Thoughts from Across the Pond: In Howie’s Defense…

Howie has made a lot of mistakes. Let’s get that out of the way. I am by no means attempting to give him a pass for the many, many things he has got wrong throughout the years, but merely asking that we do not let our anger at how things are shaping up for our beloved Eagles cause us to adopt a scapegoat mentality. If we do that; if we try to pin the blame on one person, if we try to take the easy route of convincing ourselves that one issue can be the whole problem, then we may never get to the solution, or worse; we could end up creating bigger problems.



(Photo: MICHAEL BRYANT)


It is impossible to go onto Philadelphia Eagles related social media and not see fan frustration with regards to the current state of the team spilling out in the form of comments, GIFs and poll results. Although fingers are being pointed at everyone in the organization, it feels like the majority of fans appear to agree that Howie Roseman is mostly to blame for the situation as evidenced by a recent poll conducted by @AATBirds. But is there any defense forthcoming for the Eagles GM?


Howie’s drafts have been a failure.


One of the biggest criticisms leveled at Roseman is that the players he has drafted over the last few years have for the most part been bad decisions. This, at face value, especially when focusing on the last few years and taking out the Andy Reid era (Andy had a huge influence with regards to the draft) and Chip Kelly Era (due to the dysfunction behind the scenes), appears to be very true. However, to be fair to Roseman, if someone looks at draft pick retention (one of many ways to judge draft success) of picks made between 2016 and 2019 and compares it to a team like the New England Patriots, undisputedly the most successful team of the last two decades with a proven track record of sustained success, the results may surprise many. Of the 26 picks made in all seven rounds of the four drafts the Eagles have retained 13 players. The Patriots during the same period of time have picked 32 players of which 16 are still in New England. Both teams have a retention percentage of 50% despite the Eagles having picked 6 less players. Now, one could argue about the productivity of the players retained and they would have a point to a certain extent. That is a very fair criticism, which is addressed below:


Howie does not know how to evaluate talent.


First rule of management…”it is always your fault”. This applies to Howie Roseman 100 %. Roseman has a reputation of being a “cap genius” but he has relied on others to guide him with talent evaluation. It appears to be largely ignored that for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 drafts, player evaluation was the responsibility of Joe Douglas. Douglas was tasked with setting the draft board and pinpoint which players would ensure the team’s long term success. In Howie’s words, Joe Douglas had “full rein” to do so. Nevertheless, Roseman is and has been ultimately responsible for the picks that are made every year. He has final word, but if we are to criticize him for anything, maybe it is that he has chosen the wrong people to evaluate talent. Derek Barnett has been labeled as a “bust” by many Eagles fans yet it is ignored that Douglas pushed hard for Howie to draft him. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is another player Howie drafted that has been extremely unpopular with fans, yet that pick was clearly endorsed by Douglas who seems to place huge value in college production and high-character. When looking to find justification for one of the decisions that have tormented the fan base over the last couple of years, one should point to Douglas’ philosophy regarding production as the reason why Arcega-Whiteside was selected ahead of the likes of DK Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and Darius Slayton. And yet it needs to be said again. Howie Roseman had