Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We haven’t had really an opportunity for me to talk to you guys during the season really since roster cuts. This has been a disappointing, embarrassing, frustrating season. Obviously, what we’ve done here, when you win four games, that’s on all of us. That’s on me. We have really good people here. We have to figure out how to fix this and get this back on the right path.
Q. There’s been a lot of speculation about QB Carson Wentz. I realize it’s one day into the off-season, but will you be open to trade offers for him going forward and how are you approaching the quarterback position right now after watching QB Jalen Hurts for four games? (Paul Domowitch)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think one, with every position on this team, it’s so fresh right now. It’s so raw. Incredibly disappointing, even when we thought of how the season would go, I can’t tell you there’s any situation where we felt like we would be where we are today sitting here. We have to come back and look at it with fresh eyes. We are going to spend the week evaluating our players, with our coaches, with our personnel staff, with our front office. We do that in every level, like we talk to the trainer about how they are interacting, our strength coaches, our performance coaches, our PR, security, everywhere, and we just have to do a deep dive on every position.
In terms of Carson, I don’t think it’s a secret that we moved up for him because of what we thought about him as a person, as a player. We gave him that extension because of the same things. And so, when you have players like that, they are like fingers on your hand. You can’t even imagine that they are not part of you; that they are not here. That’s how we feel about Carson.
Q. How would you evaluate the young talent on the roster, say, under 26, under 27, as a whole? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t know if that age group, 26 or 27, you picked that for a certain reason. I’m not trying to be funny — I just don’t know if there are certain reasons, 26 or 27, but I feel like we did whatever we had to do to try to win a championship in 2017 and when I look at the rosters in 2017, 2018 and 2019, I think objectively those are really good rosters. Obviously 2017 had a lot of success. 2018, 15 yards from the Championship Game, and I know when Joe [former Eagles vice president of player personnel and current Jets general manager Joe Douglas] left to become the GM of the Jets, he even felt like our roster last year was as good as those two rosters, maybe even better.
But clearly, we are not the same roster right now. We have spent a lot of time here in the last couple weeks when the season wasn’t going the right way about studying teams like ours that maybe have had some success, maybe even won a Super Bowl and then had a down year and what happened and even other sports. A lot of times, as much as we didn’t want to do it in the off-season, I think that we have got to look objectively at it and we did do it, is you hang on to those teams.
We have this off-season plan, and I think it was a good plan, and I think we pivoted a little bit because of the pandemic, not that that’s an excuse because it’s not. But I think we pivoted a little bit and we kind of knew in our gut last year sitting here that it was the right thing to do to turn over the team and get more picks and get more young players. I don’t think we went full-fledged in that, and that’s my responsibility.
Q. How would you evaluate the job you did putting this roster together and why should fans feel confident that you’re the right guy to get this fixed? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, we are a 4-11-1 roster, so I mean, you are what your record says you are.
The three years before, we had won 35 games. We have a lot of players who are on this team, some of them older, that are drafted by our organization, drafted by the people in this building that are going to end up going to the Eagles Hall of Fame.
That doesn’t mean we haven’t missed on some picks. I would just say if there’s a guy that’s playing really well that we were looking at in the draft or decide to go in a different direction, those things hurt. Those things are punches to your gut. I think we have exceptional people in this building.
I know sometimes, and it’s my responsibility to sit up here, but we are a group. We have a really good staff. We have really good people in this building and people that we spend a lot of time trying to recruit to come to Philadelphia and help us, the last two GMs hired in the National Football League were from this organization which I think says a lot about this organization. And we have built winning teams before, and that’s our job to continue to do that and that’s what we’ll do here.
Q. You haven’t ruled out trading Carson Wentz, is that what you said? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: That is not anything we are talking about right now. We are talking about a guy that’s immensely talented, has a great work ethic and doing whatever we can to put him in the best possible situation to be successful.
Q. But you said in April after drafting Jalen Hurts that it was part of your team’s DNA and the quarterback factory you said you wanted to be, then you dismissed the notion that it could affect your franchise quarterback. How do you see it now and if it had nothing to do with Wentz’s performance, why did he have one of the greatest regressions in NFL history? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Of some of the things that I’ve done this season, I certainly regret that comment about quarterback factory. Really it was just in terms of how — the importance of the position around the league, the importance of the position to this organization and really a reflection of our experiences with backup quarterbacks when we did that.
