Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni
Q. Howie, have you seen enough from QB Jalen Hurts this year to feel comfortable with him as your quarterback moving into the future? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We talk about [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and the growth he had, really as a first-year starter and second-year player and leading this team to the playoffs. I’m tremendously impressed by his work ethic and his leadership. The last time we talked was during camp and we said we wanted to see him take the bull by the horn, and he certainly did that.
Q. Is that a yes? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yes.
Q. Howie, because you have extreme draft capital this year, you’ll be in a better position than other teams to trade for an elite-level quarterback, should one become available. While you said that Jalen answered a lot of questions for you, if the right player is available at the right cost, are you willing to make that kind of move that might not be possible in future off-seasons when you have fewer assets to trade? (Jimmy Kempski)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: For us, what we are doing right now is we are evaluating our team and continuing to figure out ways to build. We are not happy about the fact that our season ended in the playoffs. We want to build a team that has home playoff games, gets to play in front of our fan base and really build a team that gets a bye.
Those opportunities, those assets you talk about, allow us to continue to build and really helps us add good players to this team. Our job is to look at everything, to evaluate every position, every player. We do that not only for right now in this moment, but we also do it so we have information when players become available at any position.
Q. Howie, why haven’t we seen WR Jalen Reagor take steps toward the growth that we probably anticipated? And are there some lessons from that pick that you can take? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Certainly, heading into year three, expected more from [WR] Jalen [Reagor] at this point. We had a chance to sit down with him after the season and had an honest conversation about the things that he needs to develop and the things that we can help him develop to continue his growth, in terms of learning from anything. We have to do that. We have to continue to evolve.
We kind of have to look at not only the things that maybe we don’t like about our decision-making, not just talking about Jalen in this situation, but talking about as a whole, but also the things that we did well. I think that’s part of continuing to grow in your job and in your profession.
Q. Howie, you have three first-round picks. You haven’t drafted an off ball linebacker in 40 years, you are part of that. You haven’t drafted a quarterback in 20 years in the first round, a safety ever. With three first-round picks, how can that change your strategy towards positional value coming into this draft? (Mike Kaye)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think we have a philosophy on how to build this team, a philosophy that we think has been successful. Obviously, you’d like more championships every time you’re out there, but we’re going to stay committed to the way we think of building the team.
In terms of having the three first-round picks, I think that it’s important we bring in good players that fit the system that our coaches run and that also fit the fabric of this team. We have a lot of good players who are also good people. It’s important for us to have those guys on the team.
We don’t go into a draft saying we are not going to do something. For us, it’s all about the skill set of that particular player and the football character of that player. As we get more heavy into this draft and sitting down and having a lot of conversations with our coaching staff, we’ll discuss all that stuff.
Q. To piggyback off that, Howie you’ve had different coaching staffs. Obviously, this is the first year with Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni, how does that change your philosophy, because I assume everybody is a little bit different. They value certain things for their scheme a little bit more. And, Nick, you can probably talk to this as well. How does that change your philosophy beyond building on both sides of the ball, which has been so successful for you? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yeah, I think I was very fortunate to start my career working with a Hall of Fame coach, and he always talked about the fact that we have to be extensions of the coaching staff. If there is not a fit, if there is not a vision, if we’re drafting players who don’t fit the particular schemes of our coaching staffs, these players are not going to develop into the players that we want them to be.
I think everything is about communication. Everything is about vision from the coaching staff. Coach and his staff do a tremendous job before we acquire any player of saying, “And here’s how we see him fit.” I can even see Coach turning around with notebook paper and saying, “And here is how we see him fit.”
I think that just makes our job easier. To be able to have that vision and understand, when we are watching them on Sundays or Mondays, Thursdays, or I guess on Tuesdays this year, what it’s going to look like down on the field and having everyone on the same page.
