If Howie Roseman is standing in the way of a great head coaching hire, Jeffrey Lurie has to push him out of the way.
Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is under real duress to find a head coach for his football team. Unfortunately for Roseman, the head coach the Eagles need most might only come to town if Roseman leaves.
If that happens—if, say, Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher or even Brian Billick says to Jeffrey Lurie, "I'll come to Philadelphia but I will not work for Howie"—then no matter what Lurie thinks of his general manager, Roseman has to go.
Jason La Canfora's recent post on cbssports.com detailing the "scrutiny" Roseman is under both in and out of Philadelphia was in large part an unsubstantiated hatchet job on Roseman.
La Canfora: "I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me one esteemed coach or another advised one of the Eagles' top candidates not to take the job precisely because of Roseman's presence there."
La Canfora, again: "The rumblings about Roseman lacking nuance and foresight, about him turning people off with how drunk with power he's become, only grow louder as his coaching search grows stranger."
Strong stuff. Something was missing though.
Names. Actual sources. Someone who would go on the record and say that Roseman is an impediment to the Eagles' head coaching search.
Which is too bad, because for the most part, La Canfora's argument is well taken.
He is dead-on in saying that the Eagles' search process has been "meandering" and that there is no excuse for Lurie and Roseman to seem so unprepared right now when Andy Reid was clearly a dead man walking as far back as November.
At the press conference announcing Reid's termination, Lurie hinted very broadly that the poor personnel decisions (Jason Babin and Nnamdi Asomugha come to mind) and/or draft mistakes (most notably 2011 second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett) had little to do with Roseman and a lot to do with Reid:
I keep voluminous notes on talent evaluation on not just who we draft, but who is valued in each draft by each person that is in the organization that’s working here...I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman," (per Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com).
Lurie apparently wants Eagles fans to believe that Roseman is a young Bill Walsh or Bill Polian, i.e., a future architect of an organization that can compete for multiple Super Bowls.
Maybe he is, but probably not. To La Canfora's point, if Roseman is so clearly a rising star in the world of National Football League management, why does it seem like the Eagles can't give their head coaching job away?
Great head coaches are out there to be hired, but as the Eagles are finding they are not as readily available as Lurie and Roseman may have first thought.
Which is why, if Roseman is the difference between a press conference announcing Jon Gruden as the new head coach and a press conference for Ken Whisenhunt, Lurie needs to swallow his pride and either find Roseman another job within the organization or show him the door.
The importance of the general manager has a tendency to be a touch overstated, anyway. Quick quiz: who are the general managers of the NFC Championship Game representatives this year?
Thomas Dimitroff is the Atlanta Falcons GM, and Trent Baalke is the San Francisco 49ers GM.
Not exactly household names, right? Because, while each man's role within his franchise is significant, he is far from alone in making his team's success happen. If Dimitroff and Baalke were doing it by themselves, everyone would know exactly who they are.
Jeffrey Lurie's franchise is at a crossroads. More troubling, it has been stuck at this crossroads for weeks trying to figure out which way to go...but ultimately driving around in circles.
If his insistence on Roseman remaining in place as Eagles GM is the reason for his team's inability to go forward, Lurie has to be willing to change his mind on that point.
Saving face by sticking unwisely by Roseman would be wholly wrong if it means losing out on the best possible head coach.