OK. So maybe Howie Roseman isn't the most photogenic face in sports. (Definitely a Drew Brees doppleganger, though.) But unimposing as he and his resume seem, he's the most crucial component of the Eagles 2012 reconstruction plans.
Stress over the etiquette in pulling for your team to blow it down the stretch. Go all “John The Sign Guy” and bust out the “Fire Reid” petitions.
Whatever you have to do to get through these next three weeks with Andy Reid, Juan Castillo and Jim Washburn on the staff.
But really: the scratchy voices and charred jerseys, you don’t need them.
Whether the Atrocious Three will (or should) have jobs isn’t important.
Don’t worry. The wide nine, vanilla defense, even the linebacker and safety situation—Reid used that as his latest press conference excuse, so says Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan. All will be scrapped by Opening Day 2012.
As for the “thinkers” behind them, their times will come.
But for all the Eagles might lack in coaching and play-calling, they’ll have what they need most: someone to guarantee them a chance.
Someone like Howie Roseman.
That’s right, Howie Roseman, the squirrely pencil pusher with next-to-no football background. Roseman, the front office exec who’s still in NFL diapers. Roseman, the Theo Epstein of his time and sport—minus the wunderkid renown and hot shot short list.
Eagle fans, meet your savior: Howie Roseman.
No? Not doing it for you?
Do you believe in Howie Roseman as your GM?
How soon we forget.
How soon we forget that Roseman—who’s flown up the organizational ladder since his 2002 role of lowly front-office assistant—was the architect of this past Eagles offseason.
How soon we forget that Roseman—whose first official football title was, appropriately, “Salary Cap Counsel”—swung the moves that gave this season expectations that could go unfulfilled.
How soon we forget that Roseman—whose job security isn’t (and shouldn’t be) half as tenuous as Reid, Castillo or Washburn—can easily do it again.
How? By pulling the same strings to get the best-available free agents and trade pieces, and for better-than-market value.
By signing this year’s Jason Babins and Cullen Jenkinses (maybe Stephen Tulloch or Laron Landry?) to Babin- and Jenkins-like contracts that pay their guaranteed money up-front in signing and roster bonuses, giving the Eagles the financial freedom to cut them loose without cap penalties.
By taking smart waivers on iffy players like Ronnie Brown and Vince Young that can’t burn him beyond the lives of their one-year contracts.
By doing exactly what he did this past July. And maybe—without the pressure of an abbreviated signing period—more.
What does that mean? Maybe a 27-year-old Michael Griffin for, at worst, $6 million. Or Marshawn Lynch, for only $5 million in collateral.
That’s what Roseman’s capable of. That’s how you should be thinking.
You should expect the inside track to re-sign upcoming free agents like LeSean McCoy, due up at season’s end.
You should expect to contend for guards Carl Nicks (New Orleans) and Ben Grubbs (Baltimore), both possible with the Eagles scheduled $60 million of 2012 cap room, and necessary given the $80 million committed to Michael Vick.
And, after all that, you should expect and flexibility to make plays for whatever mid-tier options best spackle the Eagles’ holes.
Why not? Come time to restock the cupboard, what will have changed?
Roseman will still fly under the radar, since his role in last year’s success was overshadowed by Reid and Vick, both presumed the central selling points in pulling those offseason acquisitions and on the cheap.
Didn’t get enough of the suspense from Phl17’s “The Nnamdi Asomugha Watch” last year? Don’t worry.
A second season is in the works.
Roseman’s hand-built national platform will still be standing, too, with a shelf life of at least another year. Get ready for the top training camp headline of 2012: “Will This Be The Year The Eagles Realize Their Potential?”
Which is more outstanding in your mind, with regard to your feelings about Roseman?
So too will be a fresh batch of signees ready to be a part of the story.
Might Roseman’s mojo take something of a hit? Maybe, depending on the immediate futures of Reid and Vick, both pitches a suitor would like the luxury of having.
But even if Reid goes, and Vick’s last three games go how his first 10 did, there’s still hope.
There’s still Roseman.
Not to mention the excitement of the first new head football coach in Philadelphia in 13 years.
Not to mention a fresh football mind and motivator of men.
Not to mention a contagious enough energy to lure whatever player this team needs. And maybe savvy enough to draft them.
And believe it or not, you’re not losing that much on the sales floor.
As for how far Reid’s presence went last summer: Not very, apparently, at least according to last month’s Sporting News poll of NFL players that put at least 12 coaches ahead of Reid in the “Which Coach (Other Than Your Own) Would You Most Like To Play For?” category.
Among them? Three “Hugh Jacksons” and two “Norv Turners.”
Yeah. Pretty telling, if not embarrassing.
Or, if nothing else, just another reason why Eagle fans shouldn’t fret over Reid.