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January 06, 2016

Eagles' Howie Roseman may be the only one happy that he's back

With Chip Kelly no longer in charge, new personnel boss comes with same old question marks

Opinion Al Morganti
013015HowieRoseman Michael Perez/AP

When it comes to overseeing personnel, do you have more faith in Howie Roseman than you did in Chip Kelly?

Can’t imagine what it would be like to be Howie Roseman these days.

On the one hand, he might be able to claim some sort of victory, what with Chip Kelly out of the NovaCare building and out of the Philadelphia Eagles‘organization, clearing Roseman’s path right back to a position of power. Must be nice knowing that once the smoke cleared on a horrible season, the Master Duck is out of the picture, and you are back on the pond.

Or is it?

Despite the fact that owner Jeffrey Lurie made it quite clear that Roseman was back in a position of power in terms of personnel decisions, that does not mean that he is any more popular with the people who buy the tickets and watch the games. In that department, Roseman has a long, long way to go in terms of earning the trust and respect of Eagles fans.

And this is going to be a very long and difficult process for both Roseman – and Lurie.

The best advice for the two of them is to take a step even further back from the season and realize a prominent NFL front office person is needed to restore faith in the future. We have all recently watched the Philadelphia 76ers acknowledge as much when they brought on Jerry Colangelo to help stabilize that organization.

The Eagles need a similar pillar.

Like it or not, Roseman is viewed as the inside kid who got Lurie’s ear and worked his way up through the organization. The popular choice of words might be that he “weaseled” his way to the top, but to give him his props, Roseman started as an intern and made enough of an impression that Lurie was willing to part ways with former BFF Joe Banner and give Roseman a shot at running his NFL organization.

For his part, much like Banner before him, Roseman has never been viewed as a “football guy.” He never earned his stripes in the trenches of the NFL. However, if you look at the entire landscape of sports in America these days, most professional teams are giving at least part of the steering wheel to some version of analytics guys – usually younger guys, who tend to steer a dispassionate course toward the future.

Mind you, Roseman is not that young. He has been around long enough that he is a 40-year old, now getting his hands back on the wheel of the Eagles front office for a second go-round.

Those hands were torn off that steering wheel just about a year ago when Kelly made it quite clear that he wasn’t happy with Roseman charting a course at the expense of more experienced “football guys.” Kelly, like many other coaches, has little regard for guys who don’t have some sort of legacy with the sport, and he could see none with Roseman.

As it turned out, Kelly was in well over his head in terms of NFL front office experience, and although he tried to distance himself from the power he had in front office decisions, it was quite clear that since the end of last season the Eagles were being run by Chip Kelly and Chip Kelly virtually alone. And that ship crashed.

The problem now becomes a lack of faith in Roseman.

The draft selections of players such as Marcus Smith and Danny Watkins block out the likes of Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, or Jordan Matthews. And the free-agent signings of players such as Nnamdi Asumugha or Vince Young make it easy to forget players who have come on to help – players such as Darren Sproles.

In an odd way, by putting Roseman back in charge of football operations, Lurie has actually put him in a worse spot that when he literally moved him down the hall and out of the power structure.

It is pretty clear that toward the end, Kelly pushed every sort of button to get on the wrong side of ownership, but the knee-jerk reaction to get back to Roseman is not going to sit well with fans, and you wonder how it will look to coaching candidates and free agents who might be looking to land in Philadelphia.

There is still time to get the Eagles on a clearer path and it would begin with Lurie taking a longer look at what just happened, and bringing in a more seasoned NFL executive to chart the near future, and maybe after that the water won’t be too turbulent for Roseman to get back in the pool.

As it stands now, Roseman is ready to jump back into a tank full of fans as angry as sharks, and it’s up to Lurie to stop the pending disaster.