 2021 ended with Roseman looking to build on a roster that rallied to a 9-8 regular-season record featuring a young core blending with a veteran presence. The promise of the season was obvious and now that it's over, it morphs into tremendous excitement for 2022 as the Eagles have a total of 10 draft picks – nine of them in the first five rounds – including picks 15, 16, and 19 overall. That kind of powerful NFL Draft capital, combined with a projected salary-cap picture that is promising, allows the Eagles to enter the offseason in a position of strength.
And Roseman, who termed the current process as a "building mode," intends to add to the roster in every way – and everywhere. He wasn't specific about how he intends to improve the Eagles moving forward, but both Roseman and Sirianni know that simply making the playoffs and exiting in the Wild Card round isn't the goal for an organization that is familiar with competing for and winning championships.
"We're not happy with the fact that our season ended in the playoffs. We want to build a team that has home playoff games, that gets to play in front of our fan base, really build a team that gets a bye (as the conference's No. 1 seed in the postseason)," Roseman said. "Those assets that you talk about (three first-round picks) allow us to continue to build and really helps us add good players to this team. Our job is to look at everything, to evaluate every position, every player."
Starting fast and continuing to perform at a high level is a high priority for the head coach in 2022.
"You never want to put yourself in a hole where you're 2-5 to start things off," Sirianni said. "You want to start off better than what we started off, but you see around the league all the time where teams maybe start off quick and then fade off, so I think what's important and where I'm happy with this team, this team did get a little bit better each week where we were playing our better football later in the year. We didn't start off fast the last month of the season as a team and sometimes it was the offense not starting fast and sometimes it was the defense not starting fast in a game. That's the main thing. You want that to be consistent throughout the year – starting fast and staying fast."
Roseman and Sirianni touched on a lot of other topics in the 30-plus minutes they spoke virtually to reporters. Among them ...
• When asked if having three first-round draft picks would alter his positional value, Roseman said, "We are going to stay committed to the way we build a team. In terms of having those three first-round picks, we think it's important that we bring in good players that fit the system that the coaches run that also fit the fabric of this team. We have a lot of good players that are good people. It's important to us to have those guys on the team and we don't go into a Draft saying we're not going to do something. I think for us it's all about the skill set of that particular player, the football character of that player."
• Said Sirianni of his coaching staff: "Really, really like this staff and everything that we have in this staff right here. I think it's a great group of guys that work well together. I think that's really important, that guys work well together in the building. I'm really happy with the staff we have and I look forward to continuing to work with them."
• On defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, Roseman said, "He's a guy that was a big part of the success that we had down the stretch. He can continue to take over games and be an incredible player and we expect more of that going forward."
• Roseman said that defensive end Brandon Graham has a role for the Eagles in 2022. "We miss BG. We miss BG the player and there is nobody that can replace BG the person, the leader that he is as well. He is attacking this rehab (from a torn Achilles tendon). We see him every day around here. He's got a chip on his shoulder. We do see a role for him going forward and we're excited to get him back next year. He's a huge part of our football team."