In the immortal lyrics of Chairmen of the Board, we need to give Howie Roseman “just a little more time.” With a little under a year since reclaiming his post, calls for Roseman’s job have grown increasingly more common. It’s time for Eagles fans to be patient and not to let the emotions of a tough season rule.
We all know the story: Chip Kelly comes to the NFL with his “Harry High School” offense and caught defensive coordinators off guard. The Eagles go 10-6 in Chip Kelly’s first two seasons as head coach. Then Chip makes a power play, talking the feeble-minded owner into banishing Roseman across the NovaCare Complex, rendering him an overpaid equipment manager.
When Roseman re-entered his old job, fans were skeptical. How was a number-crunching guy who never played football going to fix this mess? Why would they promote a guy who never won a playoff game in his time as general manager?
Regardless of the answers to those questions, Roseman was back in charge and didn’t waste any time fixing Kelly’s mess. Just six weeks after Kelly was released, Roseman parted ways with Riley Cooper. On March 10, Roseman finalized a deal sending Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell to the Dolphins to move from pick 13 to pick 8. On March 16, Roseman was able to jettison DeMarco Murray’s terrible contract to the Titans, giving the Eagles much needed cap flexibility. By most standards, this would have been considered a successful offseason, but the deals made after this are going to define Roseman’s career. The Eagles were able to acquire the second pick in the draft from the Browns, enabling them to draft Carson Wentz. The Eagles were then able to flip Sam Bradford to the Vikings to recoup a 1st- and 4th-round pick. A fanbase that just months before had witnessed the death of its savior, Sam Hinkie, was witnessing the ascent of another.
The Eagles, dealing with a whirlwind of roster changes, drama surrounding a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach, and a real-life Lattimer (Lane Johnson), started the season. Fan expectations were low, and excitement over our future franchise quarterback was high. In game one, the Eagles beat the Browns handily and crushed the Bears in game two. It wasn’t until week three’s win against the Steelers that this city, myself included, went bananas. Granted, the Steelers were without one of their best offensive weapons, Le’Veon Bell.
I think it’s fair to say we should have tempered our expectations during this period of the season. Everyone knew of the glaring talent holes in this roster going into the season. Everyone knew they had no talent at corner or wide receiver positions. Everyone knew that the rookie quarterback and rookie head coach would most likely have to grow into their jobs. The rest of the season has been a regression toward the mean, culminating in terrible performances against Seattle, Green Bay, and Cincinnati.
Fans are quick to jump to the belligerent Negadelphia take, “Get Howie out of there! He doesn’t know what he’s doing! He’s not a football guy!” Sports talk radio hosts prematurely call for the removal of Roseman, while praising Ron Hextall for staying the course and fixing a Flyers talent and salary cap mess. It’s clear that Philadelphia sports franchises are now entering a renaissance. There’s an abundance of young talent in the city. People were exceptionally patient with Sam Hinkie and Ron Hextall, and it seems like both have laid the foundation for championship rosters (Bryan Colagnelo will probably ruin the Sixers, but that’s best left for a different column). I understand that the Eagles are different. This is a city obsessed with football and the Eagles haven’t won a championship in 56 years. The pain that’s been felt by all in the Delaware Valley is real.
Eagles fans have been wronged by inept management, terrible coaching, and a quarterback throwing up in the huddle during the Super Bowl, but now is not the time to think of the immediate future. When people point to Roseman’s biggest failure as a general manager, they point to “The Dream Team,” where Roseman went on a huge shopping spree in free agency, and it failed miserably. Now, people are complaining about the talent holes on this roster that were created by Chip Kelly. It’s clear that it was impossible to fix Kelly’s blunders in one offseason. You can’t force the draft and free agency to get to the Super Bowl. Generously, this is a two- to three-year process.
This season was about establishing a baseline–for Carson Wentz, for Doug Peterson, for the defense, and for the general manager. Next year will be about growth. It’s fair to expect more from the Howie Roseman regime year two, but it’s also fair to give the reinstated general manager more than one offseason, without his own scouting staff, to build a roster. With limited draft picks this season, Roseman was able to land four promising young players; Carson Wentz, Jalen Mills, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and Isaac Seumalo. It’s clear that the Eagles will be moving forward with Roseman for at least the next season. This is the case for open mindedness and level headedness. The Eagles will either get better, or will be forced to clean house and start fresh with a new general manager, scouting staff, coaching staff, and quarterback. It’s clear that Howie Roseman’s legacy will be directly tied to the success of Carson Wentz, but this past offseason has earned him the chance to prove himself.
Right now, I believe in Howie Roseman’s ability to build a team and it’s in the best interest of the fan base for him to be a success. Let’s not fall victim to Philadelphia negativity, but keep an open mind and let Howie Roseman rise above expectations.