Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I’m glad we’re back to doing these in person. There are not a lot of nights that I don’t fall asleep quickly when I hit the bed just because we’re here a lot and we work hard. Last night was hard, just because these guys who have been part of our whole off-season, some of the guys who have been here a couple of years, knowing that we’re going to have conversations today with them. Today is always a tough day, and it doesn’t get any easier.
A lot of good people that we let go today, and a lot of hard conversations. We were just talking about how we have to snap out of it and kind of get back to work, but part of what we’re trying to build here is caring about the people that are on our team and in our building, so when you have days like this, it kind of gets emotional.
Just wish all those guys well and thank them for everything they did, and hopefully we can get some of them back.
Q. Howie, how did the trade come down with S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and how do you project his role in this defense? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: First of all, there are a lot of conversations, during the preseason, certainly in the last couple weeks, and you’re trying to find teams that have fits for what you’re looking for.
Not that we were unhappy with our defensive backfield or our safety position, but we were looking for opportunities to get better. When we looked at New Orleans and the depth that they had on their roster, we thought maybe it would be a fit, and the conversations kind of came together here in the last 48 hours. Excited to add him.
He’s a heck of a player. He loves football. [Jokingly] Obviously, he went to the right college. We’ll just get him in here as quickly as possible, and I know our coaches will do a great job of getting him up to speed.
Q. Where does he fight in schematically and how do you reconcile the time in the slot versus — it sounds like he’s going to play safety – how can he fit in? (Jeff McLane)
NICK SIRIANNI: We have a good player in him, there’s no doubt. That’s our job as coaches, to have a plan, and we do. I think at this point right now, it doesn’t benefit us to talk about how we’re playing him, where we’re playing him, because we’re in game plan week right now.
The fact that he didn’t have any snaps here with us is an unknown to Detroit, so we’ll keep it that way. But when we get good players in here, it’s our job to figure out ways to use them. We’ve obviously talked about that at depth, and we look forward to having him in here and letting him contribute.
Q. For both of you guys, what did WR Jalen Reagor show you this summer to earn a spot, and for Howie, how much if any did his cap situation play into keeping him? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think when you look at Jalen, one of the things that one of our scouts said to me today is he was one of the only guys that practiced every day. The guy brought it every day. He worked on his craft. He had a great attitude, great energy. Obviously, he’s a talented guy. He’s 23 years old.
We’re going to do whatever we think is in the best interest of the team, and we felt like there was no doubt in our mind that he deserved a role on this team.
Q. Nick, can you follow up on that from a football standpoint what you saw? (Reuben Frank)
NICK SIRIANNI: I just felt like he made plays this summer, and it started right from the beginning, from day one of training camp, and it continued on throughout the practices that we had. You could definitely see the explosion that — he’s never lost that, right? He’s had this explosion in his body, and he uses it to separate from the defense.
I just thought he had a good camp and he made plays and he was more consistent this year throughout training camp.
Q. I think one of the surprises might be G Josh Sills making the roster, maybe over someone like C/G Jack Anderson. What went into the decision to go there with Josh? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We had a lot of tough decisions on the offensive line. Feel very fortunate to have the offensive line group we have. Obviously, we talk a lot about Stout [Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] and how he coaches those guys, and that was probably the toughest position group for us to kind of cut down.
When you talk about Sills, he’s 6’5″, he’s 330 pounds, he has long arms. He’s powerful, he’s versatile. He can play inside or outside. I’m not putting him in Canton — I’m starting to listen to my own description, and it sounds unbelievable.
But the guy has talent in his body, and I think when you talk about Jack, they play different positions really. So, we kind of tried to figure out what we had, what we were looking for, and it was a tough call.
Q. Over the past couple of years, they’ve kind of changed the roles. You have the expanded practice squad, more liberal IR designations. How much does that change your strategy over the standpoint when you get to the initial 53? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Well, first of all, huge compliment to the way Coach [Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni] and his staff ran practice, our training staff, our performance staff. At this point, obviously we know there are going to be injuries, but we didn’t have a lot of those decisions to make at this moment. Very grateful of that.
So, you just kind of go with what you’re dealt at the time.
We’ll see what happens here in the next 24 hours with the roster. It’s a fluid process, and we have a lot of time until the first game.
