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October 15, 2019

What they're saying: Howie Roseman drawing criticism; Eagles pursuing Jalen Ramsey (update)

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Howie-Roseman_101519_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman.

UPDATE [8:00 p.m.] — Well, it looks like Jalen Ramsey is off the board. After the Rams traded Pro Bowl CB Marcus Peters earlier on Tuesday, rumors began to swirl that this was possibly a cap-clearing move in order for the team to absorb Ramsey's contract. And it turns out that's exactly what was happening...

Considering the Eagles were very much in on Ramsey, Howie Roseman better act fast if he still wants to upgrade the Eagles' secondary. 


FROM EARLIER

The toughest stretch of the Eagles' 2019 season didn't get of to a great start on Sunday when the Birds went into Minnesota and were beaten handily by the Vikings, 38-20, to fall to 3-3 on the year. Now, they have a date with Dallas, who is also at 3-3, for first place in the NFC East as we near the midway point of the season.

There were several things that went for the Birds on Sunday, but the most glaring issue continues to be the Eagles struggling secondary, a unit that was already a glaring weakness entering the season and only became more exposed as injuries began to take their toll.

The good news for Philly, however, is that Dallas was unable to take advantage of the Eagles' loss and suffered a much worse fate on Sunday — losing to the lowly Jets, who received a boost in the form of Sam Darnold returning after missing most of the season with mono. Still, that likely won't be enough to ease the collective mind of this city as its team continues to try to re-establish itself as the class of the division.

A win over the Cowboys this coming Sunday, however, and things will suddenly feel a lot better in Philadelphia.

In the meantime, the Eagles have other off-the-field issues to deal with, like the upcoming NFL trade deadline — a.k.a. Howie Roseman's last chance to drastically improve his roster before (hopefully) preparing for a playoff run.

And speaking of Roseman, he'll be a big topic in this week's edition of What They're Saying, as some believe he's part of the reason for the Eagles struggles this season.

The division no one wanted to win

Robert Mays | The Ringer

Over at The Ringer, Robert Mays wrote about the wide-open NFC East, and has some thoughts on what the Eagles might be able to do to change that.

The most obvious move would be to acquire a cornerback ahead of the NFL trade deadline, which is two weeks away. And while the team's reported interest in Jalen Ramsey is well known, there are other options out there. Roseman and Co. have reportedly been working those angles as well.

That being said, the Eagles might have to settle for something a little less appealing to the fan base. But that doesn't mean it won't help a secondary that allowed four passing touchdowns on Sunday.

2. One silver lining about the Cowboys’ losing streak is that at 3-3, they’re still tied with the Eagles for the best record in the NFC East. And if Philly’s performance in its 38-20 loss to the Vikings is any indication, this division is still up for grabs. Philadelphia’s secondary has struggled all season, but getting roasted by a previously dormant Minnesota passing game is particularly troubling. It’s easy to pick on cornerback Rasul Douglas, who was in coverage on two of Stefon Diggs’s three touchdown receptions on Sunday, but the blame for Diggs’s and quarterback Kirk Cousins’s monster games goes way beyond Douglas. An excellent route combination on the pair’s 62-yard second-quarter touchdown caused safety Rodney McLeod to bite hard on a deep over route and vacate the middle of the field. On Diggs’s third touchdown of the day, he shook cornerback Craig James in the red zone. Sidney Jones was also victimized by Adam Thielen on a 6-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Nearly every member of the secondary had a moment on Sunday that he’d like to forget.

The Eagles were a popular candidate to swing a trade for Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey a couple of weeks ago, but with Jacksonville hanging around in the AFC South, it’d likely take a king’s ransom to pry him away at this point. Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson is another possible trade target; ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that three teams have made calls to Arizona about a deal for the three-time All-Pro. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is among the most aggressive, resourceful personnel executives in the league, but at this point, he may have to go searching for help in a different tier of available corners.  [theringer.com]

Eagles not giving up on Ramsey

Brandon Lee Gowton | Bleeding Green Nation

Sure, it might take a "king's ransom" to get Ramsey to the Eagles — and Jacksonville reportedly wouldn't trade him for "five first-round picks" — but that doesn't mean it isn't worth checking in every week to see if their stance has changed. 

And on Monday, Chris Mortensen said that's exactly what the Eagles are doing.

In a Monday appearance on ESPN, NFL insider Chris Mortensen gave an update on the Eagles’ interest in Jacksonville Jaguars star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. (Hat tip to @realprinceblue.)

“[Jacksonville owner] Shad Khan expected [Jalen Ramsey] to play after a heart-to-heart meeting last week, and he did not play. But Shad Khan finally, I think, cracked open the door, saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do what’s best for the team and the individual.’ I say stay alert on this and certainly the Philadelphia Eagles are calling the Jaguars every week to check on this one.”