I think Carson, anyone who knows Carson, knows how strong of a person he is and knows how much he believes in his own abilities. In terms of why we didn’t have a good season, it’s not just on one player, and I think that when you look at it, the team as a whole didn’t perform up to expectations. The moves that we made didn’t perform up to expectations, and to put it on Carson isn’t fair.
Q. Staying with that theme, how do you look at the decision to draft Jalen Hurts now given the way that this season has unfolded? Do you see it as a justification of the move, like your QB 1 went bad and now you have Hurts here, or do you see it maybe as a flaw in decision-making, given the effects that it potentially had on Wentz? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I would probably go back to, it’s so raw right now to answer that and not really dive into everything that we’re doing, not just on this decision but on other decisions. I think it’s hard to do. Part of the reason that we’re talking today is because we felt like we owed it to our fans to make sure we’re talking and we’re not hiding. We’ll have other opportunities to continue talking.
But I think certainly when you talk about Jalen and his talent and his work ethic, it’s all the things that we saw in college in terms of the big picture and how we are building this team, you even see it last night: Two teams are playing for a playoff berth with their backup quarterbacks. As we go towards 17 games, depth is important in this league and I think that’s an important position that you’re trying to find depth and certainly a guy that we liked as a player.
Q. You mentioned your draft picks. How do you evaluate your decision to take WR Jalen Reagor over Vikings WR Justin Jefferson specifically, and how do you explain spending a first and second round pick on wide receivers in the last two years and both players produced — if you look at their production, producing considerably less than players drafted after them? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I’d say one, obviously the guy you’re talking about has had a phenomenal year. It’s not like our head is in the sand and we don’t see that and we didn’t spend a lot of time on that guy.
Obviously, I think when you talk to other GMs in this league, if everyone knew what those guys were going to do, they wouldn’t even be close to the pick that they were at and there were other receivers taken. We went into the Draft trying to find the right guys for our team in terms of what we thought we needed to have a better offense. That’s with a lot of discussion, with our scouts, with our coaches. There’s definitely a lot of opinions on this draft class and this receiver class for sure.
I would also say Jalen is a very young player, just turned 22. He missed a bunch of games with injuries. He didn’t really have durability issues in college and sometimes those things over a period of time, you know, they play out.
I think about it this morning. I was just thinking about our 2010 draft and how it went with BG [DE Brandon Graham] and the guys that maybe started their career fresh and again, I’m not saying that one guy is going to end up being better than the other at the end of their career, but sometimes guys, it hits later than others for those guys. We’re counting on both those guys to take a big step in the off-season. J.J. [WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside], too. I was happy J.J. got an opportunity yesterday. But yeah, there’s no doubt, I mean, we’re not sitting here and not watching that and not seeing that and not going through it of, you know, what made us make that decision when we looked at all those guys.
You know, sometimes, also, you see it, and we talk about this all the time. Sometimes there’s medical grades — I’m not saying in this particular situation in the first round, but sometimes there’s medical grades and sometimes guys are off our board, and it’s just the nature of this business.
Q. Can you explain what went into the decision to bring John Dorsey on staff as a consultant and would you be open to giving him more authority over personnel decisions and if not John, maybe someone else, whether inside or outside the organization? (Rob Maaddi)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think in terms of John, John is somebody that we’ve all had a relationship with through the years being in the league for a long time. Think highly of him as a person, as an evaluator. It was also something where, you know, [vice president of player personnel] Andy [Weidl] felt the same way.
And so just we had lost [former Eagles vice president of football operations and current Browns executive vice president, football operations and general manager] Andrew Berry and Joe Douglas, two guys that were huge parts of our front office over the last two years and just wanted to continue to get better and look at every opportunity to get better and bring the best possible people, whether that’s in personnel, the training staff.
In terms of that, I think we have really good people. I think this year notwithstanding, I think we do have a good process. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get better and continue to look at the best ways to improve this team and continue to get everyone’s input.
But I think that that’s our goal is to continue to try to make better decisions and make good decisions.
