Some Thoughts On the Howie Roseman Debate

Jason La Canfora went after Howie Roseman pretty hard in his latest piece for CBS Sports, portraying the 37-year-old as a shaky general manager who is impeding  the Eagles’ quest to find a quality head coach.

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. Roseman isn’t the general manager they should tie their wagon to. It’s clear Chip Kelly wasn’t leaving Oregon for anywhere unless he had a large measure of control over the organization, and owner Jeffrey Lurie has already entrusted that to Roseman. There has been trepidation by some candidates to go all-in given the questions about this existing power structure.

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.

This is not the first time that Roseman has been described as a potential hindrance. When the Eagles were flirting with Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, the Harriburg Patriot News suggested that the former Patriots offensive coordinator may not be fond of the idea of coming to Philadelphia because Roseman is held in “low regard” by Bill Belichick.

There is enough smoke to suggest at the very least that Roseman is not universally admired across the NFL. It is also possible that the Roseman detractors are a very small group with a very loud voice. If an executive wanted to grind an ax, say, he would be able to plant enough seeds in the media to have several stories sprout up.

If the Eagles are having a difficult time finding a desirable candidate who wants the gig, it likely has more to do with the power structure and the quarterback situation than it does Roseman. If Chip Kelly or O’Brien wanted full control over personnel, they would not find it in Philadelphia. Where the Chiefs were willing to cut ties with Scott Pioli to land Andy Reid, Jeffrey Lurie does not appear all that flexible when it comes to his general manager situation; he wants Roseman here, and he wants him to have significant sway.

That, plus the cloudiness at the quarterback position, is enough to shrink the pool.

Peter King believes that some of the bloom is off the Eagles’ rose:

I understand the vagaries of college coaches interviewing for jobs, and how some of them (most, maybe) want to use the interviews to better their lots in college. But the Eagles have averaged 10.4 wins a year, with nine playoff appearances since the turn of the century. That’s about as good as it gets, aside from the Super Bowl drought, in a highly competitive league. But now, this could be a team trending downward.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a club statement: “There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job. We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts. We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.”

Fine. But would three premier college coaches say no to the Steelers? The Giants? The Packers? Don’t think so.

To find the Eagles job desirable, you have to crave the challenge of following Reid; you must be motivated by the idea of  identifying and grooming a QB while building the franchise back up; you have to be dying to ride the roller coaster with a rabid fan base. And you must find the power structure appealing.

It  is not for everyone. That is true whether Roseman is the GM or not.

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