Shawn ZobelComment

The Construction of a Super Bowl

Shawn ZobelComment
The Construction of a Super Bowl
 Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Howie Roseman

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Howie Roseman

The Eagles' firing of Chip Kelly and hiring of Doug Pederson as head coach in 2015 was the start of a personnel overhaul and reconstruction that symbolically began with the selection of Carson Wentz as the No. 2 pick in the 2016 Draft.

Executive Director of Football Operations Howie Roseman, who was given back control of personnel in 2016 following Kelly's firing, has been instrumental in the reconstruction of the Eagles' roster, which starts with the Wentz pick. 

Yet, it could be argued that Roseman and the Eagles front office's greatest work has come via free agency and trade. Over the past two years, Roseman has been playing chess while the rest of the league plays checkers. Key free agent signings like Nick Foles, Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long, Rodney McLeod, Patrick Robinson and Brandon Brooks all played key roles in the team's Super Bowl win. What's more, the team's trades for Jay Ajayi, Timmy Jernigan and Ronald Darby have all paid off in one form or another.

In the past two draft classes, the Eagles have picked up key players that played significant roles in the team's championship; three of the first four picks by Philadelphia played a significant role in 2017. They inlcude DE Derek Barnett (1/14), DC Rasul Douglas (3/99), and WO Mack Hollins (4/118). In 2016, they found two late-round starters in OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (5/164) and DC Jalen Mills (7/233).

Philadelphia's success in the post-Kelly era has also revolved around key pieces or holdovers that survived the fury of trade-offs that Kelly made in his time running personnel for the Eagles. Such players include vets like Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Malcolm Jenkins. These vets, among the leaders of the team, were the foundation of this year's Super Bowl team.

From a scouting perspective, the Eagles did a fantastic job of building a complete and balanced roster with young, high-ceiling talent that they can build around for the future. With Wentz and Ajayi surrounded by one of the best offensive line/tight end tandems in football, plus a defense with multiple young players, Philadelphia looks like a team with the framework to contend annually. And as was proven this season, losing your starting quarterback is no longer an excuse for not succeeding.

It is a near-certainty that in a copycat league, Foles' success with Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich will lead to a number of teams looking to invest in the "backup quarterback" model; just this week we saw the Indianapolis Colts hire Reich to be their new head coach. I would continue to expect teams to seek out coaches that learned the game from the sideline while holding a clipboard. What's more, I would expect most teams to continue to re-invest in the backup position given the various controversies that popped up this year in Minnesota, Green Bay, Chicago, Arizona, Houston, Indianapolis, Denver, Tampa Bay and Washington, as well as in New York with both the Giants and Jets. 

One of the biggest decisions of Roseman's career awaits as he comes off a Super Bowl win with an injured young star and a seasoned vet that no one expected to be there. Wentz isn't going anywhere; however, whether Roseman keeps or trades Foles will be one of the biggest stories of the offseason. Either way, Roseman has earned the benefit of the doubt after an enormous Super Bowl victory.

 

Shawn Zobel
Twitter: @ShawnZobel
Email: shawn@thesidelinepass.com