Q. Howie or Doug, I understand what you said about Carson Wentz and your feelings about him, but as you know, you have a report from a pretty credible reporter that Carson Wentz wants to be traded. How are you going to address that? How have you addressed it? Have you talked to Carson? Have you talked to his representatives? Does this concern you? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: In terms of our conversations with any player, we try to communicate with all our players. We try to also keep those conversations private, whether it’s about Carson or anyone else on this team. We also obviously have conversations with representatives of players on this team.
I think what Doug said and when he comes back, he’ll say it, he has a lot of confidence and we have a lot confidence in his ability and his relationship with Doug and to get it back to the place we need it to get to be a successful team.
Q. So the relationship is good in your view, Doug? (Les Bowen)
DOUG PEDERSON: Listen, I’m not going to speak for Carson, obviously but I can speak for myself and say that, yeah, the relationship is good. It’s fine. It’s something that we’re going to continue to build upon, and listen, I know Carson’s disappointed. It’s not the season that he had anticipated. It’s not the season I had anticipated as the head coach. There were a lot of moving parts. It’s not about one guy here. It takes all of us and that’s something that we’ve stressed a lot here.
But at the same time, I’ve been hired as the head coach. I’ve been challenged as the head coach; personally challenged myself to get things right, to get him right and to make sure that as we move forward that we’re doing everything in the best interests of the team.
And I know we can do that and obviously surrounding the quarterback position with the right guys with the right men and that’s also something that we’re going to work on this off-season.
Q. Before you said you had to pivot a little because of the pandemic. What did you mean by that specifically? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I don’t want to blame this on the pandemic. I think what we saw was we had an opportunity with having the only staff that was coming back to maybe make more of a run with veteran players than we were planning if we had an off-season program, if we had OTAs and giving those guys the opportunities.
Now there are a lot of rookies who played really well this year and again not making that as an excuse. But when we had some opportunities after the Draft to kind of change this team, I think we went with some veteran players, and I think we did that because it was more short-term thinking.
And we’ve put a lot of resources into this team in terms of money and free agents and trading draft picks and there’s a time where — that doesn’t mean we’re not trying to win, but there’s a time you have to pivot and understand what you’ve been doing and make sure that you’re also taking care of the future of the team.
I think that was something that we felt last year when we talked after the Seattle playoff game, and I think because of the way the window was, maybe we felt like we weren’t able to do our player development as much as we would in a normal year and whether that’s right or wrong, that’s one of the things we have to look back on and how we adjusted to that.
Q. Outside perception is that you’ll be on the proverbial hot seat this year which may not align with reality inside the building, but it’s not uncommon for head coaches and GMs to operate with a short-term mentality in the interest of self-preservation when a situation would otherwise call for more of a long-term focused approach. Generally speaking, how do you toe that line as a GM and has Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie given you assurances that short-term success can be sacrificed, so to speak, in favor of long-term decision-making? (Jimmy Kempski)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I’ve been here for a long time, and I have tremendous feelings about this football team, this organization, the people in this organization, and I’ve been very fortunate to be in this league for a long time. I’m going to do everything that’s in the best interests of this team to get this team back to being a perennial playoff team.
I’m not worried about my job. That’s not anything that really concerns me. That’s out of my hands. I’m worried in doing what’s the best and right thing for this team to get back. Like I said, when we talked about it, I think that some of the things that we did were more short-term oriented.
I think winning in ’17, we wanted to do whatever it took and whatever resources it took to win, especially when we kind of saw the opportunity. Then ’18, felt like maybe it was an opportunity to run it back with the players that we had, and maybe even in ’19, just continue to keep it going.
As much as there’s a little voice inside of your head that said, you know, now is probably the right time to change it, I think that’s my responsibility that I didn’t really listen to that as much as possible and now we’re in the situation we are in now where change is necessary and change is inevitable to this roster and the things that we need to do to get back being the kind of team that we know we can be.
Q. When we talk about the evaluation of Carson Wentz, we haven’t seen him really for the last four and a half games because he’s been on the sidelines. Now we’ve heard Doug’s answer to this but what have your conversations been like with Carson since he took that step to the sideline and what kind of effects do you think that can have on him long term both for the positive and maybe the negative? (Kristen Rodgers)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, I think the things that you’re seeing every day when he walks in this building is his work ethic, his leadership. He comes on the practice field when he was running the scout team and he’s trying to destroy those defensive players. Those competitive juices are there and he’s out there after practice, before practice, working on his craft. Those are things that you never take for granted when you talk about Carson.
