Eagles Wake-Up Call: Howie, Chip And the Power Structure

Albert Breer recently wrote a piece for NFL.com titled, “Who’s really in charge? Power structures vary across NFC East” in which he tries to decipher who is calling the shots for each of the four teams in the division.

In Dallas, it’s quite obviously Jerry Jones. Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese has final say over the draft and the 53-man roster. In Washington, Mike Shanahan has control over all football decisions. Pretty straightforward…until you get to the Eagles.

 As it stands now, three men — president Don Smolenski, GM Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly – report directly to owner Jeffrey Lurie, with Roseman and Kelly responsible for the football side.

The Eagles have been very secretive when it comes to their structure beyond that.

That’s true. In the previous era, people in the building would go out of their way to tell you that Andy Reid had final say in any and all personnel decisions. Now, you are much more likely to get a vague answer that almost always includes the term “collaborative effort.”

So, what is the truth?

Breer cited two sources who contend that Kelly has final say over the 53-man roster. And I think that makes sense. Roseman has long-stressed that this is a coach-centric operation. At the end of the day, Lurie seems inclined to let the coach decide  who he wants alongside him on game day.

But that’s not to say that Kelly has full authority across the board. If you remember, it was just recently that Lurie — aft er examining his “voluminous notes” — decided that Roseman was the top talent evaluator in the building, and streamlined the draft process so that Roseman held the hammer. The draft is Roseman’s turf, though Kelly obviously has serious sway.

“Coaches don’t have time to do all the personnel work,” Kelly said. “It’s just not humanly possible. We have games to prepare for during the season. We don’t watch anybody play live. We don’t watch how people react during things. We’re basing a lot of it just on video. But we have a lot of [personnel] people who have seen them in person. So you have to take their insight. There are a lot of very smart people up there [in personnel] who have some really good insight, so it’s the smart way to do it. I think everybody should listen to each other, and as a group, we come together for a decision.”

The answer is, it’s part Roseman and part Kelly (collaborative effort!). The coach tells the GM what types of players he is looking for, the GM finds men that fit the bill, and they whittle it down from there. Final call seems to depend on circumstance. There is a little gray area — and that’s just fine for Kelly, who would rather highlight the process over the individual any day of the week.

WHAT YOU MISSED

One national outlet says that Brandon Graham “was a simply terrifying prospect for tackles to block” last season.

As the injuries and years mount, Brent Celek is learning to manage the wear and tear.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Zach Berman points out that Kelly was pretty heavy-handed at Oregon when some of his players got in legal trouble, and wonders how he’ll handle Jason Peters.

College football has no collective bargaining agreement or players’ union, so an NFL coach does not have the kind of authority over players that a college coach does. But Kelly will determine who’s on the team and who’s starting, and it’s reasonable to wonder what his approach will be with Peters or any other player who finds headlines for the wrong reasons.

Les Bowen offers his thoughts on DeSean Jackson after seeing a different side to him recently.

Friday afternoon at the screening, DeSean was talking emotionally about the ravages of pancreatic cancer, which took the life of his harsh, demanding father, Bill Jackson, only five months after Bill was diagnosed in January 2009. DeSean was fetching bottles of water for the people attending the screening. His mother, Gayle — a poised, thoughtful woman — was speaking eloquently about why she thought the film was important, what she hoped it would do for other families, other fathers and sons.

I was reminded yet again that life is rarely simple. Yes, DeSean’s 2011 season, when he allowed his unfulfilled contract quest to make him listless and uninterested, was an affront to everyone who bought a ticket, let alone anyone who bought a No. 10 jersey. Yes, I get as sick of JACCPOT and stories about ridiculous bar bills and $400,000 grievances filed by Drew Rosenhaus as you do. But somewhere under all that, I think, is an interesting, reflective person, who unfortunately feels he needs to project something entirely different.

COMING UP

Oh, we’ll think of something.

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  • MediaMike

    Zac Berman needs to realize a few things:
    - Jason Peters had the bad luck of being seen doing 100 mph………..if every person who did 100 on the highway got arrested for it, any of us who’ve driven on 95 or 476 would be in jail. Often.
    - The evading charge in 95% nonsense. Peters didn’t lead officiers on a 3 state chase; he just took longer than negative 3 seconds to pull over and was already going 100 mph; so we have a histrionic law enforcement official all types of upset with actually having to do some work to pull over Peters.
    TOTAL non-story. This isn’t DUI, drugs, violence towards women, or any other legit problem the league needs to crack down on.

    • Maggie

      If the cops are to be believed, Peters was driving a hundred miles an hour on a dark secondary road, not on 95. He could have killed any number of innocent bystanders, just like what’s-his-name in Dallas. He is not a brainless 19-year-old anymore, either. At least not physically. And, yes, I’ve done 120 MPG on a 6-lane highway, with little traffic and during the day, myself, but it doesn’t make me any smarter.

  • G_WallyHunter

    You know what I love about this site? I can depend on some fresh eagles journalism every single (weekday) morning at 6:30 on the dot… how about that commitment. I guess commitment goes both ways with these kinda things. When exactly did Birds 24/7 begin? Was it after last season?

    • theycallmerob

      Yes, if I remember right it was a little over a year ago

      • G_WallyHunter

        good haven’t missed out on much then

  • G_WallyHunter

    3rd paragraph after the bolded Andy Reid, space between after QUICK!!

