Eagles Wake-Up Call: Notes From the Owners Meetings

PHOENIX – Some notes and nuggets from a couple worthwhile days here at the owners meetings:

John Harbaugh made a point during the AFC coaches breakfast to say: “You can’t have enough corners.” He said it twice, actually. It makes you wonder why he let Cary Williams walk. The Ravens coach had nice things to say about Williams, though, when asked about him.

“Cary is a good man. He is a good family man. He loves his kids, he loves his wife. He’s dedicated to the game. He’ll give you everything he’s got. He’s a very emotional guy, he really cares,” said Harbaugh. “He’s long and he’s fast and he’s got good ball skills, so I think Philly has a really good player.”

— Texans head coach Gary Kubiak sounded legitimately disappointed that they were unable to keep outside linebacker Connor Barwin.

“Boy, I really hate to lose him,” he said. “I think the world of him. I have a great relationship with him and he’ll do a great job for you. He loves to play, and as a coach all you can ask for is a guy that gives you everything he’s got every week, and he’s one of those players.”

Kubiak said that Houston tried to get something done with Barwin last year, but couldn’t come to an agreement. Despite the statistical drop from 2011 to ’12, he believes Barwin was every bit as good last season as he was the year before when he played more on the open side.

As for tight end James Casey, Kubiak commented on his versatility, said he was a great fit for the Eagles and that Philly is “catching him at the right time.”

— New Chargers head coach Mike McCoy talked about his interview with the Eagles.

“The simplest way to say it is I have the utmost respect for Jeffrey Lurie and the organization,” said McCoy. “The way the interview process went with them, they were very respectful of what I was still working towards — and that was winning a world championship with the Denver Broncos. They came in the afternoon and said, ‘Listen, this is more of a get-to-know-you process here the first time we’re talking to you,  so we respect what you’ve asked for to kind of cut back to a certain extent.

“The way he talked about Andy Reid, a coach he had just fired a couple days ago, and it was the same thing with Andy. The way they talked about each other, he does it the right way.”

Why wasn’t it a fit?

“Every owner, every head coach has to make a decision what is best, and it’s a gut decision. Mr. Lurie made a decision to go in a  certain direction, and that’s the best thing for the Eagles organization.”

— You can tell that Howie Roseman isn’t in serious business mode right now. His job requires him to always be on the clock, but he’s been doing his best to sneak in as much quality time as he can with his wife and kids. On Monday night, the Rosemans sat around a fire pit with with Pete Carroll‘s family roasting marshmallows. These are the kind of sights you will see only in an environment like this.

Chip Kelly seems to be fitting right in to the relaxed atmosphere. Whether hanging out in a lounge chair next to Lurie during a cocktail party or strolling to lunch with Gus Bradley, the casual setting appears to suit him just fine.

— Not everybody is going with the mellow flow. There are not a ton of agents milling around the Biltmore hotel grounds, but power agents Ben Dogra and Drew Rosenhaus are on the prowl looking to find homes for some of their free agents.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil gives us three Eagles numbers that matter. Quality insight as always.

Bill Belichick says that Kelly’s influence on New England’s offense is “very, very limited.”

Reid made it known that Geno Smith is in play for the No. 1 overall pick.

Here is a transcript of Lurie’s session with reporters at the owners meetings.

Kapadia examines the state of the offensive line.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Peter King talked to Roseman about a shift in approach towards free agency.

“It’s hard to bring guys at bigger money than your players and say it’s not going to create a problem.”

Two years ago, the Eagles brought in some big-money guys. Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin. The Dream Team. Soon it was The Nightmare Team.

Now, Roseman is running the show — Andy Reid, his godfather, and former boss Joe Banner are in the AFC after a disastrous 2012 — and he was determined to do two things here: get new coach Chip Kelly the players he wanted, and not overpay them. With tight end Brent Celek in the midst of a six-year, $33 milion deal, Roseman was going after the versatile tight end of his dreams, James Casey. But only if the money was right. And it was: three years, $12 million, just $4.02 million in the first year. “Chip took a look at the free-agent tight end tape,” said Roseman, “and he took one look at Casey, and that was his guy.” Same with his other signings — Connor Barwin couldn’t be over Trent Cole, etc.

ESPN has released its pre-draft power rankings. The Eagles come in at No. 26.

Chip Kelly is working on rebuilding the defense, starting with the back end. Still a question mark at QB. (Graziano)

COMING UP

Kelly will spend an hour with the media during the NFC coaches breakfast here in AZ. We’ll let you know what he has to say.

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