Eagles Wake-Up Call: Time To Build a New Culture

The Eagles’ primary objective in free agency will be to target young talent at need positions.

But there’s a secondary factor at work too: building the kind of culture that Chip Kelly is looking to establish.

“You’re never trying to use the word rebuilding,” Howie Roseman told Birds 24/7 on Wednesday. “That equates to the fact that we’re not trying to win every year. And we’re always trying to win. We want to build it the right way. We want to do the right things so that we can compete for a long time.

“On that same token… there are certain players that no matter what the age is, they set the right example, they do the right thing. As you’re building a culture, they help carry that culture forward. That’s important stuff.”

The culture clearly deteriorated in the final year of the Andy Reid era. Michael Vick was critical of his teammates after the regular-season finale against the Giants. Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and others expressed their displeasure too about the team’s chemistry.

“Guys I felt like should have been pros, have been in this league and understand how things go, wasn’t acting like it,” Maclin said back in January.

“I think guys made a lot of excuses,” added McCoy. “Guys maybe weren’t playing up to par, guys weren’t focusing enough, guys making a certain amount of money, not putting out. So I think guys were looking for excuses.”

The key for the front office will be to identify the key pieces already on the roster, while making smart decisions in the draft and free agency.

If you’re looking for an example of the type of player Roseman is talking about, linebacker DeMeco Ryans is a good place to start.

“Coach talked about what he thought about DeMeco and what he saw on tape and his intangibles that he brings,” Roseman said. “Those are culture-setters when you have guys like that – great character, hard-working.

“A lot of times, the first year you’re in a new place, it takes a little while to adjust, but you’re talking about a really productive player and a really hard worker – smart player as well.”

In other words, the Eagles could use a few more like him.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The 2011 offseason was a disaster for the Eagles. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to afraid to make moves this year in free agency. Here’s what Roseman had to say.

Could 49ers safety Dashon Goldson be a fit for the Birds? T-Mac has the latest.

From Darrelle Revis to Goldson to the No. 4 pick, here’s what they’re saying about the Eagles.

Tim caught up with Vinny Curry, who’s adding muscle and ready for a potential shift to linebacker.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk brings up the possibility of the Eagles trading Nnamdi Asomugha:

If the Eagles cut him, they’ll still owe him $4 million, with no offset for what he earns elsewhere.  So why not agree to pay the $4 million and send him for a late-round pick to a team that would then sign him to a new contract?

Tommy Lawlor has a mock draft out on PhiladelphiaEagles.com. He has them taking Oregon’s Dion Jordan with the No. 4 pick:

I’m not alone in thinking that Jordan would be a great fit for the Eagles. A lot of mock drafts have the team taking him with the fourth overall pick. This isn’t a matter of linking Chip Kelly with one of his former players. Jordan is a very gifted prospect that all 32 teams will have interest in. He had a terrific showing at the combine. He looked like the most natural pass rusher there. Put on the game tape and Jordan stands out there. He can fly off the edge. The thing that really stands out is how well he bends for such a tall player. Those guys tend to be too upright. Jordan can dip and get low to get by offensive tackles. He’s not just a pass rusher. Jordan has good cover skills. He can cover backs in the flat or run with wide receivers 20 yards downfield. Oregon would have him line up over the slot receiver on a regular basis.

COMING UP

More from our interview with Roseman, plus free agency and draft buzz.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • theycallmerob

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t hear a lot being made about any of the top draft picks being exceptional leader-types or “captains of the defense”. It seemed that crown went to Manti Te’o this year, and he’s taken quite the draft-board tumble.

    • Warhound

      I think it unlikely that Te’o will be a leader anytime soon.

    • CJ

      There are a few, but none with the profile of a high 1st round pick. Te’o comes to mind tho he tanked his credibility. Mauti comes to mind but he’s a backup/ST ace at best early in his career. I didn’t follow Texas enough to know if Vacarro is that type of guy.

