The biggest question mark for the Philadelphia Eagles heading into the 2021 campaign is what to do under center. More specifically, is Jalen Hurts their new franchise quarterback.
General manager Howie Roseman has avoided naming Hurts the starter in every interview this offseason, preferring to take a wait-and-see approach. It’s a smart business move, something the franchise wished it would have tried with outgoing starter Carson Wentz. Whether it irritates Hurts remains to be seen. But Roseman took the first step in at least addressing the issue on Wednesday during a question-and-answer session with the New York Times. Here’s what he said:
“This is one of those games that when you take just a small period of time, you can’t evaluate any player just on potential,” Roseman told Ken Belson. “So for any young player, including Jalen, he has to stack days on days to continue improving and work at his craft.
Again, not exactly a ringing endorsement for last year’s surprising second-round pick. Not that Hurts lit it up on the field in 2020. He finished with only 1,061 passing yards (39th in the NFL) on 148 attempts through four starts (1-3). His completion percentage was 52%, nearly six points worse than Wentz (57.4%). That’s not to say Hurts didn’t flash exciting big-play potential. The dual-threat quarterback threw six touchdowns (four interceptions) while racking up 354 rushing yards on 63 carries and three scores.
One year ago the Philadelphia Eagles drafted QB1 Jalen Hurts.
— Barstool Philly (@BarstoolPhilly) April 24, 2021
Hurts showed enough promise to get Wentz jettisoned to the Indianapolis Colts in a trade that dragged out for months. In the end, Roseman called it a “win-win” for the Eagles and Colts but it’s hard not to look back and wonder what went wrong. Two months later, the puppet master can’t pinpoint one thing.
“I don’t know that we can point to one factor,” Roseman said. “I think that it was a variety of factors that led us to this, including his desire for a fresh start.”
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Roseman Denies Dysfunction, Cites Success
Several damning articles have been written this offseason about the dysfunction in the Eagles’ front office, from Roseman ridiculing players in the locker room to a mysterious analytics expert overriding the head coach. The tight-lipped general manager hasn’t come out and confirmed the reports, but he hasn’t unequivocally denied them either.
Instead, Roseman keeps pointing to the pandemic as a reason why things went off the rails in 2020. He also continues to bring up the franchise’s recent success, punctuated by the Super Bowl championship in 2017.
Last year with the pandemic was a unique year in terms of communication for everyone. But at the same time, if we didn’t have a team that worked together, then we wouldn’t have had the success that we had in the past when we dealt with adversity, whether it was coming back in 2016, getting a whole new group and winning a championship in our second year, or in 2018 and 2019, with the starts we had, finishing strong one year and making a strong run in the playoffs and the other year winning the division.
Philadelphia Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman Talks Team’s Next Steps – NY Times https://t.co/Zd1O42h7kM
— NFL Huddle (@NFLHuddle) April 28, 2021
Clarifying Jeffrey Lurie’s Involvement
Jeffrey Lurie owns the Philadelphia Eagles and can do whatever he wants, like deciding which players get selected on draft day. It’s his right to run the franchise as he sees fit. Yet his involvement has come under increasing scrutiny as the Eagles continue to whiff on top draft picks. There are reports floating out there that guys like J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor were high on his radar. And maybe he was the one who made the final call on them.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made it fairly clear after firing Doug Pederson he wanted franchise to re-embrace a long-range philosophy that resulted in a Lombardi Trophy.
The roster had some age. DeSean Watson, Alshon Jeffery, Jason Peters, gone. Zach Ertz heading that way. https://t.co/6ZBo6noIS0
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 8, 2021
Whatever the case, Roseman was asked to describe Lurie’s involvement in football operations during his media availability on April 21. He admitted that the billionaire owner does offer opinions but it’s not at an overbearing level. In fact, Lurie’s input hasn’t changed much over the past decade.
“Well, I think that Jeffrey’s involvement is very similar to — it’s the same as it’s always been,” Roseman told reporters. “He’s there to make sure that he’s looking through our process, and if he’s got any questions about why we’re doing things, we’re going to go and have those discussions about why the process looks like it does, why our draft board — just based on the descriptions that the coaches and the scouts are giving of this player. He’s taking notes on those. Those aren’t his evaluations, those are based on the coaches and scouts and making sure they fit in terms of what he’s looking for from that value, that spot.”
Jeffrey Lurie says his involvement in FB operations has been the same over 25 years. He asks a lot of questions.
Says #Eagles have great infrastructure, lots of people who built a Super Bowl winner here. Says he never wants to micromanage.
— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) January 11, 2021