  • JofreyRice

    It seems like they look to make things as murky as possible, in terms of who’s really calling the shots.

    • Johnny Domino

      Plausible deniability

  • HowieDon’tKnow

    Eagles will always be a mess until the FO gets straightened out. Please hire a smart football guy and let’s judge him on his decisions. Our current GM held that title during some of the worst drafts in Eagles history. Reid is blamed for the talent but some of the picks are beyond odd and suggest other hands were involved (Curtis Marsh, Bryan Smith, Keenan Clayton and Teo Nesheim, to name a few). Lurie likes the ambiguity because he keeps his costs down (Howie can’t be paid at a high level relative to his peers) and he has at least two people (Howie and Donnie) who have to agree with him. The current situation just lets Lurie be like Jerry and Snider without the accountability. The widespread interest in Reid after he was terminated tells me that the league did not hold Reid as accountable for the melt down as the fans have. Since they have more information than we do about how the Eagles do things, that tells me that there is another perspective on what happened to the Eagles under Reid for some intrepid reporter to uncover.

    • theycallmerob

      You would think someone like yourself should be busy with other things, Joe Banner. Like tanking the Browns franchise

      • HowieDon’tKnow

        Nice. Expressing a different viewpoint means I am the former haberdasher now living in the mistake-by-the-lake. No real logic to that but if it makes you feel good to defend the 3 amigos …

        • theycallmerob

          “Reid is blamed for the talent but some of the picks are beyond odd and suggest other hands were involved”

          Really? Suggest? Your opinion is based on flawed assumptions at best. You continue to push your hate every chance you get. Blaming everything on Howie while ignoring Reid’s inability to adapt, the poor coaching hires, Nnmadi forgetting how to play, and the misappropriated blame for personnel decisions is not exactly a stout method of deduction

          • HowieDon’tKnow

            Everybody needs someone to love them. Nice for that Howie that he has you.

          • theycallmerob

            Solid defense for your straw men.

          • Richard Colton

            When you call yourself “HowieDon’tKnow” or “VickSupporter” or “EaglesSuck98″ you paint yourself into a corner. Were you expecting fair analysis?

          • theycallmerob

            I’d settle for sound reasoning. Alas….

    • Andy

      Tom Gamble=Smart Football Guy.

    • JettMartinez

      I love how “ownership is cheap” is always the go-to criticism in Philly sports. And there were absolutely some terrible drafts in the recent past, but the narrative goes that Howie wasn’t fully in charge of the draft until last year, which is looking pretty darn good. (Cox, Kendricks, Foles, Boykin. And Curry,Kelly and Brown may provide some depth). Way too early to judge this year, of course, but most reviews were positive. So Roseman didn’t start off as a lifelong “football guy”. People are incapable of learning things? Rich Kotite was a football guy. Mat Millen was a football guy. How’d he do?

    • Dutch

      This is a pretty accurate assessment from my vantage point. I’ll also include that Banner was obvious the brain trust and in Lurie’s eye earned that position over everyone else based on his abilities and experience at opening revenue streams.

      In negotiations with the state and city for building the Linc, Banner racked the authorities over hot coals and came away with a no lose deal for the Eagles and Lurie. That deal alone set Banner apart from other Executives in the NFL and made Banner a hot commodity across the league. It did nothing for internal communications within the Eagles organization but it definitely padded the Eagles bottom line.

    • JofreyRice

      I don’t think the Howie love is about cheapness. Like the Chip Kelly hire, I think it’s about aggressiveness. I think Lurie got tired of the methodical approach to roster building and FA towards the end of Reid’s 2nd five year plan.

      I know Lurie exonerated Howie for the bad drafts, but if you look at the way they’ve done business since Howie’s been in charge, it’s a marked change from the Joe Banner/Reid Eagles of the early part of the decade. There is no way you can reasonably excuse Howie from all the bad decisions of ’10 & ’11 and just try and credit him for the ’12 draft–a draft which is far from the pinnacle event some of Howie’s defenders try and cast it as. Maybe they had a powersharing thing which caused Lurie to think he had done a disservice to Howie’s talent evaluation process in the draft. I don’t know.

      I don’t think Lurie has Howie in charge for any nefarious reason, I just think he’s making an error in judgment. The simple truth of the matter is that when you look at the best franchises, in terms of talented rosters, the GM has usually come from a scouting background. The Ravens, the Giants, the 49ers, the Falcons, the Seahawks, the Packers, the Texans. There is no specific reason why a non-football guy couldn’t be talented enough to make the right decisions–as in the case of the legendary Ron Wolf–but I think Howie’s shown that he’s probably not that guy.

      I agree with you that if folks around the league really had blamed Reid for taking the franchise into the toilet the way Eagle fans have–essentially blaming everything on Reid, now that he’s gone–it would have been harder for him to finagle a situation where he basically got to name his own GM, within days of being fired.

      Unfortunately, I think we’re just going to have to ride it out with Howie. I’d prefer that they had just openly declared him as the GM and decision maker. They insulate by obfuscation. I feel like there is a chance that if Chip Kelly fails because he doesn’t have the right guys, it will be blamed solely on the fact that he’s a college coach, jumping to the NFL, and Howie will escape reasonable critique again. I’m really hoping for the best, but I’ve got no faith that Mr. Roseman will deliver.

      • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

        I think it’s too much of a coincidence to ignore the fact that the quality of players drafted in 2012 was significantly better and then within a few months Joe Banner resigns. He built on that with another solid class (eye test only obviously) this year.