Q. You said earlier that you were not unhappy with what you had at safety. What do you see as the reasoning for releasing a guy like S Anthony Harris, another veteran in S Andre Chachere and everything, like a lot of upheaval right before the season starts? (Martin Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think when you talk about [S] Anthony [Harris], you talk about one of the tough conversations, it’s with Anthony Harris today. I think that was one that the two of us were not really looking forward to, but what a pro he is, and like everything he does, he handles everything gracefully.
We felt like since there was a possibility that his role had changed from when we had signed him, that because we were looking at options, he also deserved to kind of look at options himself. Obviously, you don’t want to close any doors on anyone or anything right now at this time.
Q. What is it about defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s system that allows slot corners to play safety and vice versa? (Tim McManus)
NICK SIRIANNI: First of all, it’s not easy. Our coaches work really hard at cross-training those guys, so tribute to them and the guys that are doing the cross-training, that they have to work really hard to do it, with [defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach] Dennard [Wilson] and Coach D.K. [assistant defensive backs coach D.K. McDonald] and Gannon [defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon] all having that expertise in the defensive back room.
But there are some different things that we’re able to do where they are interchangeable, obviously, of when you ask them to play the deep half and when you ask them to play in the box and when you ask them to play the deep third. So, there are some interchangeable parts and some looks that we show that for us as a defense that make us multiple.
When you give the offense an answer now, like if the offense knows what you’re in and what you’re doing, it’s easier for them to pick you apart when they know exactly what coverage there is to do. A lot of it comes from the disguise, as well, is what I’m getting at, the disguise of how you’re trying to show one picture to the offense and play another thing. That’s where a lot of those pieces are interchangeable.
But like I said, those guys worked their butts off to fit both roles, and we’ll do that with a lot of our guys there in the back end.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: As you guys know, this guy played safety. We evaluated him as a safety in college, too, so this isn’t like it’s totally fresh for him. This is something that you see more and more in this league. You see it with the two guys playing in Buffalo, obviously; you saw it when we had Malcolm [Jenkins] here in Philly.
You see a couple of our guys, not just the guy we got today, but a couple of our guys doing it because the league is about coverage, the league is about speed, it is about athleticism and instincts, so a lot of those guys when you’re playing the nickel position that translates to what they’re trying to do also at the safety position.
Q. You mentioned during the draft that because you only had five picks you needed your scouts to find good undrafted guys. You kept three. You mentioned G Josh Sills already. What do S Reed Blankenship and CB Josh Jobe bring to the table and who were the scouts that were responsible for finding those three guys? (Jimmy Kempski)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I’m going to give credit to people here and all over the league I feel like when I talk about our draft last year. We had a great process after the draft. Obviously, [former Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel and current Steelers Assistant General Manager] Andy [Weidl] and [former Eagles Vice President of Football Operations and current Browns Assistant General Manager & Vice President of Football Operations] Cat [Catherine Raiche], not here, who were a huge part of it, and [Senior Director of College Scouting] Anthony Patch and [Director of Player Personnel] Alan Wolking, [Director of Draft Management] Phil [Bhaya] and Tiny [Assistant Director of College Scouting Ryan Myers] and [Midwest Area Scout] Jim Ward, and [NFS Scout] Lee [DiValerio] and [Director of Personnel Operations/Pro Scout] Ameena [Soliman] and all these people, [Assistant General Manager] Alec [Halaby] and his group, they did a great job of pulling guys out.
[CB] Josh [Jobe] was a guy that had some injury issues in the off-season part of this, and we had followed him. We knew him, obviously the Alabama connection, and from day one when he came in here, he came in with the right mindset. This is a big, long, instinctive corner, a physical corner who’s played at a high level in the SEC.
I was saying the other day I’m watching guys even in this year’s draft and I see Josh in man coverage with these guys. He’s a guy that we felt very fortunate to get after the draft, and our Alabama guys, Stout [run game coordinator/offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland], [assistant special teams coordinator Joe] Pannunzio, those guys, just wrapping their arms around him, and our performance guys doing a great job getting him ready to play.
With [S] Reed [Blankenship], Reed is an interesting guy. Reed is a five-year starter. You don’t see many of those guys going.
