The owners meetings officially get underway this morning but by Sunday the plush Ritz-Carlton, nestled next to a golf course on a picturesque plot of warm Orlando soil, was buzzing with league executives and coaches. There’s some business to attend to between now and when the meetings close on Wednesday afternoon but it’s very much a social scene — team brass rubbing with team brass over long dinners, a late-night cocktail or a quick nine. Not a bad setting if you wanted to, say, casually discuss a certain 27-year-old Pro Bowl receiver while smoking a cigar fountain-side.
The Eagles contingent has kept a low profile thus far. Howie Roseman passed by in a blur on the couple occasions he was spotted in the lobby. If most of his colleagues were walking at 2, he was at a 6. (Last year at these meetings was the most relaxed I have ever seen the general manager. Something tells me this year is going to be a bit different.) Jeffrey Lurie emerged from the welcome reception with Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, then quickly disappeared out of sight. We didn’t see Chip Kelly at all.
Sometime this week, though, all three are expected to address the media. We may hear from Roseman and Lurie as early as today. Kelly is slated to speak with reporters for an hour on Wednesday morning at the NFC Head Coaches Breakfast.
Curious to see how they handle the barrage of DeSean Jackson-related questions. Their preference would surely be to lay low until this situation reached a conclusion. No such luck. Do do they acknowledge that they plan to move on without the wideout, and begin stating their case as to why? That wouldn’t be too good for leverage (however much they have left). Do they stiff arm the media on the subject? Not sure that’s the play either.
Kelly’s session will be particularly interesting. While there are other topics to cover, Jackson is the story and there will be a push to get something of substance out of the head coach, who obviously has helped chart this course. If there is resistance, it could make for a very awkward 60 minutes.
One way or an other, the Eagles will be talking – both to the media and other teams. We’ll let you know what comes of it.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Owner Woody Johnson openly admits that the Jets have interest in Jackson.
Michael Vick on the potential of Jackson joining him in New York.
The wide receiver is convinced that he is on his way out of Philadelphia.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jimmy Kempski looks at some recent wide receiver trades, and finds that return compensation is all over the map.
While one person might point to the Harvin trade as an optimistic measure of what the Eagles should receive in return, another person can just as easily point to the Steelers trading Santonio Holmes for a 5th round pick the offseason after he finished 7th in the NFL with 1248 yards on 79 receptions.
Dan Graziano offers his thoughts on how the Eagles might approach the draft.
Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock has the Eagles taking Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. Todd McShay’s has them taking Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby. The Eagles have had revolving doors at those position in recent years, and the opportunity to find a long-term solution — especially at safety, where they’ve struggled for any kind of consistency since the Brian Dawkins days — will have to be tempting.
But I keep thinking back to Chip Kelly’s “bigger people beat up little people” line from last year’s NFL owners meetings, and in general I believe that a strong defensive front (specifically a pass rush) helps out the secondary more than a strong secondary helps out the front. So I wonder if it would be temping also to get strong up front, especially in a draft deep in cornerbacks and safeties. Could the Eagles take a pass-rusher like Missouri’s Kony Ealy or a defensive lineman like Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt or Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman and then address the secondary in the second and/or third rounds? I don’t think it’s a crazy idea.
Owners meetings officially begin.