        Banner was a notorious penny pincher and I have no doubts that the salary cap played a big part in those draft classes. The unwillingness to move up the board, the constant trading back and hoarding of late round picks, all reek of Joe Banner. What it got us was a roster of late round picks who have no business being in the NFL, and complete misses on the high and middle round guys, most of whom are no longer on the roster (or NFL even).

        It certainly does absolve Howie of the blame, but he seems to be learning from his mistakes. The fact that we’re 25 million under the cap, with most of our core talent under contract at the beginning of a rebuilding phase is not a bad thing.

        • JofreyRice

          I hated a lot of Joe Banner’s moves as well, but the fact of the matter is, the results from Banner & Reid–with all the regrettable things Banner said to the media over the years–were much better than anything the team has done since Howie’s taken over. I mean there are a litany of variables separating the Eagles teams of today, and the Eagles teams that were actual contenders every year–not just the FO group, but it must be noted.

          I honestly don’t see that much difference, in terms of the financial state of the team. It seems that creatively responsible cap management is kind of a hallmark of Lurie’s Eagles, and would be the standard no matter who was at the wheel. It seems the Eagles now prefer a lot of “break glass in case of emergency” contracts, where they can get out early without financial repercussions, as opposed to the infamous “Banner Lowball” contracts where promising 2nd or 3rd year players would get locked up for really long term contracts. I have no doubt that Howie has an excellent sense of financials–that was how he cut his teeth in football.

          Who in ’12 was so unquestionably fantastic? Fletcher Cox is probably my favorite Eagle at the moment, but he’s still got a lot to prove at the NFL level. Kendricks has got to take a big step this year; though I’ll say I’m hopeful that the scheme will feature his strengths. Curry’s future is very much in doubt. Foles may or may not be an NFL starter. Boykin is a decent slot CB they got in the 4th round; OK. that’s kind of where you get slot corners. They took a late flier on a talented but raw and flawed player in Bryce Brown, and he’s shown NFL caliber talent running the ball. I’ll agree there is some promise there, but it’s no slam dunk–particularly at this early stage. I’m not trying to be negative here, I just think it’s reasonable to wait and see to judge this draft class as a “win” for Howie.

          • cliff henny

            i’m alot more confident in howie since he brought in donahue and gamble. maybe showed signs he knows he has a short-coming there. eagles know how to write contracts and manage the cap, that’s a good thing. kelly seems content for now not buying the groceries, and also think that’s a good thing, too much for coaches to be GMs also gets too personal. contract negotiations can get rough. as for ’12 draft, might be over selling it as a fanbase, cause we just want something good to hang our hats onto. think it’s a nice draft, best in 5 yrs, but that’s not terribly hard. cox is stud, but need 2 more players to emerge before we can call it great. ’13 seemed good, but most seem nice till they get on field.

          • JofreyRice

            And I don’t mean to repeat myself here, but Phil Savage was on board for one of the drafts that really bombed for the Eagles–the ’10 draft. Savage worked with Ozzie Newsome to bring in guys like Ray Lewis, Jon Ogden, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Jamal Lewis, and others.

            In terms of talent evaluation, his track record is literally one of the best. And yet ’10 stunk. Ryan Grigson, the current GM of the Colts & NFL Executive of the Year was also here, and those drafts stunk. I mean, maybe it was all Reid, seems pretty hard to believe, for me.

            I’m really down with letting Howie make the picks. That’s what the GM is supposed to do, I just want accountability. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe his picks are great, but I want to be able to evaluate and critique him openly.

          • cliff henny

            it’s difficult to know what hapened in 10 and 11. howie was in the room, but reid was still reid. my opinion is i can draw a line at ’12, from that point on, it’s on howie. rest, doesnt get a pass, but it’s just too muddled for me. he seems able to get things done. i like that, he got kelly, allbeit 35m bet helped. and with drafts, not sure when the ‘it takes 3 yrs’ got tossed out. and until qb situation get fixed, he can put greatest 52 man, it’s going to be uphill. but, i like howie, he manages the cap and seems to adapt. give him another couple years, he’s in bed with kelly, and both jobs are riding on foles/barkley or ’14 qb draft.

          • GEagle

            The way I interpreted it was that Lurie wasn’t just charting who made what decision, and how did those decision pan out…I believed that he was talking about even in circumstances when it wasn’t Howies final decision to make, Lurie was charting Howie’s recommendations, and he believed that Howie was consistently giving advice that ended up working out the most(whether the decision makers ignored it or not) or that over the years Howies recommendations consistently improved…Of Course Howie hasn’t been flawless…I’m sure some of the decisions or recommendations he made hasn’t panned out. I don’t see why Lurie would fire Andy Ried, but Keep a GM unless he had genuine faith in him after seeing a decent track record of decisions

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Why is it so hard to believe? If Reid had complete say over the personnel side of things, what’s so unlikely about the scenario that the talent evaluators bring their grades and profiles on recruits to Andy and he then made the decisions. This could be poor information or poor judgement on the decision maker. Could be both. Just by the way Andy has conducted himself the past few years,there was definitely a stubborn, overconfident way he did things and I would not be surprised in this played a factor in his drafting with his undersized tweener picks.

            2013 seemed to have structure. Judging by the Ertz and Barkley picks, it seems as though to brain trust builds their board and they stuck to it 100%. Might be a good thing, might not be, but I doubt you’ll be seeing any more accountability than previous, but at least a method to the madness.

