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Roseman: Eagles Have Much Work Ahead

Mobile, Alabama -- Eagles general manager Howie Roseman sat down with for an interview Tuesday and expressed confidence in the direction of the franchise moving forward while acknowledging a bitter disappointment in the ultimate 8-8 result of the team's 2011 season. Roseman also discussed what he's learned throughout his first two years as general manager and the plan to replace departed director of player personnel Ryan Grigson, who was recently named general manager of the Indianapolis Colts.

"I want to temper my happiness (for Grigson) because I'm very close to Ryan personally and professionally and I wish him and his family the best, but at the same time, it's a big loss to us as an Eagles organization and to me personally because obviously he was a very big advisor to me and someone who I leaned on for a variety of things," said Roseman. "Fortunately in the past few years, we've been able to add some people to our staff and then we have people who have worked under myself and Ryan who are ready to take steps forward. So I think we have people both internally who can take on more of a load and help us through this draft process and we're excited about them taking on a bigger role.

"There is a plan in place and I think that maybe in the next couple weeks we'll have something here, maybe add someone to our staff and then after that I think we'll kind of be stable through the draft and then we'll evaluate like we do everything else. It's just like when we get players. You're always looking for the best players and we're trying to have the strongest possible staff and we'll evaluate that as it goes; but there are a lot of good people we have in place as well."

While Roseman and the extensive crew of Eagles scouts and coaches in Mobile are entrenched in draft mode this week, free agency looms as the first domino of the offseason once again. The Eagles have several key free agents of their own, beginning with Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Roseman wouldn't tip the team's cap, but he did say the Eagles have an expectation of how that issue will be resolved.

Also slated to hit the free agent market is guard Evan Mathis, one fifth of what was an impressive offensive line in 2011. Noted offensive line guru Howard Mudd was imported in the offseason and overhauled the offensive line, a move that paid dividends as the team rose from 26th to 12th in percentage of sacks allowed while also leading the way for LeSean McCoy and the team's impressive rushing game.

"He has been an amazing influence on all of us and done a great job and that's not to slight anything that Juan (Castillo) did in that role before because Juan did a great job with the offensive line as well," said Roseman. "We'd like to kind of keep the cohesiveness of that back, we've relayed that to Evan (Mathis) and hopefully things work out here in the next few weeks."

The Eagles, of course, made several splashes in free agency last offseason, signing the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins in addition to the trade that netted Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. As the 2012 version of free agency approaches, Roseman promised that the team will once again do their due diligence in an overloaded free agent crop.

"Obviously we like to think of ourselves as aggressive in terms of trying to improve the team," said Roseman. "Sometimes that comes internally, sometimes that comes externally, and we're still going through those meetings and still evaluating all those players, putting final grades on our free agent board just like we do our regular draft board and then we'll try to make a plan."

"When we went into free agency last year and took some of the opportunities we had, they weren't one-year guys. I mean, these were guys who we thought could grow with our team with the young nucleus that we have and add on top of it and hopefully compete and go for a world championship for not just one year, but hopefully a variety of years. Because, as you see, you just have to get in the tournament and then good things can happen."

When asked what he's learned over his first two years as general manager and how his approach has changed during that time, a reflective Roseman recognized that there is room for improvement.

"When you're in a role for a couple of years and not everything's been perfect, nobody's batting a thousand, and certainly we haven't here, so you try to figure out some of the things you did wrong, why you made those decisions, were you overvaluing certain things, certain areas that maybe you shouldn't have, and maybe undervaluing the same thing," he said. "We've gone back and we've spent a lot of time studying, I've spent a lot of time studying the decisions that we've made, the decisions that have gone on around the league and I think we'll be better for it.

"The more experience you get in this, I think the better that you'll be in some of the things that we did and hopefully we'll grow and come out on the other end on top."

Finally, Roseman expressed pride at the team's mettle toward the end of the season when they rallied for a four-game winning streak to close the year at 8-8. But the preceding 12 games and the final tally serve as motivation as the Eagles move ahead as they try to mold the roster into a championship-level team.

"I think you can use it to build on, but that doesn't mean we're going to sit on our hands," Roseman said. "That's not really where we're at. We know at the end of the day the body of work wasn't good enough for where we want to be. We're not playing right now and we want to be playing. You have to look at every area and find out where to improve."

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