      I don’t know if you go and aim to draft leaders when your locker room was so lost last year. This team valued drafting leadership in years past and the kids just defer to the voices that are established on the team. No draft pick is going to come in here and act like a leader and command a locker room, there is no Andrew Luck in this draft at any position. Hopefully they continue to cut out the cancers and let the guys on this team that can lead emerge (Ryans, Graham, Cox, McCoy were all these types of guys coming out of college). Maybe temporarily bringing in a guy like an Ed Reed would help show a young team how its done, though I doubt he’d come here at this point in his career.

  • JofreyRice

    The lack of locker-room leadership is frustrating, because it limits the kind of talents you can bring in. Truthfully, two of my favorite players from this free agent class would not be suitable to bring onto this rudderless ship–Desmond Bryant and Martellus Bennett. I think on the field, these guys are great fits for what they’re trying to do. Bennett is the real deal as an all-around TE threat, better than Jared Cook, IMO, but I don’t think he’s turned the corner from the immature stuff he did in Dallas. Bryant could be a really good 5 Tech for us, but had personality and social issues at Harvard, and is spending this offseason creating fantastic looking mug shots.

  • UKEagle99

    We need a Dawkins 2.0, Ryans comes across as the consummate professional and a natural leader with both his actions and his words but he doesn’t have eye in the back of his head. I’d love to see us pick up a safety that would command the back 4.

    • dmancine9

      DJ Swearinger, Safety from South Carolina has the potential to become a leader and enforcer in the secondary, similar to Dawkins. He would be a great 2nd or 3rd round pick for the Eagles, as long as we also sign a Free Safety in free agency.

  • JofreyRice

    Hey Sheil, thought this was a really interesting take from NFL Films’ Greg Cosell, about Chip Kelly, his offense & The Eagles:

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/cosell-chip-kelly-litmus-test-003822699–nfl.html

    “It struck me watching Oregon’s offense that there are two critical elements to the success of Kelly’s offense, an offense whose foundation is the running game despite the spread formations: Manipulating and adding gaps by the use of personnel and formation, and the viability of the quarterback as a running threat. Those who believe otherwise do not understand the conceptual and schematic underpinnings of Kelly’s offense. It’s an option run game, with the quarterback as the initial decision maker. For those option concepts to be maximized, the quarterback must be a runner. He won’t have his quarterback run “power” 10 times a game, but any option offense requires a quarterback who can run.

    That’s why the Eagles brought back Michael Vick, and signed Dennis Dixon. Both are viable running threats. Both have good arms. Many in Philadelphia may be rolling their eyes right now, but every coach has a vision of what he wants his offense, and by extension, his quarterback to look like. Vick and Dixon fit Kelly’s profile.”

    • ICDogg

      Wonder if any of it will resemble the type of stuff Vick did with Duckett and Dunn in Atlanta?

      • http://twitter.com/JerryP2375 Jerry Pomroy

        Maybe Vick should start wearing hats that say “let me be me”. Of course, I say that with a sarcastic grin.

    • peteike

      counter to the article Sheil wrote suggesting Kelly can adapt with different style QBs. I still tend to believe this is truly his formula for success. Its what he used for his best success as a coach so it really only goes to figure that will be his direction. That being said, if in practice Vick and Dixon arent getting it done, then maybe he does adapt to a Foles. Time will tell as will the open QB competition. I think he has the best chance to succeed at the NFL level mirroring Belichick and Brady instead of recreating Oregon.

  • Bdawkbdawk

    I don’t mean to sound like a defeatist or even to self aggrandize :), but we need to stop looking for Dawkins in the draft or in free agaency. It won’t happen. He is a “once in a generation type of player.” That’s why he deserves the HOF. Instead, we should be looking to replace parts of Dawkins’ production and leadership. Rarely is there just one missing peice. Building a team is a process. Chasing paydays on a roulette wheel should be left to the cowboys and raiders.

    • Cali bleeds Kelly green

      This one of if not the best understandings of our teams needs and how we should look at things as a whole I love this site.cuz of this thnx Tim and sheil and the true fans dat get it

  • http://twitter.com/JerryP2375 Jerry Pomroy

    From what I’ve been reading Glover Quin is a good character, blue chip type player.