            I guess the bigger question would be why Howie is still employed with us if he was a big factor in those drafts? What does Lurie gain by keeping him?

          • JofreyRice

            The huge change in the way the franchise did business. Like I said, no more lowball specials, much more aggressive in free agency. Less stockpiling of mid-round picks in the draft. You don’t remember the stories of Howie running around the training fields at Lehigh, engineering deals he’d later be excused from, in the free agency spending splurge? Or the ready, glowing quotes he offered up about guys like Danny Watkins and Jai Jarrett? No, Howie was nothing like the stooge, figurehead GM Tom Heckert was. Finding quotes from that guy was pretty rare.

            I’ve thought about your second question, and this is what I’ve come up with: I think that Lurie *believes* Roseman is the best man for the job. Does that mean that Roseman *is* the best man for the job? I hope so, but I’m skeptical for now, and I’m not sure why more people aren’t, as well. Faith that Lurie is infallible?

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            I think we’d be fighting a losing battle if we start asking for Lurie’s head.

          • JofreyRice

            I hear you. I’m not there (yet), but I’m willing to entertain the idea that he could make a mistake. To me, it seems bringing Reid back in ’12 is an easy example of one. Now, that’s not to say he’s always going to make the wrong choice–clearly, hiring Reid in the first place was a good decision.

          • Dutch

            The Eagles to a man never throw anyone under the bus. Every bad decision always falls back on Lurie who carries the weight of horrible decision like no other Owner in the NFL.

            I can’t think of one time Reid shifted the blame for something away to anyone other than himself and, like clock work Lurie was right there to pick up the pieces to carry that weight of a flawed decision.

          • Maggie

            Reid threw David Akers under the bus in a completely shameful way. I would despise him for that if nothing else.

          • Dutch

            That’s important to remember. Howie running around in the summer taking credit for personnel moves and draft picks, and later at the Lurie annual State of the Eagles press conference Lurie shifting the blame for the draft away from Howie. Roseman is suspect in identifying talent, but he’s a key figure in bottom line results. The Eagles have been to one super bowl in a otherwise successful era. In that time the value of the team has continued to increase to a point the Eagles are worth more than the New England Patriots who can celebrate 3 titles and at least 4 trips to the Super Bowl during the same period. Lurie isn’t looking to totally dismantle a ship sailing that smoothly.

          • Maggie

            2 things Mr. Rice. One, you say YOU want to know everything that happens in the front office. Really? Are you that important and special? The Eagles are first of all a business. Do you demand to know every detail of how Walmart management works? Two, you and others here have a very short memory about some draft picks. Watkins, for example, was touted as a first-round draft pick by EVERYBODY, not just the Eagles. Try to keep the facts straight, okay? Opinions are great as long as they reflect reality.

          • JofreyRice

            Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.

            I generally advocate transparency in most cases–corporations, governments, religious organizations. I’m glad you’re so interested in finding out all about me.

          • Dutch

            Howie is still employed by the Eagles because he’s a wiz with contracts and cap management. He’s been in the organization since he was an intern. Howie was schooled in the Eagles way of doing things by Banner. Banner came with Lurie when Lurie purchased the team and took his initial instructions on organization management directly from Lurie.

            Howie came on board as an intern and like a sponge absorbed the Eagles methods. He’s probably the only individual who is capable of duplicating the styles Banner made legendary and a key benefit of expanding the Eagles bottom line. Howie doesn’t know any other way to run a team and that is what he practiced under Banner and as Banner’s right hand man.

            It’s very doubtful that Reid oversaw the development and work of the personnel people, in all probability those individuals reported to Howie at some point has his duties expanded and Howie most likely prioritized the draft board.

            Religiously, after every draft it was Howie taking the press tour and taking credit for draft picks and moves. Howie every summer accepted accolades for the draft strategy during camp at Lehigh. However, when it became obvious those drafts didn’t work out and produce talent Lurie on several occasion in addressing the press on the state of the team pretty much exonerated Howie for his part in the draft and pretty much shifted the blame away from Howie.

            There is little doubt Howie has mastered the Eagles method of conducting business and managing the cap. Throughout the NFL the Eagles are recognized as one of the best cap management teams. the fact that Banner and Reid both were hired almost immediately after receiving their walking paper from a 4-12 teams speaks to what the rest of the league thinks of the Eagles method of managing personnel. Howie the last man standing proved he was bright enough to understand his mistakes in prior years and sought an entirely different approach to the two most recent drafts which just so happen to take place as the USS Reid began to take on water and eventually sink with his removal from his position in Phila.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            And just a note, I don’t want to come across as a Howie apologist, I’m mostly playing devils advocate here. I’m on the fence about him as well.

          • theycallmerob

            I feel the same way. Just trying to be objective

          • GEagle

            I also think its important to keep in mind. That just as young players improve with hard work and experience, so will young front office types. Even if Howie has been bad in the past, if he learns from his mistakes we end up with a good GM. I have no clue how good Howie is, but it’s hard for me to say that he hasn’t showed any growth after these past two drafts and this offseason…I could easily end up being Horrifically wrong, but Today I believe in most of the players drafted in the past two years. 2 more drafts like that, and we could have a very talented roster…Injuries, Charecter, work ethic, development, coaching will dictate how good out draft pics can be, but I really really like the talented kids we have been adding this far

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            I never said the draft class was unquestionably fantastic. I said the talent was significantly better than previous years. I don’t think that can be denied. Just look at the fact that 6 of the 9 players drafted started at one point lasted season. You can either attribute that to fact that they are talent players, or the fact that the draft classes before then were just that bad. Either way, it speaks more to the ’12 class than the previous ones.

