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.


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.


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.


Oh, we’ll think of something.