Roseman Doesn’t See Massive Overhaul Coming For Eagles RosterBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Thursday, February 21st, 2013
Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman spoke to Ruben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, and made it clear that he doesn’t think his roster needs a serious overhaul in order to be successful.
“You’re still a 4-12 team, so you’re talking about a situation where we want to compete every year and have a chance to be in the tournament and that gives you a chance to win a Super Bowl, and for us, that means make sure we have the best possible team around the schemes that we’re putting together,” Roseman said.
“Because we are changing our scheme and changing our coaching staff, there’s going to be change. There’s natural change even when you keep your coaching staff together, so there’s naturally going to be change, but there are players in place here that we think can be here for the foreseeable future.”
Roseman’s idea of a culture change is good in theory, but I believe he’s making a serious mistake by not blowing up this roster. A new coaching staff is a good start towards a culture change, but replacing the rotten apples in the locker room is just as important.
Over the last two years, the Eagles’ room has become infected by a group of players who have a world of talent, but that also have a losing mentality about them.
Think about the culture change that this team went through from the end of the 2008 season through the beginning of 2011.
After the 2008 season, the Eagles lost Brian Dawkins, the heart and soul of the team’s defense, a face of the franchise, and a guy who commanded respect and brought the best out of his teammates throughout his career in Philadelphia. The team also lost another pair of highly respected veterans when offensive lineman Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas were shown the door in that same offseason.
A year later, the Eagles said goodbye to Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Sheldon Brown, and Jeremiah Trotter. Four more players who had been centerpieces of Andy Reid’s success were no more, leaving the Eagles with almost no remaining links to their teams in the early 2000′s that dominated the NFC East, went to five NFC Championship games, and to the 2004-05 Super Bowl.
From 2000 to 2009, the Eagles had one of the most stable, positive locker room cultures in the league. Guys like McNabb, Westbrook, Dawkins, Runyan, Thomas, Trotter, Brown, Hugh Douglas, Troy Vincent, and Bobby Taylor had played together throughout their entire careers. They were a close-knit group that more or less entered the league together, and worked hard to build their teams into the successful units that they were. These guys played for each other, and they understood what it took to win in Philadelphia.
Now let’s fast forward to the start of the 2011 season, and examine the type of culture change that had taken place.
From the start of that ill-fated season and until now, the Eagles have been in the hands of a bunch of players that love to talk big, but have accomplished absolutely nothing on the field. The backbone of the roster that has been in Philadelphia the last two seasons has constructed primarily through free agency, as the Eagles front office went on a free-agency spending spree, paying top dollar to get guys like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Ronnie Brown, Steve Smith, Vince Young, or any player with a big name.
The veteran mercenaries joined forces with guys like Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as a handful of disappointing draft picks like Nate Allen, Brandon Graham, Danny Watkins, and Jaiquawn Jarrett, and the result is a locker room that is anything but close-knit.
A culture that was once stable and successful has now become toxic. You have Michael Vick running around telling everyone that would listen that this team would be the start of a dynasty. You have DeSean Jackson sulking about his contract while putting forth half-hearted effort on the field. Instead of nasty, powerful offensive lineman like Runyan and Thomas playing hard and toughing out injuries, you have Demetress Bell being paid like an elite left tackle and sitting on the bench, and Danny Watkins a former first-round pick who couldn’t take criticism and doesn’t like football.
Remember what great leadership was provided by Brian Dawkins, Jeremiah Trotter, Troy Vincent, and Sheldon Brown on the defensive side of the ball? Nowadays you have Nnamdi Asomugha leading by example by blowing coverages and pointing fingers at his safeties, and eating lunch by himself in his car away from his teammates during the week at practice. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie allows himself to mentally check out of games every other week, and we have a safety (Nate Allen) that is afraid to play aggressive and hit anyone. And let’s not forget the ultimate me-first guy, Jason Babin, who only cared about his sack numbers. Talk about a change in culture.
Culture changes start with a coaching staff, but if the big personalities from the previous roster remain in place, how can a true culture change take place? If ever a team needed to be blown up, it’s this group of Eagles.
Howie Roseman is out of touch with reality if he really believes that a new coaching staff is all that it’s going to take to turn this team’s fortunes around. A true culture change means eliminating the faces of the 2011 and 2012 teams, the guys who haven’t lived up to their contracts, the guys who aren’t bothered by losing, the guys who flat out quit at the first sign of trouble.
“We have a lot of core players who are here and under contract that the dynamic with them will change because they’re used in a different way, they talk to different coaches, so I think when you’re around the building and around the coaching staff, you see that it’s different,” Roseman said.
“Obviously, we had a tremendous amount of success with coach Reid and a tremendous amount of respect for coach Reid and his coaching staff, but when you do bring in a new coaching staff, it is a culture change.”
After following a disappointing 8-8 season with a wretched 4-12 campaign, does Roseman really believe that a new coaching staff will change the attitudes of these guys? You can’t teach new tricks to old dogs. By clinging on to the idea that this roster still has lots of untapped potential, the Eagles are only stunting their progress.
This roster has had more than a fair shot, and this should be the year that the Eagles cut their losses and turn the page. Changing the coaching staff is a good start, but by letting a good portion of the roster remain intact, if the goal is a culture change then this is a job that’s only half-done.
Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at email@example.com
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