Much-maligned Roseman absolutely crushed the offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia:
The Eagles made the playoffs with a rookie head coach and a first-time starting quarterback after a 2-5 start.
And it would have been easy for Howie Roseman to sit back and make a couple tweaks here and there and just assume that a year of improvement and a second season in the program would magically transform the Eagles into a Super Bowl contender.
And there have been years that’s been the plan. And it never works.
Maybe it was his own personal growth as a general manager. Maybe it was the wisdom of the people around him. Maybe it was just the realization that what the Eagles have done in the four years since the Super Bowl hasn’t been enough.
So it was awfully encouraging when Roseman stood on a podium three days after the ugly Tampa playoff loss and made it clear that just getting into the postseason was not good enough.
There’s a higher standard around here, and getting blown out in a road wild-card game isn’t it.
“We are not happy about the fact that our season ended in the playoffs,” Roseman said that day. “We want to build a team that has home playoff games, gets to play in front of our fan base and really build a team that gets a bye.
“Until you’re really talking about a team that is… getting the one and two seed, you’re in building mode. I think that’s where we are right now. ”
And so Howie built.
Wow, did he build.
The Eagles went into the offseason without a ton of cap space and with some very serious needs, and here we are with what’s truly a brand-new roster, some elite veteran talent, a few intriguing rookies and a healthy dose of hope for the future .
They had to get drastically better at wide receiver, and here’s AJ Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2020 who’s averaged 62 catches, 998 yards and eight touchdowns as a pro. Not to mention Zach Pascal, who’s averaged 41-540-4 the last three years. Pair them up with DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, and that’s a legit wide receiving corps.
They had to get drastically better rushing the quarterback, and here’s Haason Reddick, whose 23½ sacks the last two years are 5th:-most in the league.
They had to remake the linebacker corps and all of a sudden here’s Kyzir White, a solid starter with the Chargers, and Nakobe Dean, the steal of the draft.
They’ll eventually need the successors to Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce, two all-time Eagles, and, hey, was that Jordan Davis and Cam Jurgens walking through the front door of the NovaCare Complex?
So we’re all sitting here catching our breath after the draft feeling good about the offseason but wondering if the plan is really to let Zech McPhearson, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, Mario Goodrich and all the other untested kids battle out for CB2 opposite Darius Slay and… Howie strikes again.
James Bradberry may not be a superstar, but he’s been a solid corner for six years, he’s made a Pro Bowl, and – get this – his 10 interceptions over the last three years is twice as many as any Eagle has during that span.
And the thing is with Slay handling an opposing reve top receiver, Bradberry will have some terrific matchups against No. 2 wideouts and a lot of balls thrown his way.
More: Eagles solidify their secondary with former Pro Bowler:
It’s hard not to think of the Dream Team, but the thing about Reddick, Bradberry and Brown is that unlike Steve Smith, Ronnie Brown, Jason Babin and that whole group, they all have a record of consistent production and they’re all in their prime – Brown is 24, Reddick 27, Bradberry 28.
Maybe not all of these moves will work out, but Howie did exactly what he promised.
He remade this roster. He remade this team.
When free agency began, he pounced on Reddick.
When the draft unfolded, he pounced on Davis, Jurgens and Dean.
When a big-time receiver became available, he pounced on Brown.
When the Giants cut Bradberry, he pounced on him.
There’s still four months until opening day, and so much still depends on how much Jalen Hurts improves, but this is clearly a significantly better team than it was when last season ended.
Roseman was creative and aggressive and effective. He crushed it.
And if the Eagles’ biggest worry going into 2022 is whether Marcus Epps can handle a full-time workload at safety, you know what? That’s a pretty good place to be.
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