After suffering a 17-9 defeat during the Wild Card round at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, fans and media personnel mourned the end of a season that had its ups and downs but saw the Eagles peak at the perfect time.

As many reminisced on the season that could have been, however, Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson began preparation for the upcoming season.

Roseman acknowledged the elephant in the room during the end of the season press conference stating:

“We stand up here with a range of emotions, I think the first emotion is disappointment. Disappointment that we’re not practicing this week for the Green Bay Packers and disappointment that we did not achieve our goals that we set out when we started training camp. And I think when you have a disappointing season, it’s not just on the players and coaches, it’s also on the front office and that starts with me and I’m sorry to our fans, they give us tremendous support.”

It was at that moment the tone was set for the off-season ahead. Roseman himself referred to the off-season’s of 2016 and 2017 were he built a legitimate contender in Philadelphia, cleaned up the mess left behind by Chip Kelly, and saw the birth of the mantra known as #HowieSZN when discussing the game plan heading into this years process.

How moves like trading up for Carson Wentz and Andre Dillard, signing players like Brandon Brooks and Rodney McLeod (’16) who required “top of the market” money, left the Eagles with limited resources in terms of draft capital and cap space which led to them missing out on players they could have interest in.

Heading into this off-season with an endless supply of cap space and draft picks, the Eagles now have the opportunity to bring some youth to a roster that was the second oldest in the league in 2019.

Immediately after seasons end in January we discussed a formula known as the “Greenprint“. A set of instructions the Eagles were to follow in order to ensure continued postseason success. Or what Doug Pederson refers to as the “New Norm”.

With us being just a few weeks from what is supposed to be the start of NFL training camps, we take a look back at the formula to see what the Eagles accomplished and how much (if any) better did they get.

1) Doug Pederson’s “Right-Hand Men”

Imagine how awkward it has been for Doug Pederson whenever he is reminded of the questionable response he gave back in January. The fact that he was asked flat out if Mike Groh and Carson Walsh would be returning to their respective positions last year and he responded with a resounding yes, only to see them fired 24 hours later, certainly isn’t ideal. What is even less ideal, depending on who you ask, is the fact that Philadelphia went on an extensive search for an offensive coordinator lasting about a month, only to announce that the position would not be filled. It has been assumed the lack of interest in the position was due to Doug Pederson being against the idea of relinquishing play-calling duties.

Whatever the case may be, the Eagles opted to fill the role with a multitude of options that include the promotion of sorts for Press Taylor (Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterback Coach) and bringing in a few new faces in Aaron Moorehead, Andrew Breiner and Rich Scangarello.

It’s hard to say Philadelphia failed to get Doug Pederson a “right-hand man”. You could actually make the argument that they gave him enough men to fill each finger on his right hand. Despite not naming an official offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson’s ideology isn’t out of this world. Actually, there are two other teams in the league that currently don’t have an offensive coordinator in place. The first being the Arizona Cardinals and the other being the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers. However, even without an offensive coordinator each of these teams have prominent personnel members along with the coaching staff that help serve a prominent role in the construction of the offense; such as Mike LaFleur (passing game coordinator) and Mike McDaniel (running game coordinator) in San Francisco.

When asked about this decision, Pederson reemphasized his role as the play-caller of the offense, while giving each coaching staff member a vote of confidence when he spoke with Eagles insider Dave Spadaro.

Grade: B

2) Best Friends Forever?

Photo: IG/JalenReagor

The Philadelphia Eagles had a wide receiver problem.

If you look at the names along with the group and their accolades up until this point you would have thought the Eagles had a solid core.

  • Alshon Jeffery: Key free agency acquisition of the 2017 season. WR1 during the Super Bowl run in his first season in Philadelphia in a season that includes his 219 receiving yards and three touchdowns during the postseason run. The man who has caught the 5th most red-zone touchdowns (17) in the league since becoming an Eagle.
  • DeSean Jackson: Eagles great, 2nd round pick in 2008, the NFL’s active leader in yard per reception (17.4), ranks second behind Jerry Rice (36) with 31 career 50+ yard touchdowns.
  • Nelson Agholor: 1st round pick in 2015, high quality 2017 season when performing from the slot which happened to be the same role he was expected to play in 2019.
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 2nd round pick in 2019, highly touted due to his success when high pointing a football, immediately dubbed Alshon Jeffery’s successor.

See talent wasn’t the question with this group as there was plenty of it. The problem was that age for all, injuries for plenty, and experience for a few essentially ruined the season before it could even dream of reaching its peak. Many may blame Howie Roseman for the lack of depth at the position which led to practice squad players having to fill roles no one saw coming during the start of the season. However many thought Howie Roseman was going down the right path, after all just remember the aforementioned hype surround the team last year and even in 2018.

It makes you wonder has there ever been an Eagles off-season since he has returned was Howie Roseman hasn’t addressed each of the needs surrounding the roster, to the point that you didn’t think the Eagles were a legitimate contender?

While there are a few people who can arguably against this, it’s hard to question the amount of hype surrounding each Eagles roster dating back to 2017.

With that being said, it should be known Howie Roseman has always known the issues in regard to the construction of a roster. The issue this season wide receiver, the answer Jalen Reagor. While many including Roseman had hoped Arcega-Whiteside showed some type of promise this past season, that wasn’t the case. This isn’t to say that Arcega-Whiteside is the bust that some proclaim him to be, but his performance (or lack thereof) still left Philadelphia with massive a hole at the position. Insert the TCU product who could certainly be considered an upgrade over Arcega-Whiteside when you take into account that his skill set fits towards quarterback Carson Wentz’s attributes.

Which brings us to a grade, again it’s hard to say Philadelphia failed when not only did they add a youthful piece that not only adds their weaponry but give Carson Wentz a playmaker to grow with for the foreseeable future. The Eagles also added pieces of depth that can minimize the loss of production in case of an injury.

