Behind the Scenes With Tom Gamble

The Eagles, you may have heard, have taken a hit at the wide receiver position. Jeremy Maclin is done for the season with a torn ACL. Arrelious Benn has been dealing with a knee injury for almost all of camp so far. And, well, Riley Cooper (though his roster spot is safe for now, per Chip Kelly).

What is going on behind the scenes in the personnel department as they scan the league for potential help? New Vice President Of Personnel Tom Gamble gave us a little peek:

“We went through [a list of available guys] [Wednesday], and ran a list of guys with eight or more games, and some guys recommended,” said Gamble. “We went through a whole bunch of lists; got boards up. You’re checking medical, you’re checking background, you’re doing your tape work, you’re making sure multiple people have seen guys. You kind of have that, you see what’s here, and we’re ready to go.

“Most of the guys that are out there have played at a high level, usually there’s a problem, an issue, a medical, something out there that you have to kind of work through. And maybe right now before you’ve played a game it may not be time to throw another guy into the mix or kind of suppress somebody else. It’s time to let those guys step up, and there will be time to pick up some guys and talk to some other clubs. That’s constantly ongoing in this thing, constantly evolving, constantly taking phone calls, talking to people.”

Gamble explained that members of the personnel staff are assigned different teams around the NFL to monitor during the preseason so that all 31 are covered. Gamble is in charge of the Niners, obviously, seeing as he served as one of their architects over the previous eight seasons. And he is in charge of a couple other clubs as well.

“I’ll know those teams. I’ll be an expert on those teams. So, whether it’s a trade or a cut down conversation, there are teams that I’ll know in and out. Well other guys have the same responsibility and then we’ll kind of compile as we go. You’re going through sports scans every day, kind of keeping up with injuries and who looks good and those type of things.”

They’ll use every resource available, including write-ups online and in the newspaper, to help guide them towards the good players.

Chip Kelly, as we know, is big on size. He has specific measurables in mind that serve as a guideline for talent evaluators. According to Gamble, though, Kelly is more focused on intangibles at the moment.

“Here, (measurables) are something that we talk about but, let’s see how it goes and how these guys fit,” said Gamble. “I think the character part of it, the work habits, the work ethic, how the guys are wired…We talk about it all the time: ‘If I have to impose a lot of rules and sanctions, I’m bringing the wrong guys to this team. We’re here, we work, we go about our business, we go about things the right way, I don’t have to police because we’re bringing the right guys in the building.’

“Going forward on who you acquire, that’s something that he wants to do and doesn’t want to bend on. Does that change? It might, but I think right now that’s kind of his staple and what he’s thinking. He wants solid people that work and give you everything they’ve got. It’s too hard of a business to constantly put out fires and deal with issues every day.”

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