            It’s easy to say that Banner/Reid’s teams were much better. I attribute that much more to the fact that we had a legitimate franchise quarterback under their tenure. It’s hands down the most important aspect of any football teams success and it has escaped the Eagles since Donnie was shipped out of town. To me, the recent downfall of the team had much more to do with Andy’s stubbornness when it came to the Michael Vick situation. If Vick didn’t have that 2010 season and we had suffered through Kolb for a dismal season or 2, one has to wonder if the team would have been in contention for some of these recent high quality rookie QB’s that are coming into the league. Andy would still be on his way out, but the Eagles wouldn’t be hung up with a QB that isn’t getting any better. And yes, I put the whole Vick situation, good and bad, entirely at the feet of Andy Reid.

          • JofreyRice

            I mean, it’s easy to say it, because it’s true. Obviously, there are a number of factors at work, but at the end of the day, it’s inescapable that Howie’s going to have to minister over a bunch of wins, both in the regular season and postseason, before he can touch what they accomplished.

            Like I said, I agree there is some promise from the ’12 draft class–I did not mean to insinuate that you were saying the class was unquestionably fantastic, more addressing a meta-argument that Howie’s supporters sometimes try and lay out.

            Measuring the effectiveness of the draft in terms of starters can be tricky, though, especially because it’s so recent. I mean, the 2011 class produced 8 guys that started for the Eagles at one point or another, with really only Kelce & Henery being guys that were of any quality. Personally, the promise of ’12 is not enough of an argument for me to have faith that Howie’s got the franchise headed in the right direction.

          • GEagle

            Adam, I think your talent argument of the past two drafts will be validated by a Quantam leap In ST quality. ST is the best measuring stick of the young talent you are drafting. before young players get to play on offense or defense, they make their bones on ST..Just look at the putrid ST play, and it’s hard to not directly correlate it to the terrible drafts prior to these past two drafts….Keeping adding Über athletes like Wolff and Boykin and our ST shuld get back to prominence in No time

          • B-West

            At what point in time are you saying that Howie took over? Reid had the hammer until last year’s draft.

          • JofreyRice

            Right, I know that’s what Lurie told everyone at the press conference. I’m aware of that. I just don’t buy it. I think it was more complicated than that. Throughout that whole period they claimed that Banner just negotiated salaries, and it’s pretty clear that he had a much larger role.

          • B-West

            You honestly believe that Roseman was calling the shots while Banner and Reid were still around? For more than last season I mean. And look at Banner’s exit compared to when Lurie says he gave the draft reigns to Howie. You think Banner liked that? He was gone within a month. That adds up to me. Idk why the incredible distrust of Lurie. I’m not saying to make a habit of trusting billionaire strangers, I just don’t see what he stood to gain by backing Howie. Howie was the easiest guy to cut.

          • JofreyRice

            I think he saw a lot of promise in Howie, and appreciated the many talents that he brings to the table. I’m sure he’s a fantastic employee that has a lot of abilities. I’m just skeptical that he’s the right guy to be the GM. Like I said in the original post, I think Lurie also was excited by a fresh approach–more aggressive than what the franchise had been doing–the now somewhat cliche “wunderkind”, outsider GM.

            And yes, I think he had a very strong voice in the room, during the drafts and free agent acquisitions of ’10 & ’11. That seems a much more reasonable scenario than the titled GM of an organization sitting around like a wallflower for 2 full years.

          • B-West

            That’s your opinion, and of course that’s fine. But my opinion is that its a mistake to judge him for much before the 2012 draft. There were too many entrenched power brokers to bow down to the young upstart GM.

            That’s probably what helped Roseman get the job in the first place. The Birds had so much stability with Reid and Banner (at the time), they were able to take a shot on a guy like Roseman.

            I believe it was great pick up by Lurie.

          • JofreyRice

            Fair enough, I’ll freely admit I’m doing a lot of reading between the lines here. I don’t endorse this as anything other than my opinion. However, the whole point of this blog post is that the power structure of the Eagles FO is still somewhat inscrutable, I think they like it that way. It offers some form of protection because it hinders objective evaluation–we’re left to either accept or reject Lurie’s “voluminous notes” narrative.

            I don’t find it that hard to believe that Roseman would have a strong voice in the room. There are plenty of young GMs across all major sports enjoying championship-level success by displacing the “establishment” types, that have a more traditional way of doing things.

          • Jack Waggoner

            From all accounts, Kelly wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Roseman’s persistence. I don’t think Kelly would be here if he didn’t think Roseman was a good guy to work with.

          • JofreyRice

            Roseman may be a great guy to work with. I don’t know. I’m not trying to assassinate his character, I’m trying to critique his performance as GM.

            I personally believe a multitude of factors went into Kelly’s decision to jump to the pros, including salary, team atmosphere, the franchise’s persistence, personal desire for competition, and the NCAA sanctions at Oregon. The complexity of how that all played out probably contributed to his early refusal of Roseman.

          • B-West

            You speak as though the fan base and media have a right to an unobstructed view of the inner workings of their business.

