April 28, 2023
Just like that, the pressure is back.
Operating a professional sports team is not easy, mostly because of a combination of ridiculous demands from absentee owners and general managers getting in their own way. We see management trip over themselves in the offseason, be it outbidding themselves in free agency or making ridiculous draft decisions. This is commonplace in an area of sports that sees heavy turnover that rarely transfers into sustainability.
That changed in Philadelphia when Howie Roseman was able to navigate the draft board and operate under his own capacity as the true driver of this vehicle. We fully expect Jalen Hurts to just keep playing MVP-like football next year. The same with Nick Sirianni coaching a successful and unstoppable gameplan. There’s precedent for that, even if it’s just last year.
We should also come to expect the that Eagles' man in charge will always have the freedom to make the right move. Taking a risk, drafting a long shot, trading back. Whatever Howie Roseman did Thursday night at 10 and 30 should be okay with you.
When looking at last year solely through the spectrum of the NFL Draft and offseason, everything that happened on the field was a bonus. Making it to the Super Bowl didn’t ruin any chances for the Eagles to work the draft, nor did it put them out of contention from drafting a talented player at 30. Or even trading back for a team desperate to get back into the first round.
Roseman didn’t need last night to continue to prove to you how powerful an offseason like this can be moving forward. It’s a huge element that most teams simply cannot replicate. Is it because Roseman is some freak of nature working these offseasons like Joel Embiid en route to another 50-point game? Maybe. He’s clearly established a level of comfort in both securing talent and draft picks.
Trust your eyes.
While Eagles fans were focused on celebrating the arrival of both Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, something else was going on between those two picks in New England.
Basically, Bill Belichick was watching a similar situation play out in front of his eyes with CB Christian Gonzalez. Do you think it’s any coincidence that on the same night, both Belichick and Roseman were taking advantage of circumstance and playing the rest of the room?
This is where Roseman is now, and the pressure that has returned with his abilities off the field, combined with Hurts and company on the field, and all of your tweets about winning the NFL Draft. They probably did. But if the Eagles can’t put this thing together, then what are we celebrating? With the first round of the NFL Draft this year returns that old vibe of win or bust. How can it not? The amount of celebration that is going on should push us to want to see this through. I can’t imagine being ok with going nuts on Twitter on April 27 but being okay with a second-round exit in the playoffs.
The Eagles need to get back to the Super Bowl. That’s the bar that’s been raised and now set by all of this fantastic offseason activity. Roseman getting ahead of the QB market with Hurts, taking two risky but super high-reward guys on Thursday night, and the ability to pluck a discarded RB in free agency, even if that player is just a cap casualty.
Blame me too. I, like you, am thrilled to watch this team operate both on and off the field, but I understand these things cant co-exist with failure.
That’s where we got a glimpse of Roseman’s process last night, back to that for just a second. Some of it is intelligence. He’s a smart guy much like the guy up in New England and the likes of Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore. But what else?
Roseman is also not dumb. Yes, he’s not an idiot. Half of the league is run by idiots. They make stupid decisions because they aren’t fully equipped to do their job, they have bad people around them or simply can’t perform under pressure. We see GMs melt under a clock or make absurd decisions like Chip Kelly drafting Marcus Smith.
That doesn’t mean the other half of the league is super smart, that’s where guys like Roseman come in. He’s perceptive enough to recognize the dummies, who will always lurk in larger numbers at the top of the draft board. The higher you go up, the dumber it can get. That’s also where research comes in, not just on prospects, but other teams. There’s also a healthy combination of timing. Not just circumstance or opportunity, but timing. Knowing exactly where to land and when to pull the trigger on a deal.
You look around and ask yourself why can't every GM operate like these guys? A small handful of people who look super smart, but are also benefiting from half the class just not doing their homework. This is the offseason equivalent of isolating James Harden on Mac McClung for every single possession throughout an entire game.
Both Roseman and Belichick took advantage of their circumstances last night, neither panicked and ultimately got the player they wanted – without any sacrifice of any note. Find the most successful person in the room and ask what they are doing differently than the rest. Roseman has done that to the point where he’s now being asked those questions.
Now go win us a Super Bowl.
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