Q. Hey Howie, just for clarity sake regarding the quarterback, are you going into this off-season with the mindset that Jalen Hurts is your quarterback in 2022? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Yes. I think for us, we have to do whatever we can to continue to help him develop. And how do we do that? By surrounding him with really good players, players who continue to grow. That’s a huge part of developing, they grow. How they are in their second year is not how they are going to be in year four, five, six and seven. And they are also products of the people around them. That’s on us to continue to build this team.
Q. Will you retain Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon, assuming he isn’t hired as a head coach, Eagles Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen and Eagles Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay as your coordinators? And will the rest of the staff remain as is? And then, just to be clear, have you met with Eagles Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie yet for the season-ending interview? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: Really, really like this staff and everything that we have in this staff right here. I think that it’s a great group of guys that work well together. I think that’s really important that guys work well together within the building, and that starts by having a good group of guys and a good group of people that are talented at what they do.
As of right now, again, I’m evaluating everything like I would at the end of the year. I’m evaluating every player. I’m meeting with every player. I’m evaluating every coach. I’m meeting with every coach. I’m really happy with the people we have in this building. I’m really happy with the staff that we have, and I look forward to continuing to work with them.
I have not had my end-of-year meeting with Mr. Lurie [Eagles Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Lurie]. I look forward to doing that as well, to be able to talk through all of the things of this season – after a long season, being able to talk through all those things.
Yeah, look forward to all those meetings that we’re having. I started some of our coaches meetings today, probably through about five of my end-of-year meetings with the coaches, with the guys upstairs, and look forward to talking to all of them here today and tomorrow.
Q. Howie, your team became much more of a run-first offense over the last month and you had success doing it, but I was curious if you want to try to get back to more of a pass-first offense? When you look around the league, that’s how teams are winning at a high level. (Eliot Shorr-Parks)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think our goal is to win as many games as possible, and however that comes about is something that makes us happy. I don’t think I’ve ever walked into the locker room unhappy with a win.
I think Coach and his staff do a great job of fitting to the personnel. It’s kind of ironic because a year ago today was our first meeting with Coach and one of the things he said that really won us over is his scheme is going to be dependent on the players and personnel and he was going to utilize our personnel in the way that they would be able to maximize their talents and for us to win games.
Q. Howie, you’ve approached off-seasons differently when the team was in a building stage compared to maintaining a contending team. How do you view the off-season and the stage the team is in now? Is it still the transition period that you discussed last year? Or is this a go-for-it period, where you’re comfortable making short-term decisions? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s ironic that you asked this question because I have spent a lot of time thinking about some of our off-seasons and those transitions and some of the years where I thought maybe we needed a specific role or player to push us over when we had made the playoffs and maybe lost in the playoffs and some of the maybe mistakes for over-valuing that particular skill set, as opposed to really keeping building the team and getting players that fit the scheme and fit the culture that we’re trying to build here and just really good players.
I think until you’re really talking about a team that is hosting home playoff games and getting the one and two seed, you’re in building mode. I think that’s where we are right now.
Again, going back to just for me, today is a symbolic day. I don’t know if [Eagles Senior Vice President of Communications] Bob [Lange] set the press conference today because I felt that way, but in terms of sitting down with Coach for the first time and then where we are a year later, we knew there were things we had to do to build at that time when we sat down.
I think it gives us the opportunity with some of the assets we’ve acquired over the last year to continue to build and also look at our team and think that there are good players here. Players that will help us get to the playoffs.
Q. Specifically with regard to wide receivers, you obviously came into the season with a really young group at wide receiver with WR DeVonta Smith, WR Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor. I was just wondering what your evaluation of them, their growth, and if you guys feel like you need to go after a free agent or someone who can kind of take you over the top at that position, in particular? (Martin Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I feel really good about the wide receiver group as a whole. I think you have a number one guy in [WR] DeVonta Smith. I think he is a number one receiver, and he continues to get better. Why do I think he’s a number one receiver? Because he can consistently win one-on-one, he can get the ball into his hands and make plays with the ball in his hand, maybe run a short pass. He catches everything. His competitive nature.