NICK SIRIANNI: With 419 tackles.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s unbelievable. Reed is one of those guys, he started the last man in that group, and every day, like Coach says, we evaluate practice every day, we evaluate everything he did, and he continued to show up. He had a feel.
I don’t want to put too high expectations on him, but he kind of reminded me of a guy like [former Philadelphia Eagles safety] Quintin Mikell who we had here. He has physical tools, but he’s always around the ball, and credit to him and our coaches for putting him in position to make plays. We wanted to recognize that because we had a smaller draft class, we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to make this team.
Q. Do you want to add a third quarterback? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: In general, do I want to have a third quarterback? We will have a third quarterback on the 69-, 70-man roster with [DE] Matt Leo, the 70th guy. We will have a third quarterback for sure.
Q. In S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s case, it sounded like the contract was an issue in New Orleans. Are you comfortable with where you stand there, and is he going to play out the year on that contract? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t want to get into anyone’s contract situation, but obviously we wouldn’t have made the trade if we weren’t comfortable with the person and where he was. You never want to rule anything out with any of our players on our team, but if I start getting into anyone’s contract situation, I have to address all the other guys, too.
Q. What’s the plan for S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the short-term because he hasn’t been practicing much; are you comfortable that he’ll be ready for week one (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We’ll see when we get him here. It’s Tuesday. We play a week and a half from now, and we have to get him in the building, and we’ll go from there.
Q. You talked about S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s personality, clearly a guy that’s boisterous on the field. What do you know about him off the field during your original evaluation and how will he fit in the locker room? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: We spent a lot of time with him in the pre-draft process. I think from our perspective, we did not feel like he was a fourth-round pick. He kind of fell a little bit in the draft. He loves football. He has a passion for the game, and he’s not afraid to show it.
I think that what Coach [Nick Sirianni] does with our team is he lets them show their personalities, and he lets them be them. I don’t think that anything that we found on him is malicious. He just loves to play.
I think our fans like that. I know our team does. That may frustrate offensive players and receivers at times, but it’s all because he has a passion for this game.
We like that. That makes practice fun. We’ll see if he can compete with [CB Darius] Slay.
Q. On that topic, what’s S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson’s reputation among offensive coaches around the league? I’m sure he has one. (Dave Zangaro)
NICK SIRIANNI: Dangerous. Dangerous. You have to be careful with him, throwing the ball at him. He’s just been around the ball a ton in his career and making plays.
That trash talking, I know he gets the rap for that, but that’s part of his competitiveness, and I’d lie if I said I don’t trash talk a little bit and I didn’t when I played or whatever it is and like that and do it in practice to raise the level of competition, I think that’s just all a part of it. Guys trash talk all the time in here shooting baskets, out on the field.
But the first thing that comes into my mind is dangerous. I think he’s one of these guys, too, that when you have him on your team, I think it’s really — you might not like playing against him, but you’re really glad he’s on your team.
Q. Howie, this is your second significant trade with the Saints now. What is it about the relationship with New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis that helps facilitates a lot of these deals? (Chris Franklin)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Mickey has been doing this a long time. I guess I’ve been doing this a long time. There’s just a comfort level about straightforward discussions. We don’t kind of beat around the bush. It’s kind of like, ‘This is what I’m thinking,’ and it comes to a head pretty quickly. I respect Mickey a tremendous amount for what he’s done in this league, and it’s easy to know if something is going to get done or not. Same thing, if something is not going to get done, he’s not going to play around; he’s going to say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to do something there.’
I think that makes it easier, especially this time of year where you don’t want to waste a lot of time on things. I know he’s going to do whatever is best for the New Orleans Saints. That’s how he always rolls. Hopefully we’re going to do whatever is best for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Q. Two years ago your wide receiver corps was Travis Fulgham, DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward. Not to be negative about any of those guys, but can you just talk about how you got from there to here and how important it was to reshape for QB Jalen Hurts and for the offense and for the team to reshape that room? (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think obviously a lot of resources used at that position. I feel like it was necessary to make sure that we gave [QB] Jalen [Hurts] an opportunity to play with guys around him.
I’ve felt really good about where our offensive line has been really over my whole tenure here, except for injuries in some years, and just as the opportunities arose really, it just made sense to add those guys, whether you’re talking about [WR] DeVonta [Smith] or [WR] Quez [Watkins] and how he stepped up and obviously [WR] AJ [Brown] and then [WR] Zach [Pascal] here in the off-season.