In terms of all the long-term implications of all this, again, I think it’s so raw, 24 hours after our last game, not even 24 hours. We got home late last night. I think that’s all the things that we’ve got to discuss in the next couple weeks.
Q. Looking back at the off-season, in hindsight, what’s your biggest regret about the way you handled the off-season other than the QB factory quote, obviously? (Mike Kaye)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think that when we went into March and there was a new CBA, I think we felt like maybe we could do some things from a cap perspective because of the growth that was going on with the new CBA, with the new TV deals, with a potential 17th game.
Then obviously it kind of comes back and you have the pandemic and you’ll have more restrictions. So, I think maybe that; maybe being so aggressive in March and maybe taking the foot off the pedal a little bit. I think that was a big deal right there.
And then after that, I think right now, there’s a lot of things in my mind, when you’re 4-11-1 and coming off three straight playoff appearances that you’re regretting right now at this moment. I think I’ve just got to get to a place where it’s kind of a calm mind and it’s not as fresh and be able to look at it with some objective lenses, and I will do that, and sit there and we’ll talk about it as a staff and we’ll talk about it as a group. I feel fortunate that I have people around me that won’t just tell me what I want to hear and they will tell me the truth of what they think. We have had some of those conversations already. Obviously, the season wasn’t going well even when we were at the bye and we were 3-4, so we’ll continue to do that.
Q. From early in the season, TE Zach Ertz expressed some frustration with his contract. Obviously, it wasn’t his best season. He seemed to be taking some time after last night’s game, kind of reflecting on the field. How has that relationship been? It gets overshadowed with all the talk of the quarterback but how is your relationship with Zach Ertz and do you think that’s salvageable? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think Zach’s always been somebody we’ve had an extremely close relationship and we’ve had a very honest relationship with each other. He’s had no problems — both of us have no problems communicating with one another. Just like when you’re in close relationships with anyone, because you have all these communications, it’s not always perfect.
I think that Zach is an intense competitor. He loves this city. He loves this team. I think for him, it’s all about wanting to be here and be part of that. Sometimes you see that in my role, sometimes it’s not always the good cop. Sometimes you’re in a mode of that you have to do what you think is right for the team, not only with Zach, but with everyone, and that’s hard. That’s hard when you have relationships with guys. It’s funny — not really funny because nothing is really funny today.
But it’s ironic because two of my boys were watching Moneyball two weeks ago and I haven’t seen it in a long time and there’s a scene with Brad Pitt where he tells Jonah Hill, “You go with the team.”
And Jonah says, “Why?”
And he says, “Because, you know, I want to keep my distance with my relationships with the players.”
And I thought about that and I thought about how probably I take a different approach, and everybody has their own approach. I think our door is always open, both Coach and mine, to any player to have conversations, open conversations. I think that’s one of the strengths when we’re winning is we try to connect with our players. I think it was harder this year to do that.
Again, Zach is a great person, he’s a great competitor and he’s been a great player for us. Obviously, this year didn’t work out exactly how he wanted either but there’s nothing personal. In fact, saw him after the game last night. Saw him this morning. Zach is one of the truly great guys that we’ve had in this organization in the 21 years I’ve been here.
Q. You already mentioned the salary cap and what’s happened since the pandemic and now with the decision to spread that hit over a few years, instead of just taking it all in 2021, how will that affect your decision making and your operation going forward and will that force you to make more difficult decisions on your roster and some of your veterans than you have in the past? (Nick Fierro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We haven’t been given exact guidance on what the salary cap is going to be next year or the years after that, unless I missed something that came out today or at some point.
Obviously since we found out around April, kind of the floor for the cap, we’ve been planning on that. None of this is a surprise. We’ve had a lot of time to go through it and we’ll be prepared for whatever it is.