I don’t think that there are a lot of true No. 1 receivers in the NFL, and I think we have one that is going to continue to get better.
Then I look at [WR] Quez Watkins, as he’s our No. 2 wide receiver. He has big-time speed, and he has a knack to make plays. Of course, you always want to get – the style of offense that we played this year didn’t allow for Quez to get as many touches as he probably deserves, but we did everything we could do to win each individual game.
So, Quez has big-play ability in him. I think out of the No. 2 wide-outs I’ve been around in the NFL, he can be one of the best No. 2’s that I’ve been around in the NFL because of his skill set and because of his ability to make plays.
I think a lot of us talk about Jalen Hurts and his ability to just be very steady. Quez Watkins is very – and that’s a trait that we all value in Jalen Hurts – Quez Watkins is the same way. He’s not going to get too up, he’s not going to get too down throughout the course of a game, throughout the course of a year.
I’m really pleased with him. To have two guys like that, that you really trust and you really are scheming open to try to make plays, that’s a big positive.
Jalen Reagor, we want more production from Jalen Reagor and he has all the talent to do so. So, I like him in that No. 3 spot right now to be able to make plays because he has skill, he has talent. It’s our job as coaches to get that skill and that talent out of him so it produces on the field. And it’s our job as coaches to put him in position to succeed.
And that’s a two-way street. I’m not by any means saying I’m taking all the blame or all the credit or whatever it is, because it’s a two-way street, and Jalen has to make the plays when the opportunity arises.
But he does have extreme talent for what we are considering a No. 3 receiver – to be able to make plays.
And then, I really valued [WR] Greg Ward’s contribution to the group of. I can’t say enough good things about Greg Ward. He’s one of the main leaders on this team. He’s one of the main leaders in that wide-out room.
It’s through example of how he kind of goes about his business. For a guy to have 50 or 60 catches that he had last year and then take a little bit step back of the role that he had this year, but still be able to lead, that speaks volumes to what kind of person Greg Ward is. Each room needs a leader in that aspect.
Then you always need – again, we’re kind of having this conversation, asking me about wide-outs, we’re kind of painting the picture the same way, Howie and I would talk about it, what do you need for the room? You have that blocking element of [WR] J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside]. J.J. did a really good job in his role this year of our enforcer. Of our guy that would go out and get blocks when we needed him to pave the way for the No. 1 rush offense in the NFL. And I don’t want to say pave the way. We know our offensive line and our tight ends and our backs pave the way. But that is a very underappreciated position in the blocking wide receiver, because those sometimes spring five-yard runs into 15-yard runs or 20-yard runs or 8-yard runs into 28-yard runs.
I’m pleased with this group. Again, you’re not going to have the same statistical output when you’re the type of offense that we were this year, but I am very pleased with this group. I know that this is a good group. Are we always going to look to add talent to the group and play-makers to the group? Of course. But I like where we sit right now as the wide receiver group, and I think we can continue to grow at that group because of the talent we have and the guys that we have in that room.
Q. Two-part question, first one for either of you. Have you communicated to Jalen Hurts that he will be the starting quarterback going into next season? And will you address with him what is probably going to be endless rumors about you pursuing someone else? And part two for Howie, you have those three first-round picks. That’s going to give you a ton of flexibility, but how much value do you see in leveraging any of those for draft capital in 2023? (Rob Maaddi)
NICK SIRIANNI: As far as the first part, Jalen knows where he stands with us. He knows he’s our quarterback. How do you know where you stand with a coaching staff? Because you communicate and you talk over and over and over and over again.
And so, Jalen knows where he stands with us. I thought he did a great job of getting better throughout the year, as we’ve talked about, and so there’s no secrets there. He knows he’s our guy.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [In terms of the three first-round picks] it depends on who is on the board. It’s always an equation of if there is a guy on the board we think has incredible value for that pick, whether it’s in the first round or second round, if we have a group of guys that we value similarly and we can move back, and I think because of the amount of picks that we have in this draft — maybe even getting picks for 2023 and getting in a situation similar to this year where we have a lot of picks, we have a lot of value, that would be good.
