As the Eagles cleaned out their lockers and prepared for an offseason that will be much different than any in Philadelphia in recent years, general manager Howie Roseman wanted answers. He wanted to know why this Philadelphia Eagles team lost 11 of its final 12 games to finish the season with a 4-12 record. Roseman had honest and candid conversations with a number of players and learned that one of his tasks this offseason will be improving the chemistry of the Eagles locker room.
"The bottom of it was they felt we need to have better chemistry. We needed to have guys who felt better about everyone around them and that's going to be a goal of ours," Roseman said. "We want to put a roster together of guys who really love to play together and have each other's back. You saw a lot of heart. A lot of people, a lot of our players are hurting. A lot of these players, all they know is Andy (Reid) and the coaches we have here."
Reid was dismissed as head coach on Monday and the search is underway for his replacement. Roseman said that the players want to "make sure this doesn't happen again." That starts with getting the right head coach and quarterback because Roseman said that after those two ingredients, "everything pales in comparison."
"(The quarterback) and the coach are obviously the two most important things for any franchise," he said.
The coach is certainly an unknown, but who will be the quarterback? Roseman explained that it would be "disingenuous" to discuss who will be here and who won't from a player standpoint when the coach has not yet been selected. The Eagles have veteran Michael Vick and Nick Foles, who just completed his rookie season. Roseman said that Foles showed "a lot of promise" as the signal caller broke the Eagles' rookie passing records for yards, completions and attempts. When the team evaluates Foles in the offseason, Roseman compared it to studying a young baseball pitcher. Sure, he might look good the first time going through the batting order, but what about the next? How will Foles perform now that everyone has tape on him?
Foles was part of a 2012 draft class that included six players who started for the Eagles this season. The draft was successful due in large part to Roseman's increased role leading the process. Roseman was also influential in helping the Eagles steer away from forcing picks and taking the best player available despite already having players on the roster at a certain position.
"I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman," said Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie. "I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason and that's the first draft and offseason I hold Howie completely accountable for. … Howie has assembled an excellent team around him. He's meticulous in his evaluations. He has great relationships with players, coaches and agents around the league and this was a very easy decision once the facts are in."
For the team to have better chemistry moving ahead, Roseman said that the foundation of the team must be cultivated through the draft process. Lurie intimated that the team strayed from that philosophy in recent years. Roseman echoed the sentiment that the organization did it with one goal in mind - to win a championship.
"We have to get back to having a core group of guys who are Eagles that bleed green, that are passionate about this city, that are passionate about playing here and really, genuinely care," Roseman said. "When you bring in players from other places, you think that maybe they are good fits but you don't know until they're here. It affects the chemistry and part of that is because we were so close for so long that we were desperately trying to win a championship and you've got to do it the right way. There's no sacrifice for doing things the right way. You learn these lessons."
These are lessons that Roseman has indeed learned in his first three seasons as the team's general manager. They will be lessons that Roseman will look to apply as the Eagles enter an offseason unlike any in over a decade.
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