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October 06, 2022

Tyrone Johnson: Howie Roseman has been Eagles biggest winner so far

Opinion Eagles
Howie Roseman Eagles Open Practice 080722 Claggett Colleen Claggett/PhillyVoice

Eagles GM Howie Roseman

Not that long ago, Howie Roseman was basically banished by Chip Kelly. Years later we saw him rise and win a Super Bowl, but in hindsight, that team never really had a chance to have the staying power we thought it could when Doug Pederson said, “this is the new normal.” 

The 2017 champs had too many older guys on short term deals, too many misses in the draft, and both Wentz and Foles couldn’t come close to replicating their production from that year. That led to Pederson being fired after the 2020 season. Wentz was traded to the Colts that same offseason and the Eagles took on the largest individual dead cap hit in NFL history. Things looked very bleak and many of the problems were caused by Roseman. 

I and many others were rightfully very critical of the predicament that he put the Eagles in. Many GMs would not have been able to navigate out of that without completely bottoming out. Instead, aided by a historically bad stretch of opposing QBs, the Eagles not only didn’t bottom out, but found a way to make the playoffs in 2021.
 
Fast forward to today and this Eagles team is off to a 4-0 start and looks like a complete team. They are a team that can beat teams in several ways and a roster that appears deep. They look like a complete team in a year where very few teams have looked good so far. While the games have been competitive around the NFL, the quality of play has not. 

In contrast, the Eagles have played very crisp, Jalen Hurts only has just one interception that was his fault, and the Eagles defensive is forcing turnovers. Quarterbacks look completely discombobulated. They have had the NFC defensive player of the week for three consecutive weeks. 

Just as importantly, it seems this team has the potential to be good for a much longer period than the Super Bowl year. Howie had a busy offseason, and so far, it looks incredible. AJ Brown is 25 years old, on a long-term deal and he is 4th in the NFL so far in receiving yards. Haasan Reddick just turned 28 and in addition to his 3.5 sacks, he leads the NFL in forced fumbles. James Bradberry has been an upgrade at CB over Steven Nelson. Kyzir White has been part of a much-improved linebacker core and the late trade for CJ Gardner-Johnson made the Eagles better while further weaking the Saints. (This is significant because the Eagles own the Saints 2023 first round pick.) 

Howie deserved a lot of credit for what we are seeing.
 
White is on a one-year deal, but assuming he cashes elsewhere the Eagles have newly drafted Nakobe Dean and he should be able to fill that spot in 2023. Drafting outside corners has been a problem for Howie (remember Sidney Jones?), but with multiple first round picks in 2023 the Eagles are poised to replace Bradberry if he doesn’t sign and find a longer term player opposite Slay. Gardner-Johnson is on the last year of his deal, but the Eagles would likely not have given up assets for a rental.
 
I have barely mentioned the offense which is currently ranked No. 1 in the NFL or how Roseman drafted Hurts and then despite flirtations with Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, wisely stuck with him. A good young quarterback on a rookie contract is gold, and Hurts is on a his second round contract for this year and next. 

The obsession with the offensive line brought to Philly by Andy Reid has been amplified and improved on since. Two young offensive linemen (one off waivers from the original cuts to 53 and one from the practice squad) have been signed to active rosters this year because it is assumed if the Eagles want them, they must be good. Jeff Stoutland deserves a lot of credit for this, but Howie is providing talented clay for Stoutland to mold. With two starting lineman leaving the game Sunday and Dillard still on the IR with a broken arm, the Eagles were able to go to Sua Opeta who they found as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and Jake Driscoll who they drafted in the 4th round in 2020. The Eagles settled in and mashed a good Jaguars defensive line. 

Miles Sanders had the best game of his career with two backups playing significant time. We see around the NFL just how many teams are struggling up front with just their first string. This is another example of why I don’t think it is too early to say the Eagles are Super Bowl contenders.
 
It is only Week 5 and nothing is in stone yet. The Eagles lost three starters plus their kicker left the game banged up last week. It is very hard to win in the NFL without great injury luck. 

At the same time the Eagles are the now the betting favorite to come out of the NFC and they have the third best odds in the NFL to win the Super Bowl. If the Eagles can pull it off, that would be a second Super Bowl on Roseman’s resume. 

I don’t like how the Eagles don’t communicate with the fans anymore and how basic unimportant injury details are treated like the nuclear codes under the Howie regime. At the same time, it is very hard to argue with the results. 

If the season continues on this path, we will no longer be saying that Howie Roseman is a good GM, we will be calling him elite and a Philly Legend instead.


Tyrone Johnson is the host of "The Best Show Ever?" on 97.5 The Fanatic, airing Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

You can follow him on Twitter: @TyJohnsonNews

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