Of course, it will depend on who is on the board and the value of that player on the board.
Q. We haven’t really had a chance to talk to you since DT Fletcher Cox’s name came up in trade rumors around the deadline. What’s his standing with the team going into the off-season, and what went into the decision at the deadline? (EJ Smith)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think, first of all, it’s our job to listen to everything and see if there are ways to improve our team. Obviously, Fletcher is a great player, and teams where we were at the deadline were making calls. And for us, it’s important. Our priorities are always going to be along the line of scrimmage, and obviously having him and [DT Javon] Hargrave, and you see the growth from [DT] Milton [Williams] inside, that’s a huge part of our defense and a huge part of our priorities.
Just like Coach said, we communicate with our players. They know when things are going on, we’ll be honest. We have honest communication. Fletch knew what was going on. We communicated with him. He’s a guy that was a big part of the success that we had down the stretch. He can continue to take over games and be an incredible player, and we expect more from that going forward.
Q. Could you just share with us your evaluation of the arc of the season, balancing the second half improvement against the strength of schedule, and did anything surprise you? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Just really proud of our coaches and our players and really the whole building sticking together. Obviously during a season, you’re going to have adversity. I don’t think anyone flinched during that time of adversity.
We knew this season there were going to be some highs and some lows. I think we felt that during training camp that we were kind of trying to figure out our identity, our personnel. Coach did an amazing job with that. So really proud of him and his staff and the communication that they had throughout that process.
At the same time, like I said, we have to continue to build. We know that we have to get to a certain level to be a team that has a bye, that has home playoff games and eventually competes to win a world championship.
We are certainly not satisfied with where we are. We know there is a lot of work to do, and we started that. We started that during the season by resigning our own free agents, which is a huge part of free agency, is to keep your own players, the guys that you know. You know their work ethic, and you know their fit. We did that to get a head start and a kick start into the season, but there is a lot of work to be done, and excited about the opportunity ahead.
Q. Some quarterbacks who played in their first playoff game this past weekend really struggled, like Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and Patriots QB Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts. When you’re evaluating Jalen Hurts this year and thinking about where he can get to, how much do you weigh that playoff appearance and what happened versus what happened in the second half of the season against non-playoff teams? (John Clark)
NICK SIRIANNI: You take everything into account, and nothing in the NFL is a given. I think we see that all over the NFL. Nothing is a given. You have to come out ready to play each and every week no matter who you are playing and no matter what their record is because anybody can beat anybody at any time in this league.
You take into account the whole body of work. You don’t just count Jalen’s game against the Giants. As we all know, we’ve already discussed what we felt like and what he felt like of how we played in that game. You take into account the entire body of work.
I’m pleased with the way he developed as a passer, as a quarterback. I think, again, we’ve seen so many things that he got better at. That goes into, first and foremost, Jalen and the football character that he has; the desire and the want-to of how badly this guy wants to be an elite, elite, elite player in this league.
Then you take into account [Eagles offensive coordinator] Shane Steichen, who is a great offensive coordinator, and [Eagles quarterbacks coach] Brian Johnson, a phenomenal quarterback coach, and our offensive staff doing everything they need to do to get Jalen ready to play. A lot of factors go into why Jalen got better as a passer, starting with Jalen first.
But you saw him develop, again, when he wasn’t able to have that ability to run as effective with the ankle, three of his last four games he played over a one hundred quarterback rating there. You saw him develop in the sense of early in the year when he had to extend the play, it was a run.
Later in the year, I felt like we had to continue to get better in our scramble drills, he became a passer when he extended plays, and that really helped us down the stretch there.