Mortensen previously reported the Eagles are “highly, highly interested” in Ramsey and even offered up a first-round pick and a second-round pick to the Jaguars. But that proposal clearly wasn’t enough to pique Jacksonville’s interest.  [bleedinggreennation.com]

The deadline is coming

Tim McManus | ESPN

Howie Roseman hasn't been afraid to make in-season trades in recent years, and that might be a necessity again this season. ESPN's Tim McManus takes a look at the market right now for big-name cornerbacks ... and it isn't great news for the Birds.

The Oct. 29 trade deadline is fast approaching and the Eagles have been doing their homework. They were in on Jalen Ramsey before the Jaguars declared their intention to keep him, and will be standing by should Jacksonville's ownership change its mind. Meanwhile, other names are beginning to surface. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Arizona Cardinals have fielded calls from at least three teams regarding veteran Patrick Peterson, who is scheduled to return from his six-game suspension Sunday against the Giants. The Cardinals say they aren't interested in dealing him. Same goes for the Denver Broncos and Chris Harris Jr. Despite the Broncos' slow start at 2-4, general manager John Elway recently said no Denver players are on the trade block.

Positions could always change over the next two weeks. GM Howie Roseman and the Eagles are constantly working the phone for deals. Most of the those calls don't result in anything. But, like any good Jenga player, Philly will continue to search for the loose block.  [espn.com]

A different kind of trade

Paul Domowitch | Inquirer.com

If the Eagles strike out in the CB market, perhaps they turn to defensive line to try to address their struggling pass defense. Aside from the Jets game, the Eagles haven't been able to get to opposing quarterbacks as quickly as they'd like, and that's been exposing their secondary. Early injuries to Malik Jackson and Tim Jernigan certainly didn't help either, so maybe Roseman tries to bolster his defensive front four if he's unable to get one of the top tier corners listed above.

One defensive lineman who makes sense, according to Domo, is Leonard Williams of the Jets. And when it comes to trade bait, he checks all the boxes. On a bad team? Check. A free agent after the season? Check. A relationship between the two front offices? Check.

A bigger trade priority likely will be a pass rusher. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s attitude typically has been that if he’s getting pressure on the quarterback with his four-man front, everything else will fall into place.

The trouble is, with the exception of the Eagles’ 31-6 Week 5 romp over the Jets when they collected 10 sacks, they’re not getting pressure on the quarterback. In their other five games, including Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, they have just four sacks. On Sunday, they had 18 total quarterback pressures of Kirk Cousins. But 14 of them were hurries. They had just one sack (by Brandon Graham) and three hits on Cousins. ...

The Eagles have been linked to New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams. Williams, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2015 draft, will be a free agent after the season. ESPN has reported that several teams have contacted Jets general manager Joe Douglas about Williams. The Eagles are believed to be one of those teams.

"I don’t know what other teams are thinking,'' Jets coach Adam Gase said Monday, a day after his team upset the Cowboys. "But right now, I like the way our guys are rolling. Anything is possible, but I like the way our team is.''

Williams said he is prepared for the possibility of getting dealt by the end of the month. [inquirer.com]

Is Howie the problem?

Reuben Frank | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sure, injuries have played a role this season, but there's certainly an argument to be made that Howie Roseman and the front office have let this team down in the two offseasons since winning the Super Bowl. And that's the question Reuben Frank tries to answer over at NBC Sports Philly — how responsible is Roseman?

With the current state of the Eagles roster, it's hard to argue that Roseman has played a role in the team's regression in recent years.

At some point, and that point is growing closer, the focus has to turn from the secondary and wide receivers and pass rush and running game to Howie Roseman.

He built the Super Bowl roster — along with Joe Douglas — and he deserves all the accolades he got for that.

But the biggest challenge for any championship team — in any sport — is figuring out how to stay on top, and the only way to do that is to constantly replenish the roster with young talent and fill in the blanks with free agents.

Hasn’t happened.

Wentz is the only Pro Bowler the Eagles have drafted since 2013, and Chip Kelly obviously plays a small role in that as well because the 2015 draft was his, but in the big picture, the lack of young talent on this roster is alarming.

Not just OK players who may have a terrific game here and there. But young, elite, playmaking, impact, superstar talent.  [nbcsports.com]

More Roseman criticism

Ed Kracz | Sports Illustrated

Roob isn't the only one questioning the job Roseman has done over the last two seasons. And it all starts with the drafts.

The Eagles are just 12-10 in regular season games since winning Super Bowl LII, including the 3-3 record they will bring to Dallas on Sunday night for a first-place battle in the NFC East.

Roseman’s moves over that time have been … meh. ...

Mostly, it’s Roseman’s drafts these past two years that have, so far, misfired.

As much credit as former vice president of personnel Joe Douglas gets credit for the 2017 season, Douglas (now general manager for the New York Jets) must also share some of the blame for the so-far unfortunate drafts of 2018 and 2019.

It’s still too early to judge those classes, but it’s telling that of the 10 players Roseman and Douglas drafted the last two years only three have been on the defensive side of the ball, which is where this team struggles, more so than the offense.  [si.com]


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