We’re just looking for opportunities to improve the team. That’s all we’re trying to do, and it just so happened to work out that the best guys and the opportunities that we had happened to be at that position.
I feel good about the character of those guys, I feel good about the level of play that those guys can bring to our team, and they complement each other really well, which I think is important. We talk about it all the time, like they’re different shapes and sizes and they do different things really well.
We have to go out and play. Obviously, we haven’t won a game. So, we have to get back here and get to work. I already see my guy over here in mid-season mode; he was yelling at me because he said I was 20 minutes late to the press conference.
Q. If you think about getting off the plane from Tampa, if this was the roster that you knew you would have going into the season, what would you have thought? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: You guys want to hear the best story about getting off the plane in Tampa? Can I tell the story, my favorite story?
We get off the plane, and it’s like — the windows, you know when you get in your car and the windows are frozen and the defroster comes on? Most normal people wait for the defroster, and I just like go like this [ducking head down like he’s looking out a window] and drive like this, and just as it goes.
So Nick calls me, and he goes, ‘Where are you?’, and I go, ‘I’m like five minutes from my house’. He goes, ‘How did you do that?’ I was like, ‘I almost got in five accidents, but I wanted to get home; where are you?’ He’s like, ‘I just pulled out of the parking lot; it took a minute for my defroster.’
He goes, ‘Hey, wait a second,’ and he goes, ‘Zech!’ And I go, ‘What’s going on?’ He goes, ‘Let me call you back.’
He calls me back like a half hour later. I’m like, ‘What’s that all about?’ He goes ‘ [CB] Zech McPhearson’s car broke down, and I stayed with him until the tow truck came’. I go, ‘You stayed with Zech McPhearson for 30 minutes after we just lost to the Bucs?’ I said, no offense, but I said, ‘[Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Chief Security Officer] Dom [DiSandro] would have done that.’ He goes, ‘That’s my guy; I’ve got to take care of him’.
NICK SIRIANNI: Dom was there, too. We were both there.
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I know. Dom is always there. Appreciate you too, Dom.
But when I think about that, that’s what I felt like. I was like, you know, we may have something here with our culture, and now I have to go do my job and I have to make sure that we get better.
We had a long list of things that we wanted to get better on. We still have things we want to get better on and feel better about where we are, but again, we haven’t won a game. A lot of things are going to happen. It’s a long season, and we have to work harder than everyone, and I think that’s got to start here tomorrow, and obviously it started in training camp.
NICK SIRIANNI: We have different fundamentals when it comes to scraping our cars apparently. He scrapes a little part and then drives home like this. I wait — I don’t get out at all, I wait until it’s all melted. I put it on high, but all melted and then I go through. That’s the Jamestown, New York in me.
Q. How much more creative and how much more do you think you’ll be able to do with this roster compared to last year? (Bob Grotz)
NICK SIRIANNI: I’ve said this before, and I wouldn’t say more creative, more anything. I just know that the better the player is, the better we look as coaches. That’s the secret to coaching. You want to be a good coach? Get better players. That’s the secret.
But we put our work in, and our job is to put the players in — so there’s no doubt we have some great players on this roster, but now it’s our job to put them in position to succeed.
That looks different each week. Sometimes that looks creative, sometimes that looks like with a bunch of different motions and shifts and fancy bells and whistles, and sometimes it’s like, hey, just line up in two-by-two and then go to work.
Again, it’s our job as coaches to put them in the best positions to succeed at what they do best, but I’m sure glad that we’ve got some of those guys on this football team that we’re able to work with, and I look forward to working with them.
Q. We asked at the beginning of camp what your expectations were for the season, and you said we had to get through camp first. Now that we’re through camp, you’re mostly healthy, you’ve made these trades, how do you feel? What are your expectations? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: [Jokingly] Do you think I’m answering that question in any way, shape or form? How long have you known me?
We’ve got to have a good week and a half of practice and we’re going to have a challenge with a Detroit team that is going to be fired up in Detroit, and we’ll just kind of take it week by week here.
A lot of things are going to happen this season. There will be ups and downs. I’m sure you guys will chronicle the ups and downs for it. I’m excited to go on this journey with this group, but we’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for that.