Really pleased with how he’s developed as our quarterback. Again, you just don’t take into account a game in the playoffs. You look at it. It counts, obviously, right, even more so. But you look at the whole body of work and as the whole body of work, we are very pleased with where he is and where he’s going to be.
Q. I just want to ask you, there’s a report out there about G Brandon Brooks retiring. I just wonder if you can update us on his situation? Then as far as DE Brandon Graham, as we sit here on January 19th, how do you see him? Any role for him going forward on the team? I know it’s early in the evaluation process, but how do you view him as a returning player from the Achilles injury? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Starting with Brandon [Brooks], we had a lot of communication with Brandon. It was really important for us to make sure that Brandon Brooks ended the season healthy and to make sure that he had an off-season where he was healthy, and he wasn’t rehabbing. That is the extent of our communication. I met with him at the end of the season, and you’re talking about one of the greatest players, one of the greatest guards in the history of the franchise. I have tremendous respect for him as a player and as a person. Those are the conversations we’ve had with Brandon up to this point.
In terms of BG, we miss BG. We miss BG the player, and there is nobody who can replace BG, the person, the leader that he is as well. We know he’s attacking this rehab. We see him every day around here. And he has a chip on his shoulder, and we do see a role for him going forward, and we are excited to get him back next year. He’s a huge part of our football team.
Q. Howie, what did you learn about Nick during the second half turnaround? (Chris Franklin)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think Nick is the same guy every day. No matter what happened, he loves to coach this football team. He has an incredible passion for his job. He’s an incredible leader. His messaging to the team — some of those things that you think you know when you’re interviewing someone, but you don’t really get until you are part of it, were incredible.
He has great communication skills. I know he would say this; that he’s still developing. He is going to get better and better as he sees more things and more experience. I feel really fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him and excited about doing whatever I can to help him have success.
Q. The 2022 Eagles, how do you want them to be different from the 2021 Eagles? As specifically as you can, how do you want this to be different next year? (Les Bowen)
NICK SIRIANNI: You never want to put yourself in a hole where you’re 2-5 to start things off. You want to start off better than what we started off. But you see around the league all the time where teams maybe start off quick and then fade off.
I think what’s important, and where I’m happy with this team, is that this team did get a little bit better each week where we were playing our better football later in the year.
Starting off fast, and we didn’t start off fast the last month of the season as far as a team, and sometimes it was the offense not starting fast and sometimes it was the defense not starting fast in a game.
That’s the main thing, that you want that to be consistent throughout the year, the starting fast, staying fast, so you can accomplish what Howie was just talking about, getting a home playoff game and having our great fans at our game, even though we had great support at Tampa, but it’s so much nicer to play here.
So, getting off to a good start, not just being 1-0, but getting off to a good start in the first quarter of the season is important. But staying there and staying the course, which I know we did throughout this year of, hey, it started slow, but the course was this, still throughout the entire year. I think that’s what the best teams in the league do, they do this throughout the entire year.
Starting fast, but also staying in that upward trajectory of that, I think, then we can do what our goals are, is to win the division and get a home playoff game to make some noise there.
Q. Howie, do you have a thought there? (Les Bowen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: He just killed it. He hit a lot of the topics I was going to talk about. Certainly, from our perspective as a front office, just giving them as many good players and good people as we possibly can. And continue to look down on the field before the games and feel confident about the talent and ability that we have on this team that we present for our coaches and our fans. We take that part really to heart.
Q. I know last year at this time, this kind of press conference, you were asked a lot about Carson Wentz’s future, and you said you couldn’t see — kind of like him being a finger on your hand — but obviously things changed with the outcome there. Are there any scenarios that could arise this time around, where you’ve already given a commitment to Jalen Hurts as your starter, but for football reasons, could that change? (Geoff Mosher)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [Jokingly] Thanks for reminding me. You’re the second person today who has reminded me about my ‘fingers-on-my-hands’ comment. Must be from having a lot of kids.