          • JofreyRice

            I think it’s a reasonable expectation to have the final decision maker clearly identified. That’s called transparency. I value it. It’s fine if you don’t.

          • B-West

            Chip would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. He don’t give a d… what you think you are entitled to.

          • JofreyRice

            So, to summarize, we don’t need to know anything about the Eagles beyond whatever narrative is fed to us, by them. Interesting perspective.

          • B-West

            Not quite. I was discussing the fan base’s entitlement. The fan base is not entitled to know, nor is the Eagles organization required to reveal, the inner workings of how they do business.

            Of course we would like to know, and of course members of the media are digging and prodding to try to figure it out. But to use your word, no, the fans are not on a ‘NEED to know’ basis.

            The fact that the organization is not as transparent as you would like them to be is a poor reason to cast judgement.

          • JofreyRice

            Either you’re being purposefully obtuse, or just missing the point. I’m not asking for a blow by blow account of everyday minutae of running the organization, I’m asking that they clearly identify the final decision maker, instead of telling us who was responsible for what moves years after. The strange situation of them having such a nebulous Front Office group is the WHOLE POINT OF THIS ARTICLE.

            It’s really quite reasonable, and anyone trying to draw a parallel to a company like Walmart should understand that there are people in clearly defined roles in companies like that, who carry responsibility for specific decisions that affect the business. You guys really have a problem with this “entitlement” thing, what exactly do you think is appropriate for the fanbase to feel entitled to? Screaming when the big board says “MAKE SOME NOISE!!!”?

            I get it, you’d rather someone else do the thinking for you; the organization, Chip Kelly, whomever. I find it a little creepy, but hey, to each his own.

          • B-West

            Nice word, Jofrey… I like to analyze and break down what the Eagles are doing, and think up ways I would do stuff in my own little GM fantasies as well. But what you and I think doesn’t matter. That’s why we don’t get all the information, including who has final say on personnel matters.

            There is a large difference between wanting others to think for me and knowing that I am one of a million fans with an opinion of which the Eagle’s brass has no real interest. When they hire me on as assistant GM, predecessor to The Great GM (Howie, soon to be), that’s when they’ll let me know who makes the final decision on my input. I’ll be sure to not bring you in the loop.

            The notion that you have implied, that the Eagles are hiding behind this gray area of a power structure so that the fans cannot hold them accountable, is ridiculous. Do we get to vote on whether the GM and coach keep their jobs every year? How have I been missing that? They are held accountable by Lurie, and I’m quite certain he is aware of who has final say.

            Furthermore, not trusting Lurie at his word for keeping Howie around is a strange stance to take. So, Lurie’s organization has taken a turn for the worse, he decides to clean house. Everyone’s recent track record is terrible, but eh, he decides to keep Howie around anyway. Maybe Howie even has dicey pictures of Lurie. Right… Come on, man! He was a lone bright spot, and he was kept on.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            I’d say the more important difference beween Wal-mart and the Eagles is the fact that Wal-Mart is publicly traded, and are held accountable by their shareholders, whereas the Eagles are owned by Lurie and answer to him alone (for the most part, besides what the league governs). Until that changes, we as fans are entitled to very little by the Eagles organization, unfortunately. I’m in no way saying that’s right, but it’s the sad truth.

            Really the only power the fans have as a collective is to stop showing up for games. Although the ticket revenue is a small sliver in the grand scheme, blackouts are the teams biggest fear. TV revenue is by far and away the biggest source of income.

          • GEagle

            You think Transparancy in THIS over reacting media market is a good idea?
            ..
            Your fan desires should not factor into this debate. heck, I want to know everything, I want to sit in the draft room, doesn’t mean I am entitled to it…As long as Lurie’s evaluations are correct, and he is basing his decisions on Correct evaluations…that’s all we can hope for

      • HowieDon’tKnow

        You may be right about the dynamics but I share your pessimism about the dim prospects for success. I know Birds fans don’t like this viewpoint, but organizationally we are really more like the Cowgirls and the Skins than we are like the G-men, Packers, Ravens and Patriots who have hired smart football men who are accountable for their decisions.

        • GEagle

          Yeah, cause Tom gamble is some nerdy lawyer who has never played the game, and chip has never had success as an organization builder…say what you want about hOwie, but he made the past two drafts his BITCH! And I think he was masterful in this years free agency landing a combo of Talent, Charecter, at contracts that we hold all THE POWER and guys basically have no choice but to by into chip…The most crucial and TELLING offseason will be next summer. after Chip has gotten to know the Charecter and priorities of his players..Which talented players get Jettisoned? What does he really think about Foles and Barkley when he will encounter an intruiging QB heavy draft? How does he feel about Big Name free agents? Will the Hoarder of TEs go after stars like Jimmy Graham or will he stick to building our stars in house, and adding surrounding pieces through free agency?

          So much still to learn about Chip Kelly’s NFL reign. It will be a while before we can start figuring out his tendencies at this level

          • HowieDon’tKnow

            Let’s hope Chip works out. He actually did not have a long run at Oregon and was at a 1-AA school before that. I know the Birds were following the 49ers and Seahawk trends of hiring successful coaches but Chip lacks the pedigree of either Harbaugh or Carroll. Without a great organization, I wonder how he will do given the experience that Spurrier (a much more successful college coach) had with the skins when they had a poor FO. My point is that the Eagles are off on their own trail and it is not the same one that franchises winning Super Bowls follow and it is all being done in a way to make it difficult to ascribe particular decisions to particular people.

