From the amazing stories of DeAndre Carter and Jordan Mailata to saying goodbye to members of the Super Bowl squad to the latest on the quarterback front, here's what Howie Roseman discussed Saturday evening with reporters:
1. Roseman Doesn't Comment On Foles Report
At 3:53 p.m., NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that based on sources he's talked to the Eagles will start Nick Foles at quarterback on Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Roseman simply said that he's "not going to talk about any play-time decisions, any starter decisions." Reporters asked multiple times in various ways to see if the Eagles had made a decision as to who will start, but just don't want to reveal it. He did respond to a question about the importance of keeping Foles this offseason after his brilliant playoff run. Roseman understands the value of a deep quarterback depth chart.
"We believe in the quarterback position and investing in the quarterback position and having a great quarterback room," he said. "We know what we have in Nick Foles and the confidence level we have in him, the confidence level we have in Carson, and the confidence level we have in Nate Sudfeld. That's something that is very important to us as we build the team and we probably put a little bit more resources into it than some other teams but it's worked for us. It's worked for us not only last year but we've had success with having a really good quarterback room. I don't think it's any reflection on Carson as much as the position. Just like we keep 10 offensive linemen, it's just a reflection of where we put our priorities and we like to do it with action."
Take a look at the 53 players that makeup the Eagles' initial roster.
2. DeAndre Carter, Jordan Mailata Are Longshots No More
When the Eagles announced their 53-man roster Saturday, it became official that two longshots in wide receiver DeAndre Carter and tackle Jordan Mailata earned spots on the roster with their performances in the preseason and their overall work ethic in Training Camp.
Carter made the roster after impressing in the preseason. The 5-8, 190-pound versatile weapon made his first active roster after spending time on the practice squads of the Ravens, Raiders, Patriots, and 49ers.
"You've got to go with what you see and DeAndre came in late with our scouting department, led by Joe (Douglas) who had him in Baltimore, recommended to us for a workout, he had a great workout, and every day he came to practice and made a play," Roseman said. "We'll see how he does here as he gets started, but he certainly deserved the roster spot."
Carter was signed by the Eagles on July 28 and learned the playbook quickly enough to see action in the team's first preseason game on August 9. In four total preseason games, Carter finished second on the team in receiving with 10 catches for 178 yards. Carter also had the most yards on punt returns with 38 on three returns in the final two preseason games.
"We went through all his team reps since he's been here and all his targets since he's been here," Roseman said. "You see the separation, you see the versatility, he can play inside and out, he's strong to the ball, he's got quickness to separate, he's got straight-line speed. When you look at his numbers, he's got a 1.45 10 (10-yard split). He's got incredible speed. The play was really good."
Mailata's presence on the 53-man roster may have been one of the best stories from cutdown day in the NFL. The 6-8, 346-pound former rugby player had never played a down of football when he was drafted by the Eagles in the seventh round (233rd overall) of the 2018 draft. Roseman and the team knew they had a project on their hands but one that could pay great dividends long term.
"We're very fortunate to have Jeff Stoutland as our offensive line coach," Roseman said. "When we were in the draft room and decided to trade two seventh-round picks for a rugby player, he said out loud, it's kind of funny. And you saw him in the offseason and the strides he has taken have just been incredible.
"You saw it in the Cleveland game, you saw it against the Jets, he just gets better and better. It's just so hard to find guys that are 6-8, (346) pounds who can run like that, that would have the core strength that he does. Certainly, there's no guarantees, but we want to develop players and when you can find guys at hard-to-find positions to develop that get you excited."
Mailata saw action in all four preseason games, starting with the second half of the first preseason game against the Steelers on August 9. Mailata gave up a sack on his third play from scrimmage but recovered to have an impressive night overall at the left tackle position.
Roseman said the strides Mailata has taken have been "impressive and exciting" and the focus now is to make sure he can continue to improve so he can eventually see regular-season action.
"When we made this pick, we committed in the draft room that we knew it wasn't going to be a short-term process, and if we were just going to get into camp and say, 'Hey, the guy is raw,' and not really have this developmental mindset that we had to give him a two-year time period to get it right, it wouldn't have made sense for us to trade two picks for him," Roseman said.
The 21-year-old Mailata has been working hard to learn the fundamentals of the game with Stoutland. But Roseman said it has been fun to see other players "take ownership" and mentor Mailata, whether it be offensive linemen showing him techniques or defensive linemen testing his abilities. Roseman believes that, so far, Mailata has been a risk worth taking.
"The conversation really became, with all the time we had spent on this and the traits that he has and his body, we'd rather see him fail in Philadelphia than have success somewhere else," Roseman said. "Bill Parcells said at one point, 'There are not many men on this Earth that are 6-8, (348) pounds, and can move their feet like that and are that athletic and that coordinated.' So, we wanted to get him into the program."
3. A Different Cutdown Day
Roseman reiterated a phrase that's been heard many times this week from coaches. Saying goodbye to players is "the worst part of the job we have." With a quick turnaround ahead of the season opener in five days, the process of cutting players was different than past seasons. Since the Eagles had meetings to prep for the Atlanta game, some of the players who thought they were gearing up for the NFL Kickoff event were instead told that they were no longer on the team. Roseman admitted that it was even harder with the rest of the Eagles in the NovaCare Complex.
The last cut was an especially difficult one for Roseman. Defensive end Steven Means has been lauded in the past by teammates for his effort on the practice field. He had three sacks in the preseason finale against the Jets. The Eagles just happen to have quality depth at the position.
"Steven was the last cut. I think because of what he means as a person and as a player, really hard. Really hard one," Roseman said. "We're deep at some positions that are hard to find. At the same time, it doesn't make it any easier."
The talent-acquisition process isn't over for Roseman and the personnel department. They will be monitoring the waiver wire to potentially make claims on players who were released today, although the Eagles are last in the order. On Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m., the Eagles can form their 10-player practice squad.
And as last year showed, there is the trade deadline, which is when the Eagles added running back Jay Ajayi, as well as signing free agents off the street when necessary.
"I think that's our job is to continue to try to improve the roster. It's a yearlong process. We're constantly looking for ways we can upgrade the roster," Roseman said. "Through the course of last year, you saw it. The roster changes, you have injuries, you have opportunities to add guys. We take that part of it very seriously. We understand that this day doesn't mean the end of the roster. There are other ways to acquire players. The talent-acquisition period really doesn't stop."