I think when you look at any position, opportunities come about in this league — and I’m certainly not talking about the quarterback position — where you have to make decisions about what’s best for the franchise. I think last year with Carson, we had to figure out going forward what really made the most sense when we got the offer that we did.
Certainly, that changed there, I understand that, but us right now, we are in this mode of trying to build this team and build this team and get as many talented players that we possibly can to compete for championships going forward. We have a great opportunity to do that this off-season to keep building.
Q. There were times this season where your quarterback, Jalen Hurts, struggled with accuracy and getting the ball down the field. Is there something for him to specifically work on? Do you have an off-season program for him to specifically get better at being a more accurate quarterback and getting the ball out to open receivers and not missing them? (Chris Murray)
NICK SIRIANNI: So the off-season, I haven’t had my personal meeting with Jalen yet, so these are all things that him and I will discuss. At the end of each meeting with the players, I’m going to ask them what their off-season plan is, and one of the things we’ll discuss is what our off-season plan is for them.
When you talk about accuracy, accuracy starts with knowing where to go with the football, and then I’m always about the feet, the feet, the feet, the feet, and then the finish. And so, Jalen did — really, when you talk about that, is just getting your feet set, being able to set your target line where you want it to be set.
That’s a constant thing that you’re doing. That’s like shooting free throws, right. You have to put yourself in position over and over to get your target line set there, your foot, your toe on the dot, all the things that you go through there. It’s the same thing with quarterback play. Any time you talk about accuracy, it’s getting your feet set.
And how do you get your feet set in the position where you want to throw it? It’s through constant reps. So, it’s the drills that we did throughout the entire year of getting his feet set to make the throws that he needed to make, and he needs to make in the year.
I definitely think he got better at that, but that is — accuracy is something that you always as a quarterback want to have that trajectory going forward. So, we’ll be continuing to do those drills that we did.
As far as the decision-making, the decision-making is — you see quarterbacks in the NFL get better at decision-making as they get older, and that’s why there’s not a lot of fall-off with a quarterback like a Drew Brees or a Tom Brady or in my case last year with Philip Rivers, where these guys just know where to go with the football because they have seen everything.
So how do you do that as a quarterback? First of all, it is reps. It’s the reps you get in training camp and the reps you get in the game. We do things to accelerate that, right.
And so, it’s the film, it’s the way we break down film for them and go over it with them and put them in that position again and again and again. Okay, here is this curl flat concept versus Cover-3, and here is the ball being delivered to the curl. And just show them that over and over and over again and show him him doing it and show him other quarterbacks around the league doing it, etc., etc., etc. Okay, here is this deep cross shallow concept against Cover-4. Put him in that position as much as you can, now, so it becomes even second nature when he’s doing that in training camp.
There’s no replacement for the physical reps you’re going to get, but you try to do that as much as you can with the film and as much as you can with the review of the season and other quarterbacks around the league.
That’s where it will start of our personal film of going through all those things and all the reads and going through there to get him to play at even a faster level.
Again, we saw him play at a faster level as the season went on, but to get him to play at even a faster level. Then, like I said, with the drill work on that. It starts in the film room, and so we’ll have a very detailed plan for that. We have been doing this with the quarterbacks for a long time.
I’m fortunate enough to have been around really good quarterbacks that have also taught me. I learned a lot from [Colts head coach] Frank [Reich] and how he went about his process of how he developed quarterbacks, and then being around Philip Rivers who played for 17 years in the NFL.
These are things that I have taken from them of what they did in the off-season to make sure that they were playing at a higher level in the two areas that you talked about the following year.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I just wanted, one, to thank our fans. We know it’s still not totally normal out there. But the support we had having fans back was outstanding. It was a lot of fun to be in our stadium, and hopefully we continue to play well and win home games.
And then thank you, guys. I know it’s hard with everything going on to leave your families and be on the road and come out to practice every day. Just keep everyone safe and healthy, and look forward to speaking to you guys again in the near future.