    • Wilbert M.

      I don’t understand your logic in saying the bad picks suggest others were involved. I think it’s more indicative that Andy made those picks. The Andy stubbornness is obvious – tweeners that don’t fit the defense? Sure – Gocong didn’t work out so let’s pick Te’o Nesheim. Who’s smarter than anyone else? Andy is – so let’s waste a 3rd rounder on an RB converted to CB (Marsh). Watkins and Jarrett? Both have Andy stink on them since they were both stretches who were going to show everyone how smart Andy is. Let’s show everybody how smart we are by not taking the obvious pick (Earl Thomas) and taking Graham. I think it’s easier to conclude that Andy was the genius behind those picks rather than Howie, who was still making his bones.

    • B-West

      I find it hard to believe that Howie’s role was that significant with heavy hitting veterans like Reid and Banner around. And again, why would Lurie lie to the fans about Howie’s evaluation skills? What does he have to gain by backing a young GM? I don’t buy the cheap GM argument. Look at what Lurie used to pay Reid and his staff, and look at Chip’s paycheck and the sheer size of his staff.

    • Damien

      Since Howie has had full control we’ve gotten, Cox, Kendrichs, Curry, Foles, Boykin, Brown, Polk, D Johnson, L Johnson, Ertz, etc. That’s really good.

      • HowieDon’tKnow

        I think your standards are a little low and your facts are a little off. Cox, Kendricks and Boykin are okay. The other guys are mostly dogs with fleas notably Curry who barely played unlike the very next player taken in the draft who played OT for every game including the SB for the Ravens. I like Foles and he may work out. Two of the guys on your list have never played a down in the NFL. We do know that “LJohnson” did not make first team in his own conference and was picked mainly for his performance at the combine. Meanwhile, not a single player from the most dominant conference in college football (the SEC) had been picked and the Eagles could have had first choice from that conference. Now that is not a good sign from a decision-making perspective.

        • Capt. Undapants

          Well… There’s Benny Logan.
          He played at LSU. That’s in the SEC. But just because you are picked
          from the dominant conference doesn’t mean that much. See, for example, Tim Tebow and Glenn Dorsey.
          I’d throw out some more but typing this while at work is proving pretty
          difficult.

  • Johnny Domino

    I know it is off topic, but with training camp tix available today, what will be the cost of these “free” tickets? With Ticketmaster involved I am sure there will be a “convenience charge”. Anybody?

    • Brian

      100% Free.

  • Damien

    It’s probably where Howie has main say over draft, FAs, and inseason signings, while Kelly helps direct Howie in the right direction. Kelly makes all gameday decisions and cut/keep football decisions. Don is probably all business.

    • cliff henny

      think that’s reasonable. the question is, is howie qualified for his part in equation? for me, it’s still up in air, he manages a nice cap, and last 2 drafts were better, but still need some time before we can call even ’12′s a huge success. brought in donahue and gamble, have to commend him there. kelly gets benefit of doubt for now. don s, that’s lurie’s money, he doesnt matter much to me in grand scheme.

  • Jack Waggoner

    Some people act like a collaborative environment is so foreign to them. Which is weird in a business dedicated to a sport that emphasizes teamwork above individual egos.

    If Roseman and Kelly can’t work together, how can you expect 50+ players on the roster to do so? It shouldn’t be that hard. They probably meet for a few minutes every day, more if needed, and work out what they need from each other.

    Ultimately Lurie has final say, but if it comes down to that too often there is a problem.

    • Richard Colton

      Do you think that’s true? That Lurie has the final say? I’d be willing to agree that’s the case with non-football decisions. Talent evaluation, free agency, and the draft I want to believe he’s smart enough to cede to the experts.

      I know that the case people will point to is Mike Vick. For me that was a non-football decision. Since the deal was for minimal $$$ and no draft picks, the only risk assumed by the move was from a public relations standpoint.

      • Jack Waggoner

        Lurie always has the final say. But he doesn’t want to make football decisions, he wants his people to work that out among themselves.

        And I think everyone knows what their role is. It’s not that overlapping, and the idea is that once Kelly and Roseman work together for a time, they are all on the same page and that Roseman will work to obtain the type of players that Kelly needs to be able to do what he wants to do.

      • Maggie

        The whole Mike Vick thing was orchestrated by the Commissioner’s office and Tony Dungey. How quickly you forget. The Eagles management was willing to go along for a couple of reasons. They wanted to be seen as giving someone a second chance and they wanted the possibility of getting a talented quarterback. None of the people involved would have given an offensive lineman even a first glance.

        • Richard Colton

          not that your point was in anyway germane to what I was talking about, but I’ll disagree anyway. Mike Vick wasn’t forced on the Eagles. Someone on the Eagles made that decision. In most cases, the decision to sign or draft a player has been Andy’s or Howie’s. With MV – Lurie made the final call.

  • Jack Waggoner

    Roseman has a lot of strong points, as negotiator, organizer, cap expert, legal expert, financial expert, salesman… but hopefully he will defer more to Tom Gamble on issues of talent evaluation.