Q. Doug said that there really needs to be one voice with the offense and with his quarterback. Do you think there were too many voices this year on the offensive coaching staff that were brought in? (John Clark)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I have incredible trust with Coach Pederson, and I think the way we handle it is that he handles his coaching staff. He’s in charge of that coaching staff. He hires his coaching staff. And you know, he does the same with me and my staff. Obviously, any move that we make from a front office perspective, from a coaching perspective, we talk about it. We talk every day multiple times a day, so there’s no surprises.
But I have total trust in him and his decision-making and whatever he thinks is best for the team.
Q. Do you foresee your assistants primarily on the offensive side of the ball returning and staying in tact, and when it comes to the defensive side, with the reports of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz possibly retiring or not coming back, what type of characteristics are you looking for in your next defensive coordinator? (Chris Franklin)
DOUG PEDERSON: Well, these are all conversations and decisions and the thinking that’s now going to go into the evaluations that go into this week. That’s what this week is about and really, these next couple of weeks are really all about where you can take some time away, kind of reflect and make some tough decisions if I have to. Jim and I haven’t — I want to spend some time with Jim first before I make any decisions or comments about the next coordinator or what I’m looking for. Those are all things that it’s going to take some time as I process everything, and really have conversations with Jim and kind of pick his brain just a little bit on that.
As far as the offensive side goes, again, it’s all about the evaluation process. Every year we go through this. Just like I’m evaluated, I evaluate my staff and I want to make sure that I have the best guys around our players, the best teachers around our players, because that’s how I see us as coaches. We’re teachers first, and being able to not only teach information, but be able to take the complex and make it simple for our guys to play fast and execute on game day.
Q. Do you think there needs be to changes in the way you guys make decisions regarding the Draft, free agency, and the off-season in general, just based on what transpired this past season? (Martin Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think there’s two parts of that. The fact that we are where we are now, and we’re 4-11-1, to not sit there and review everything we’ve done and see if there’s a better way to do it, you know that, would probably be ignorant. So, we have to do that.
But by the same time, we have also been incredibly successful. Just because you have one bad moment doesn’t mean you’re not good at your jobs or you don’t have a good process. It happens in this business. Extremely humbling business. And we have to rebound from it, and we have to do better, and it starts with me.
But when I look at it objectively, too, we’ve had a lot of hits in free agency. We’ve had a lot of draft picks here who have done a really good job and we have to get back to that and make sure we attack this off-season. This is, really, besides 2012, we haven’t picked because of earning it in the Top-10, we obviously traded up for Carson, but we didn’t start that year, either that way. That’s something we have to hit on, the 6th pick in the draft, in a huge, huge way, and I think that we have the right people to do that. I know that we’re going to be incredibly focused on not only that pick, but the other picks we’ll have in this draft and hopefully we’ll have a bunch of picks and we’ll go from there.
Q. Now that you’ve had a night to sleep on it, I know you’re a guy that respects the game very much, and last night when you took out Jalen Hurts in a close game, I think you’re aware that it sent a message kind of across the league. Eagles fans were upset but I think football fans were upset about what it said. Can you speak on it now that you’ve slept on it a little bit about the message that maybe that that sent and the perception that people had about the way that the game panned out? (Jamie Apody)
DOUG PEDERSON: I’ve thought about that quite a bit, and quite frankly, I look at the entire body of work. I look at the entire season and it’s definitely not the season we all had anticipated. Our offensive struggles have not been about one position group or one guy or whatever. It’s been a multitude of issues that we’ve had, and again, last night in that game, we were in a situation where we failed to score as an offense. We failed to score there at the end of the third quarter. We were struggling just a little bit to move the ball. Defensively, they kept us in the game with a couple of takeaways late. And my plan was to get Nate [Sudfeld] in the game. Nate’s a guy that’s very capable of running our system and executing, and an opportunity to pull that game out last night.
It’s just something that — it’s not where any of us want to be. It’s not where our fans wanted us or expected us to be and it’s definitely not where me or Howie or where Mr. Lurie wanted us to be at this time sitting here today. We wanted to be playing in the postseason. That’s our goal every season. So, this year, this game, this season, didn’t come down to last night. We were playing for our lives in a playoff game four, five, six weeks ago where every game mattered, and we failed even then.
I’ve got to look at the whole thing, do what’s in the best interest and try to win a game any way possible.