GM Roseman indicates Eagles' eyes will be on offensive linemen in draft

Roseman
Roseman
Posted: February 25, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - Compared with Eagles president Joe Banner's media tour last week, general manager Howie Roseman's session with reporters yesterday at the NFL scouting combine was kind of tame.

Roseman didn't set any deadlines for coaches to win the Super Bowl, he was reluctant to even acknowledge the possibility of trading Kevin Kolb, and he drew no parallels between the Birds and any other franchises.

Roseman did strongly indicate that the Eagles, who neglected the offensive line in last year's draft, won't do so again, given what Roseman and many other observers consider a much deeper pool of o-line talent. He also talked a little about Kolb and Mike Vick, a little about the coaching staff shake-up, and a little draft philosophy. Here are some highlights:

* On the offensive line talent: Lots of mock drafts have the Eagles going o-line at No 23 overall in the first round; they would seem to need to upgrade their right side: "I think the talent level overall is probably better than it has been the past few years. It's deep," Roseman said. "You've got some guys who are versatile, who can play tackle or play guard."

Roseman acknowledged the team might be looking for slightly different skill sets with Howard Mudd coaching the o-line, instead of o-line-coach-turned-defensive-coordinator Juan Castillo.

"We spent some time with Howard as a personnel staff, just in terms of what he's looking for, maybe the differences in some of the guys that he's more comfortable with," Roseman said. "I think it was valuable time. Obviously, he's got a lot of years of learning offensive line."

The Eagles haven't taken an offensive lineman in the first round since Shawn Andrews in 2004. In fact, they haven't addressed the line higher than the fourth round since they took Winston Justice in the second round, in 2006.

"It's an area we didn't really address last year in the offense . . . That's obviously another position in terms of our priorities, we believe in building the o-line," Roseman said. "Looking back at some of the mistakes that we've made, they've been when we've reached. We've taken guys that we didn't think were the best players, but we had an area of need. We've been determined [since then] to take the best players on our board. You look at last year and the draft, maybe we went in with the intention of taking an offensive lineman or two, but the values just didn't meet. You look back at those things and you're trying to get better and you're trying to improve."

* On the coaching staff shakeup: The big headline, obviously, was the unusual switch with Castillo, but just as interesting, if less heralded, were the departures of several coaches who had spent their entire NFL careers with the Eagles, working their way up the ladder. That group would include ex-defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, ex-linebackers coach Bill Shuey, ex-defensive line coach Rory Segrest and ex-quarterbacks coach James Urban. Is there an attempt to become less "ingrown," to bring in fresh ideas?

Roseman wasn't about to say so, if there is: "Andy [Reid] does a great job in terms of evaluating himself and his staff. He knows what he's looking for in his coaches. I don't think that's a reflection on anybody who isn't working for us anymore. I know he was excited to have the opportunity to add these particular coaches, and we look forward to seeing what they'll do."

* Roseman stressed that Castillo will still run "a Jim Johnson-type defense." The Eagles won't need to dramatically change the kinds of players they look for there.

* Some teams have started issuing restricted free-agent tenders, even though no one knows whether there will be restricted free agency in a new collective bargaining agreement, or what the experience level will be for restricted vs. unrestricted. Roseman said the Eagles will "in the next couple of weeks here, explore our options."

* Any trade value projection for Kolb is "pure speculation," Roseman said. Kolb is "a great player" who is "obviously looking forward to being a good starting quarterback."

Nobody can offer anything for him until there is a new CBA, but has anyone approached the Eagles indicating interest, when the time comes?

"We're still evaluating all our options and all our positions," said Roseman, who said the Birds don't "discuss any [trade] discussions, external or internal."

OK, then, if Roseman ran a team that was looking for a quarterback, would he be better served to try to trade for Kolb or to look for one in the draft?

"Getting into hypotheticals with other teams, that's way above my head," Roseman said.

* Vick's progress in the Eagles' offense won't be stalled by a possible lockout, Roseman said. He would not address the issue of when or whether Vick will accept the franchise tag.

"The thing I'd say about Michael is, he's going to work hard. He wants to work hard, he wants to be great," Roseman said. "I think for Michael, it's just started for him, in terms of being the kind of player he can be. It was his first year back as a starting quarterback in 3 years. He continues to learn, to get better in our offense. I think, really, the sky's the limit."

For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/LesBowen.

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