    • GEagle

      Well, I heard it explained as a streamline, funnel system implemented in our front office. my understanding is that even if Howie is making Final decisions, he is only choosing from a handful of players that Gamble is recommending, narrowing down the potential player pool for Howie. So whoever Howie decides on, I expect Gamble to have already signed off on that player, or that players profile would have never landed on Howies desk

  • Max Lightfoot

    I’m just glad Reid is gone. I’ve had enough press-conference harrumphing to last a lifetime. If I want more grunting, snorting and throat clearing sounds I can hop a plane to San Francisco and watch the sea lions on Pier 39.

  • EricT

    I must honestly say, I don’t care who has control. What does it really matter to the fans? All I care about is the final product, not how it’s manufactured. Just win, baby!

  • JofreyRice

    Well, yeah, if you assume that everything is going to work out, I agree, it’s not really necessary to pin down who did what–I don’t think that’d be a problem though, having to pin someone down to give them kudos is kind of rare. Remember the quote “victory has a thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan”?

    What if Lane Johnson & Ertz both struggle to see the field? We know the odds of Kenny Phillips contributing are kind of low, but what if the Chung stinks and the secondary is a wreck again? Isn’t it kind of important to figure out who was the final decision maker in those instances? Being able to be critiqued, and standing by your track record is part of stewardship of a franchise, IMO.

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    Accountability is key.

  • Jack Waggoner

    Let me put it this way: collaborative organization does not mean that each person is equally responsible for everything that happens. If a draft pick is a failure, it may be difficult for us as fans to know whether it was just a bad draft pick or if he was not properly coached or properly used, or perhaps both, but within the organization these things are known.

  • JofreyRice

    Right, but outside the organization, objective evaluation is impossible, because the final decision maker is unclear. That was the point of this blog post, no?

    Which really good NFL organizations you can think of don’t have a strong, central GM, clearly in command, publicly and privately? What’s the success rate for collaborative, opaque front offices, where no one really knows who is ultimately responsible for what, when? I’m honestly asking, I can’t think of one.

    EDIT: I can think of one. By all accounts, Seattle’s front office, and the huge roster overhaul was conducted through a very good working relationship between Carroll & Schneider. Maybe there are more…

  • Jack Waggoner

    Let’s see… I would argue that the Giants, Saints, Falcons, and 49ers and Seahawks are something like that.

  • JofreyRice

    Seahawks I can agree with, though my own personal and unverifiable opinion is that I think Pete Carroll is much more involved in acquiring defensive players, and Schneider takes care of getting players to run the offense Carroll wants to run.

    Jerry Reese runs the Giants.

    Dimitroff has run the Falcons–hitting on Matt Ryan and then making the deal for Julio Jones deal are his signature moments.

    49ers…I can’t agree. I know Baalke is highly, highly regarded, as a personnel man with an extensive scouting background, and had the elite defensive talent largely in place, which allowed Harbaugh to come in and have success retooling an offense that was also largely in place (the linemen, Gore, Smith). The 9ers didn’t have anything that remotely resembled the rebuild/overhaul that the Seahawks did. To me, their turnaround was about an incredible upgrade in coaching, due to Harbaugh.

    That’s not to say that the above organizations are dictatorships–obviously Jerry Reese is not grinding tape for a backup linemen from Idaho Culinary College. All of the efforts of these front offices are collaborative efforts to some degree or another, but none of them are nearly as cryptic as who holds final say for the Eagles.

  • GEagle

    And no one has pounded the table for accountability more than I have. You can have teamwork, and still have accountability. fans just need to forget all this, because we as fans will NEVER, and I repeat NEVER know who is accountable for what, and like Jack pointed out, people inside the organization know who is accountable for what mistake, and why something didn’t fail…

    but all these fans petrified of Howie having power drive me nuts. as if Howie is going to stick Chip with a player that Chip doesn’t want….my belief is if Gamble hasn’t alady signed off on a player, his player profile never even lands on Howie’s desk for Howie to consider. I believe Howie is simply making decisions based on a small group of players that Gamble has already signed off on after collecting all the data from our scouts…

  • Jack Waggoner

    Perhaps. I think, though, that in these situations there is a lot of collaboration. Someone might have the final say, but there might be two or several guys in the room who have substantial input into these decisions. And the general idea is that they strive to all be on the same page.

    So maybe Baalke has the final say if 4 guys in the room can’t come to a consensus, but the whole point is that they are all working in the same direction and almost always should come to a consensus before it comes to that.

    And with the Eagles, I think Roseman had that final say in the draft room. But those decisions were a result of weeks of meetings and consensus building.

  • GEagle

    Guys like Baalk, Howie, Ozzie Newsome. they don’t sit there and evaluate every available player themselves. Even the great Ozzie Newsome is only as good as the guys working underneath him..I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that Gamble might be as important as Howie, if not more. I say this because Gamble I believe will be the one collecting all the data from our scouts, and significantly narrow down the options for Howie. So it’s crucial that Gamble not allow great players to slip through the cracks and never make it to Howies Desk, just as important as it is to not send a future bust to Howies desk…If Gamble narrows a decision down to 5 payers, and they all end up being BALLERS, then How can Howie really even fail?..In a perfect world, Gamble is so good at his job that Howie is always just choosing from a group of Studs

    say what we want about how great Baalke is and I won’t take anything away from the man..but the niners ended up drafting a lot of kids from schools that were assigned to Tom Gamble. I’m sure Baalke didn’t visit stanford or Oregon half the time that Gamble did. So Gamble had to be doing something right and both had a major role in assembling one of the top 2(Seatle) most talented rosters in the NFL