Grade: A-

3) Avengers Assemble

As we mentioned in our initial piece, the wide receiver was far from the only hole the Eagles had to address this off-season. For starters, the cornerback play was atrocious for the vast majority of the season. Even the return of Jalen Mills who missed most of the season with an injury, couldn’t spark a unit that ranked 14th in passing yards allowed (3,865) and 19th with 241.6 passing yards allowed per game. So to address this the Eagles acquired three-time pro bowler and former all-pro Darius Slay to fill the void as the number one cornerback. Although the Eagles added one high-level talent to the secondary, they also watched one walk away via free agency in Malcolm Jenkins.

While Philadelphia has been looking for a legitimate lockdown cornerback for a little over a decade, the acquisition of Slay comes at a price. That being arguably the most decorated defensive player Philadelphia has seen since the great Brian Dawkins. The man that has played 2,420 consecutive snaps and if you need help with the math that’s two straight seasons without missing one play.

Was the loss worth it? If you’re looking at it from an experience and leadership standpoint, no it doesn’t.

There isn’t a person on the currently on the defense that can replace the loss of Malcolm Jenkins. What he meant as a voice and face of the defense speaks volumes, just think about when he pleaded with Jim Schwartz to simplify the defense for some of the younger players back in 2018.

Well, those younger players will now have to become leaders; I.E Jalen Mills. Philadelphia heads into the season with an interesting plan to replace the loss of Jenkins, just like with the coaching staff a multitude of faces will be used to fill the on-field void left. The battle between Will Park, Jalen Mills, and K’Von Wallace will certainly be interesting but it gives the Eagles an interesting conundrum to have. With Mills overseeing a position change, Wallace in his rookie season, and Parks primarily a sub-package defender it will be interesting to see how Philadelphia distributes the snaps among the three.

Grade: C+

4) Two Is Company; Three’s a Crowd

“No team has gotten more value from the quarterback positions than the Philadelphia Eagles. We talked about it, and obviously, that’s a factor. Our history is a factor, and that’s the most important position in sports. … We look at this pick as somebody who is really a tremendous player and person, and that’s what the draft is about. The draft isn’t about just doing whatever is best for a team in the short-term. The draft is about making smart, long-term decisions for your organization based on the priorities that you believe are key to winning football games. We’ve won a lot of football games around here the last three years, and I feel very confident that the decisions we make are going to serve us well for the short-term and the long-term.” – Howie Roseman

Well, Roseman certainly didn’t tell a lie when he said no team in the league has got more value out of the backup quarterback position than the Philadelphia Eagles. While many will date back to the historic run of Nick Foles, it’s worth noting that Roseman saw his start with the Eagles back in 2000 as an intern before being elevated to Director of Football in 2003. Roseman continued to work his way up through the ranks eventually being named the general manager in 2010.

The point of this being: Roseman has seen it all, from A.J. Feeley winning four games in place of Donovan McNabb in 2002 to Jeff Garcia leading the Eagles to the Divisional round in 2007, and Michael Vick’s incredible stretch in 2010, all in which led to high-level success for the franchise.

He has also saw the likes of Kevin Kolb, Mark Sanchez, and to an extent Josh McCown, who at the age of 40 give more than a valiant effort but in all, each moment essentially ruined the reason for Philadelphia. If anyone knows the importance of the backup quarterback position it’s Howie Roseman. This is the same guy who gave Chase Daniel a 3 year, $21m contract just to see him leapfrogged by Carson Wentz after the Sam Bradford deal.

With this information is it truly a surprise to see that the Eagles have inserted $21m in guaranteed money to the backup quarterback position dating back to 2016. With Foles long gone, McCown pondering retirement (again), and questions surround Nate Sudfield (who we’ll touch on in a bit), the big question was how would Philadelphia choose to address the position that has meant so much to the franchise over the past two decades? The answer? Draft a quarterback. Of course, it sounds fishy given Wentz’s injury history and the fact Philadelphia just gave him a mega-contract extension. However, when you think about it as mentioned the Eagles have invested a lot of capital in the quarterback position, QB2 in particular.

So if you could get your hands on a high-quality prospect on a rookie contract for the next four seasons, and if all goes well you’re able to flip him for what you paid/maybe even more, why wouldn’t you take the opportunity?

While this is a high risk/high reward decision the Eagles have made, its obviously the thought process behind this was calculated long before April’s draft. Philadelphia has one legitimate year to attempt to mold Jalen Hurts into a high-end QB2, with Nate Sudfield (who was supposed to fill the role last season until an injury ruined those plans) making his intentions to go compete for a starting job elsewhere known this off-season. It’s hard to give the Eagles a grade for this because of the boom or bust potential of the selection.

Either way, you have to give Howie Roseman credit for looking ahead in the future; as important as the backup quarterback position has shown to be in Philadelphia, having to address the position on a yearly basis certainly has to hamper the team’s ability to specifically allocate funds and address other positions.

While this may not have been the move Carson Wentz had in mind for Philadelphia with the 53 pick of the NFL Draft, however, Howie Roseman made a promise to Wentz saying:

“We will as many players around you as possible that fit your skill set.”

The selection of Hurts allows Roseman to keep that promise, not just this year but for the foreseeable future.

At the same time as a general manager, Roseman always has to think ahead.

“This is my thought process: I’ve got to do everything I can to make sure Carson Wentz is standing on that podium, holding that trophy. And it’s funny when I say that, I see it, man. I see it. I see him doing that. I really do. And I really believe that’s going to happen. But I’ve also got to make sure that this organization is protected, that our fans are protected, that his teammates are protected.” – Howie Roseman

Grade: B

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