Philadelphia Eagles Front Office Sending Messages to League and Fanbase
The self-proclaimed "Gold Standard" of the NFL opened up a bit this past week during the owners meetings in Florida. Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman have shed light on some pressing issues revolving around the team.
Philadelphia has a notorious reputation for being a tough town to win over. After 13 years of the Reid regime, fans have become immune and desensitized to the tight-lipped rhetoric coming out of the Nova Care Complex in South Philly.
This week has shown a different side of the Philadelphia Eagles' decision makers. Reid took part in an hour-long interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane in West Palm Beach. Roseman, on the other hand, took part in a roundtable interview amongst other interviewees and revealed some of the process changes taking place in the decision making of the front office.
Other than the methodology behind how the Eagles operate, Reid and Roseman tipped their hat to the rest of the league on a certain cornerback's definitive availability and how they will look to proceed in the draft and so on.
Asante Samuel Placed Atop the Trading Block
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Personally, I've written at least five to six articles in the past six months that have all stated Asante Samuel is, was or will be on the trading block and the Philadelphia Eagles are, were or will be welcoming all offers.
The instant Philadelphia shocked the league by swooping in for Nnamdi Asomugha, the astute individuals—whether fans or media—realized there was a surplus at the cornerback position. Samuel naturally became the choice to be dealt because of a) age (he's 31 years old) and b) his salary hit.
The Tennessee Titans have been rumored in the past week as the most likely of suitors. However, the Detroit Lions after failing to secure a deal last off-season may have rekindled their interest in the ball-hawking corner.
Samuel is keenly aware of his imminent trade and has claimed behind closed doors that he's willing to restructure his large contract to expedite a move. However, the Eagles are reportedly seeking a third-round draft pick for Samuel, which could dampen trade talks.
One thing is for sure: Asante Samuel is on the trading block.
Eagles Will Look at Quarterback Options in the Draft
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The Philadelphia Eagles' reputation with quarterbacks have become a part of their DNA. They groom them, heighten their strengths and minimize their flaws. Then, as of recently, they fleece other teams by trading them for an inflated price.
That's just good business.
This time it's a bit different. Similar to when the Eagles brought in Kevin Kolb to presumably supplant Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid will look to bring in someone he can prep to replace Michael Vick in the future.
Reid and Howie Roseman realize that Vick is not getting any younger and unless he changes his appetite for the spectacular, his career will come to an accelerated or abrupt end.
Reid didn't divulge too much about the prospect of drafting a quarterback but when asked Reid mentioned, "Yeah, we’re looking at that spot."
So who will the Eagles look at?
We’re looking at all [of] them. There are some good players in there. You got a wide variety, man. You got all flavors – big, small, fast, slow, I mean, you got them all.
Ryan Tannehill is believed to be Reid and Roseman's target, including suggestions out of Philly that they could trade up for their guy. Philadelphia will be conducting a private work out in College Station with Tannehill this upcoming week.
Reid Expected Offense to Carry the Load in 2011
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Football is like any other team sport on this planet. You need continuity and a cohesive unit to be successful. Simply having the most talent does not warrant a team the rights to a championship.
The Philadelphia Eagles were aware of this going into their free agency spending spree last summer. Except there was one thing wrong with their plan: the offense didn't perform early.
For all the blame Juan Castillo and the defense received last year, most overlooked was the offense's inept ability to score in the 4th quarter and their horrendous minus 14 turnover ratio. Philadelphia blew 4th quarter leads last season as if it were a built-in incentive clause.
Now, that's not suggesting they blew them on purpose but simply stating they made it quite routine and fairly simple looking to pull off.
The Eagles gave away five 4th quarter leads in 2011. Three in a row during the first quarter of the season, which ultimately derailed the team's playoff hopes before they could even start thinking about the postseason.
Andy Reid and Co. "thought coming into the (2011) season that the offense, because we had the continuity, would carry the defense and the defense would gradually get better and better and better." But as we all know by now, "it didn’t work out that way."
This season not only will their be continuity between the players and coaches on defense, but they won't be counting on the offense to buy them time to gel as a unit. After all, the Eagles ended the season with the NFC's second best defense and a top 10 defense throughout the league.
Change on Draft Evaluation Process
Andy Reid and Howie Roseman have baked some humble pies this past week on more than one issue, and you can smell them throughout the league.
Roseman touched on how the front office let the various pre-draft events have "a bigger effect than we wanted." The 40-times, bench presses and leaping ability is all well and good, but can you play? That's what Roseman eluded to when he discussed refocusing the front office's efforts in their evaluations.
Roseman also stated this week that this will change, and the majority of their grading will come strictly from film and game evaluations. The Philadelphia Eagles GM admitted that the front office personnel "entrenched" on drafting a position and not "best players."
Every team has a different draft philosophy but the Eagles' drafting philosophy seems to be undergoing a renaissance under the tutelage of Roseman as GM. Philadelphia almost mindlessly drafted linemen--whether on offense or defense--in the first round and would rarely stray away from that position.
Seven out of the 11 first-round draft picks (2007-2008 Philadelphia didn't have first-round picks) during the Reid era were linemen. The other four were a quarterback (Donovan McNabb), a cornerback (Lito Sheppard) and two wide receivers (Freddie "Fed Ex" Mitchell, Jeremy Maclin). Of which, Maclin was probably the only player they took solely because he was far and away the best player available.
This is a good sign. Philadelphia almost annually betters their position within the first round and might actually hit with one of their picks if they pick the "best" individual rather than the best player available for a specific position.
Continuity and Keeping the Core Entact "First Goal"
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The Philadelphia Eagles have been sitting on the sidelines during this free agency period. Contrary to last summer's raid on the market, Philadelphia has focused on rewarding their own.
You won't see them as winners in any free agency rankings list but Philadelphia did exactly what they needed to do this off-season by keeping their core in South Philly. Trent Cole, DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans all received new deals.
Cole was never going to leave Philadelphia, and Jackson ended up receiving the franchise tag simply to extend the negotiating time between both parties. Cole and Herremans have both been professional about their contract situations despite both playing above their contract's value.
The big win for Philadelphia was keeping Mathis and extending Herremans. Mathis has been a journeyman lineman for several years but found a fit in Philadelphia last season under Howard Mudd's system. Herremans moved from left guard to right tackle and adapted seamlessly.
Keeping Mathis and locking up Herremans gives the Eagles' offensive line the most stability they've had since Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas were bookends on either side of the line.
With Mudd's system, the offensive line will continue to grow in solidarity as a unit, which allows them to do what they're paid to do: protect Michael Vick.
Losing arguably the best tackle in football in Jason Peters to an Achilles injury this past week will certainly make the moves to lock up the rest of their line even more vital going into 2012.
Justin Sparks is an NFL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for up-to-date NFL news and opinions. Check out the worst Free Agency moves of the off-season.